If you have already been approved for your first US credit card and you’ve just received your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), you may be wondering which issuers you can apply for to continue to build your US credit history and earn additional welcome bonuses.
This post will serve as a compilation of application restrictions and ID requirements by major US financial institutions, specifically whether you can apply as an ITIN holder (or even in some cases using only a passport or Canadian SIN).
If you have yet to apply for your ITIN, check out Frugal Flyer’s ITIN service.
US-Based Credit Card Issuers
The table below contains all of the main credit card issuers in the United States:
|Issuer||Accepts ITIN||Accepts Passport/SIN|
|Bank of America||✅||✅|
|Federal Credit Unions||YMMV||❌|
|TD Bank, N.A||n/a*||✅|
** Will accept ITIN if applying for a secured card
American Express is the most lenient, and also often touted as the best first US credit card for Canadians to apply for. They do not require an ITIN, and you can leverage your Canadian credit history using Nova Credit, or your American Express Canada relationship using Global Transfer.
Once you have your first card US credit card, we do recommend using your ITIN for future applications to tie the number to your US credit file. You cannot tie an ITIN to an existing credit card.
Bank of America
Canadians can apply for specific Bank of America cards over the phone. You do not even need a SSN or ITIN, just a passport and a US mailing address.
You can apply by calling 1-800-932-2775. Check the online offers first, as they can be different from what’s offered on the phone. If this is the case, fill out the online application but don’t hit submit. You should see a priority code, which you can quote when you call in to apply.
We did have success in being approved for a Bank of America credit card with an ITIN by applying in branch.
Barclays does not issue credit cards to ITIN holders – you must have a SSN.
BMO offers comprehensive cross-border banking, allowing existing BMO clients to apply for BMO Harris Bank Mastercards using their existing Canadian credit history.
Capital One will allow you to apply with an ITIN. Enter your ITIN number in the SSN field. I was approved this way for a Capital One 360 Checking account.
However, they are apparently quite strict on approving people for credit cards. I have not had any success thus far. I’m also able to see that I’m pre-approved for specific cards when using the Capital One pre-approval tool.
Chase bank will allow you to apply for their cards online using an ITIN. A few days to a week after submitting your application, they will request verification documents in accordance with the following chart:
|Name||– U.S.-issued driver’s license or other government-issued ID|
– Passport/Visa book or card
– Marriage/divorce certificate
|Date of Birth||– U.S.-issued driver’s license or other government-issued ID|
– Passport/Visa book or card
– U.S.-issued birth certificate or foreign birth certificate with translation
|SSN/ITIN||– Social Security card|
– SSA Verification Letter dated within the last 90 days
– Department of Treasury letter verifying TIN
– TIN card
|Physical Address||– U.S.-issued driver’s license or other government-issued ID|
– Utility bill such as gas, water, electric, sewage, phone landline, internet or cable dated within the last 90 days
– Paystub dated within the last 60 days
Recently, I submitted a color scan of my passport, ITIN letter from the IRS, and phone invoice from Google Fi which matched my US mailing address. This was enough to be approved.
Citibank allows you to apply with an ITIN, including online applications. Because Citibank operates in a lot of other countries, they also allow you to use any existing relationship you have with them in another country.
Discover does not issue credit cards to ITIN holders – you must have a SSN.
Federal Credit Unions
Your mileage may vary with credit unions, including La Capitol FCU, Wings Financial, and First Tech FCU. La Capitol appears the most lenient, accepting ITIN holders and non-residents. Wings Financial will accept ITINs but only for permanent residents with valid Green Card. On the other hand, First Tech FCU will only accept applications with a valid SSN.
A small regional bank, the 24th largest in North America. They are a bit more lax on requirements and do accept ITIN, passport, and even Canadian drivers license as proof of identity. They have some decent balance transfer credit cards for anyone interested.
RBC Georgia will allow you to apply for either of their two US credit cards as a Canadian and even has a dedicated page for it: U.S. Credit Cards for Canadians. You will apply using your Canadian SIN. They do require you to have an RBC Bank U.S. bank account.
TD Bank, N.A
If you start an online application with TD Bank as a new customer, you won’t be able to enter an ITIN. However, it is possible to leverage an existing relationship with them and apply via TD cross-border department, just like with RBC.
As an existing TD US customer, you are also required to have your US address in one of the states where TD does business:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Washington, D.C
If anyone has experience related to TD Bank, I’d be curious to hear about them in the comments.
While you can submit an application for U.S. Bank credit cards using an ITIN, you will be automatically rejected. I learned this the hard way when I applied for the Business Cash Rewards Mastercard, completed the entire application, only to be handed a “not a valid SSN” message after it was processed.
Apparently, you can apply for U.S. Bank secured cards using an ITIN, for what it’s worth.
As of November 2020, Wells Fargo has started allowing ITINs in credit card applications.
While it makes sense to start with credit card companies that allow you to apply without an ITIN, eventually you will want to graduate to other financial institutions such as Chase and Citibank. This list can help you figure out what your next application will be and what issuers you have the greatest chance of being approved for as a Canadian with an ITIN.
Check out our US credit card comparison tool to find the best welcome bonus for your next US credit card application.
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