How to Get American Credit Cards as a Canadian Part 4: Your First American Credit Card

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:

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)

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:

american credit card


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:

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.

Some people choose to get a no annual fee credit card to avoid minimum spend requirements and just to have something they can hold onto passively while building up their US credit history.

I personally got an AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card (previously Starwood AMEX in the USA) because I plan on keeping it forever. Its biggest perk is if you have both the personal and business AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card, you will get 30 stay credits per year towards renewing your Platinum Status.

Regardless of which credit card you choose first, make sure it’s a card you plan on keeping forever.

Other options to get your first American credit card

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.

In my opinion, the best alternative method is still with American Express. Instead of doing an AMEX Global Transfer, you would apply for your first American credit card through Nova Credit. Through this method, they would use your Canadian social security number to determine if you qualify for your first American AMEX card or not.

Start building your credit score and apply for other credit cards!

Once you’ve secured your first AMEX 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!

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2 thoughts on “How to Get American Credit Cards as a Canadian Part 4: Your First American Credit Card”

    1. They never asked me to prove my US employment. I actually provided them with my Canadian employment information.

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