For years, creditors have required applicants to first have a social security number to even be considered for a credit card. After all, a person’s entire credithistory is tied to the nine-digit number. Without an applicant’s social security number, creditors have no way of looking up the person’s credit history. Since credit history is a creditor’s preferred way of approving credit card applications, they simply refuse cards to applicants who do not have a social security number.
Bank of America recently announced that it would begin considering applicants that do not have a social security number. Not only does the program offer credit to those without social security numbers, it also considers applicants that have little or no credit history.
As long as applicants have a checking account with no overdrafts in the past three months, they have a very good chance of being approved for a Bank of America credit card.
The lack of a social security number does, however, come with a cost. The credit card offered by the program has a higher interest rate and requires an upfront fee.
There are other types of credit cards available without a social security number. A secured credit card, which requires a deposit, does not require a social security number. Also, prepaid credit cards can be obtained without a social security number.
What many consumers, those with and without social security numbers, do not realize is that the only institutions allowed to deny services based on the existence of a social security number are those associated with the Social Security Administration. Social security laws prevent other businesses, including banks, from denying privileges and rights based on a person’s lack of a social security number.
The new Bank of America program simply makes it easier for people without social security numbers to do what they’ve been able to do all along.
So how exactly do you go about getting a credit card without a social security number? First find a copy of the Privacy Act and print it out. When you make an application for credit, preferably in person or via mail, write “See Enclosed Notice” in the place of the social security number. Include the copy of the Privacy Act. At this point, the bank will do one of two things. It will either ask for certain documents verifying your income or deny you for the card. If you are denied, you have the right to file a $1,000 suit against the bank in small claims court.