I am new to the US with a F-2(student dependent) visa, I want to have credit history and build credit score in the US. I think I have three options but don't know which is better to do or maybe better to do all of them?

  1. Apply for an ITIN number, then get my personal unsecured(regular) credit card(I think it takes more than one month).

  2. Apply for a secured credit card with $500-1000 deposit in few banks who don't need SSN/ITIN(like Bank of America) and get a secured credit card(I think it gonna take less than 1 week).

3- Become an authorized user of the credit card of another person like my wife, she has SSN and regular credit card.

  • Why not do both?
    – ceejayoz
    Jun 14, 2021 at 20:05
  • Option #1 is four steps: Apply for ITIN, wait, apply for CC. wait.
    – RonJohn
    Jun 14, 2021 at 20:14
  • @RonJohn Sounds like an answer.
    – glibdud
    Jun 14, 2021 at 20:27
  • @RonJohn Your answer/comment is not clear. You said you would pick #2 in both cases? I suspect that it is a typo, and because it is a comment, it cannot be edited. Please post your answer as an answer, not a comment.
    – Ben Miller
    Jun 15, 2021 at 12:54
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica yeah I meant "If I were wise I would do #3." The problem is that is is a really opinion-based comment.
    – RonJohn
    Jun 15, 2021 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Being an authorized user on someone else's card imputes their credit score (as calculated just from that card), and it stays with you, just like any other card.

So, go with Option #3 while you're waiting for your ITIN.

Remember, though, that the wise person lives below their means, and pays the whole CC bill every period. (I pay it off at the end of every month because it lets me associate this month's spending with this month's income.)

Thus, if your wife already has a good score, you might not see the burning need to get your own card.

Two more important tips are:

  1. keep the statement balance below 20-30% of your credit limit (that ratio is called the usage rate and is used by the credit bureaus), and
  2. you can (partly, even) pay on the CC bill early; that helps keep the usage rate low. Computers make that easy to do.

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