In this latest blog post, we’re going to talk about which American credit card to get first as a Canadian.
How to Get American Credit Cards as a Canadian articles:
- How to Get Your ITIN Number
- Opening a bank account in the USA (so you can pay off your credit card balance)
- Getting an American mailing address
- Your First American Credit Card
- Getting a US Phone Number
Which American credit card to get first
After getting your ITIN number, and a US mailing address, you’re ready to get your first American credit card! The two most common credit cards to choose as your first American credit card would be:
- American Express (whichever one you want)
- TD Aeroplan VISA
AMEX Global Transfer
To get American Express as your first American credit card, you have two options:
- Call AMEX to do the Global Transfer at 1-877-621-2639
- Online through this link
If you decide to do the AMEX Transfer over the phone, make sure to have the following information available:
You’ll also need to have an American Express credit card already and have it for about 6 months to qualify.
To summarize the requirements for applying for the American Express Global Transfer, you’ll need the following:
- U.S. home address
- Bank account in the U.S.
- Phone number in the U.S. (apparently they’re not very strict and your Canadian number works)
- Passport information
- ITIN number
- Employment information
After you’ve provided them all the information above, they will verify with your U.S. bank if your information is legitimate. Then, you can pick your first American Express credit card and you can pretty much choose any of the available AMEX cards on their website.
Most people I know will either select the American Express Platinum card. The reason is because of the big sign up bonus of 60,000 AMEX points. Despite the annual fee of $550, you can copy the strategy we use in Canada where they give you $200 travel credit which renews every January 1st. This means if you redeem 2x$200 annual travel credit, you’ll get back $400 worth of the annual fee you paid making the AMEX Platinum card cost $150.
Some people choose to get a no annual fee credit card to avoid having to have a minimum spend requirement and start building up US credit history. Whichever option you choose is fine; though, I would probably get a no annual fee credit card as my second instead of my first.
TD Aeroplan VISA (US version)
Alternatively, you could get the TD Aeroplan VISA in the US instead of American Express.
The process is similar to the AMEX Global transfer. Actually, it might be slightly easier.
As usual, you’ll need to have the following information handy before applying:
- Bank account in the U.S. – alternatively, you can just use your TD bank account to pay for your balance
- ITIN number
Once you have all the information above, you can go to a TD branch and request to do Cross-Border Banking. Alternatively, you can also call TD at 1-877-700-2913 to get additional support.
Unlike doing an AMEX Global transfer, TD is quite lenient and you can even use your Canadian address to bank with them in the U.S.
Other first American credit card options
Other first American credit card options would be your typical mall cards. If you drive down the US border, they usually offer credit cards when you go shopping at major retail stores.
You could also get a no annual fee credit card from your US bank to start. For example, I bank with Banner Bank in the US and would qualify for a Banner Bank credit card.
Start building your credit score and apply for other credit cards!
Once you’ve secured your first AMEX credit card, TD credit card, or any other easy to obtain credit cards in the US, you’re on your way to building your credit score in the US!
Eventually, you’ll have a decent amount of credit score and you can start applying for popular credit cards like the Chase Sapphire.
Congratulations, you’ve now opened the door to the holy grail of points and miles by getting access to American credit cards!