Credit Card FAQ
How to Get a Credit Card Without a SSN?
Ever since the Patriot Act was passed in the United States, most banks require you to submit identification when it comes to opening a bank account or getting a credit card. They generally ask for your name, address, driving license number, and the social security number (SSN). Technically, it is possible to get a credit card without submitting your social security number, but different rules apply.
There are a few options available for those who choose not to divulge their social security number or for those who don't have one. In February 2007, a major bank in the United States allowed people who do not have a SSN to apply for and receive a credit card so as to establish a credit history.
About the SSN and the Privacy Act
While it is not strictly necessary to give out your social security number when applying for a credit card or a bank account, most banks still ask for it. According to the Social Security Privacy Laws, no financial institution of any kind can refuse to let people use their services over a number that is essentially used by the Social Security Administration to open a trust fund in the individual's name.
SSN's are used only for that purpose and the businesses of the Social Security Administration. If the bank says otherwise, you have a right to sue them in a small claims court and are guaranteed $1000 for each offense. Most executive level employees in any major bank know of this, while the junior level employees may not.
The Small Claims Court Option
To get a credit card without a SSN, you can write a professional letter to the senior management of the bank. Mention in the letter your request to open a new credit card account and also the fact that the letter is being sent under the Privacy Laws established regarding the use of SSNs. Fill in the credit card application and in the space set to fill in the SSN, write "SEE ENCLOSED NOTICE." Make sure that the application is submitted with a copy of the Privacy Act. Remember to send the application, the enclosed letter, and notice through Certified Mail with a Return Receipt. It is important to also maintain a copy of the whole application in your files.
Most credit card companies and banks will immediately call back. They will tell you exactly what documentation they need like proof of income, references from your employers, W-2 forms with the SSN scratched off, etc. Most companies will immediately send you the credit card upon receiving all the documentation. Following the proper procedure can ensure that you get a credit card without divulging your SSN.
If some companies still require your SSN or do not give you a proper reason for rejecting your request, you can send them a legal warning stating that you will be filing a suit against them in the small claims court citing the Privacy Acts guaranteed reward amounts. If they still do not back off, you can win $1000 against each offense.
The pre-paid credit card is a great way to get a credit card without your SSN. Like any pre-paid card you can pay for the amount you want on the card upfront. These cards are usually available at most stores and you are required to pay a small fee every time the card is refilled.
The secured credit card is another alternative. These credit cards can be found at any major bank and do not require the cardholder to have a SSN. To get this card, you will have to make a deposit which will be your credit limit. The credit card can then be used regularly and you will receive monthly billing statements for the same. The credit reports are sent to all the credit reporting bureaus.
While getting a credit card without a SSN is not easy, it is certainly possible. The interest rates on such cards are usually higher than average, but this is a small price to pay for establishing credit history without a SSN.
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