If you have recently moved to the U.S. on the H1B Visa you must understand the banking system before you start making choices about credit cards and loans. Getting a credit card for a new comer is a difficult task in U.S. Banks and credit card companies hesitate to give it to someone without any credit history. Moreover, a social security number is required to be able to apply for a credit card
Only few Credit Unions like DCU or TCU give credit cards to a new immigrant. Few Banks also provide secure credit cards, with some minimum limit. In order to get a secured credit card from a bank, you need to have an account with the bank and some minimum deposit against the credit card.
Credit card facilitates you to buy anything under your card limit, and saves you from carrying cash. This credit can be paid later on the terms and conditions of your cards APR rate (Annual percent rate). Credit cards are extremely useful everywhere, specially at places like grocery stores, gas stations (known as petrol pumps in India), rental car office, restaurants, etc.

Types of Credit Cards

Some of the popular credit card companies are Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover. It does not matter which company you go with. What matters is the facilities that these companies offer, such as special discounts at certain hotels, car rentals, shopping malls, air tickets, online banking, etc, and the fees for a card.

  • "Visa" and "Master Card" are the known and widely acceptable, and can be applied through any bank, or credit union
  • "American Express" and "Discover Card" can be directly applied over the internet or phone

What is Debit Card?

Debit card is something for which you don't actually get credited. The money instantly gets transferred from your checking account to the respective merchants account. Your check card is basically your debit card.

Tips for H1B Visa holders

  • Always check for the amount you pay before signing the receipt. Sometimes you might find some mistakes in the charges
  • Try to keep all your receipts safely, till you get your statement. It is also useful in case you need to change, or return some items to a store
  • Completely tear off and destroy all your receipts and counter slips, before throwing them away, as it contains your card number which can be misused
  • Keep all your cards safely. After you pay, don't forget your credit card at the counter
  • Keep a note of all the details about your card, number, date of expiry, date of issue, and corresponding phone numbers
  • In case you lose any of your cards, report immediately to the telephone number given to you for reporting purpose
  • Always carry a photo I.D. (driver's license or state I.D.) as people like to verify the credit card with a photo I.D.