How to Check Your Credit Score Without an SSN
Posted by Frank Gogol
While living in the U.S., your credit score can have a positive or negative effect on many aspects of your life. As an international student without a Social Security Number (SSN), you might think that building a good credit score is impossible. However, below we will explain how to build credit without an SSN.
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How to Check a Credit History Without an SSN
If you do not have an SSN, you can submit a request for a free credit report in writing to any of the major credit reporting agencies. Generally, the following items will need to be included with your request to obtain a copy of your credit report in the absence of an SSN:
- Copy of a government-issued ID with current address
- Copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, or insurance statement
- Full name including middle initial and generation
- Individual Tax Payer Number (ITIN)
- Date of birth
- Complete addresses for the past two years
Can You Check Your Credit Score With an ITIN Number?
When trying to obtain a credit score, another alternative to an SSN is an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).
What is an ITIN?
The IRS issues an ITIN to all taxpayers in the U.S. who aren’t eligible for an SSN. This number helps them track and record the tax payments of people without an SSN. An ITIN serves this main purpose but it could be useful in other scenarios as well, as we will see below.
Difference Between SSN and ITIN
Both an SSN and ITIN contain numerical digits and both have a total of 9 digits. But right from the start, we’ll notice that the two numbers are different. In 1997 the IRS decided the ITIN will start with a 9. It will also have either a 7 or an 8 in the 4th position of the number.
How to Check Your Credit Score With an ITIN
So how do you get a credit score without SSN? You can get a credit score if you have provided your lenders with sufficient personal information and if they report it to credit bureaus. You can apply at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion for your credit score. Some of them may even grant you a free annual credit report.
Go online on the credit bureaus’ websites and check your credit score without SSN. Enter your personal information and provide your ITIN as another way to distinguish yourself. Pull your report and also verify the validity of the information. You can ask the credit bureaus to change incorrect information about your financial history. Be patient though, because it might take a while to correct errors on your record.
Please note though that not having an SSN will affect the way your credit is reported to credit bureaus. They may not have all of your financial history reported. But having a credit score of any kind is a start.
How to Check Your Credit History Without an SSN or ITIN
There are, however, some other ways to check your credit history without SSN:
- You can use FICO, a scoring model a lot of lenders use, to make an estimation of your credit score. FICO offers a free FICO score estimator which gives you an estimation after you have answered a few questions.
- You can use the factors determining your credit score and the weight that each of them carries towards making up your score. You can find the exact weightings and factors used in the FICO model here.
- You can compare your estimated credit score to the credit ranges to check the quality of your credit. Your credit score can range from 300 to 850.
Building your Credit with a Loan from Stilt
To build a credit history you need a loan, but by getting a loan you need a credit history. “This sounds impossible” might be one of the thoughts that came up while you read that. Luckily, we have a solution.
You can acquire a loan from a lender like Stilt who accepts applicants with either bad or no credit history.
Stilt Inc. is a financial technology company located in San Francisco and we change the way individuals build up their credit. We help individuals with limited credit history in the U.S. with innovative approaches.
The main criteria that you need to meet to apply at Stilt are:
- Be physically present in the U.S.
- Have a U.S. bank account registered in your name
- Have a U.S. address
Stilt provides personal loans at low-interest rates and by getting a loan from Stilt, you can build up your credit score without an SSN.
Learn More About Credit Scores
If it’s not clear from everything above — your credit score in the U.S. will be an essential part of living in America on a visa. That said, there are lots of other important topics around credit scores that it would be worth it to familiarize yourself with:
- Do other countries have credit scores?
- How accurate is Credit Karma?
- How often does your credit score update?
- Why did your credit score go down?
Beyond that, there are important topics things to know, like how to remove late payments, how to remove collections from your credit report, and how much will your credit score go up when you clear collections?
It’s crucial that you understand these things if you want to make the most of your financial freedom in the U.S.!