Illegal immigration is a controversial issue. However, if you are an illegal alien you are legally entitled to establish credit in the United States of America. Not only can you apply for credit cards without fear that banks will turn you into immigration authorities, but the truth of the matter is that banks are actively seeking your business. Last year, Bank of America launched a campaign to offer credit cards to people who applied with only an ITIN number rather than a Social Security Number. Such an easy approval credit card can be the first step on your way to being able to manage finances the U.S. way. (Note: For the benefit of Spanish speakers, the introduction steps of this article have been translated into Spanish.)
Be willing to take a calculated risk. (Necesitas arriesgarte con inteligencia para hacer buen uso del credito que se te confia.) When you are an illegal alien, the last thing you probably want to think about is how to establish credit. Most likely, you're just interested in getting by from day to day. You never know if you are going to get discovered by immigration officials, and deported straight back to Mexico. So, you have be cautious about how you manage finances. If you put money in a bank but get deported the next day, there may be no way for you to withdraw it again. However, if you apply for credit cards, you run less risk, because most major credit cards will also work in other countries.
Consider trying to establish credit in your country of origin before entering the United States. (Concidera iniciar credito de tu pais natal antes tu viajes a Estados Unidos.) Mexico is beginning to embrace the credit card culture that is so entrenched in the U.S. Easy approval credit cards are advertised by banks, and even popular game shows like "Los 5 Magnificos" have prominently advertised Visa. Rather than enter into the U.S. as an illegal alien, and afterwards struggle establish credit, you may wish to apply for credit cards before you ever cross the border.
Apply to department stores for credit. (Necesitas aplicar en diferentes negocios para saber si puden darte credito y con el tiempo tendras la probabilidad de que mas negocios te ofrescan a tu credito.) Department stores like to attract the business of a reliable customer, whether he is an illegal alien or an American citizen. You will probably have success in being able to establish credit in these stores, since they often offer an easy approval credit card with hopes that you'll not only use it in their store but everywhere else you do your shopping. In the long run, an illegal alien is good for the economic survival of these stores.
Ask a relative who has already established credit to cosign for you. (Pregunta a tu relativo si esta de acuerdo de dar su firma en el contrato de tu credito.) Banks like to lend to people who they can trust. When you are trying to establish credit, get together with your family members who already use credit cards to manage finances in their households. If they are willing to help you apply for credit cards, consider asking their permission to sponsor you as a cosigner. This will help a lender know that they are dealing with someone who is likely to pay the bills he creates.
Be aware of the terms and conditions of a credit agreement. (Necesitas tener conciencia de acuerdos y condiciones en el contrato de credito.) If you are not careful, credit card companies may take advantage of you since you are an illegal alien. While helping you to establish credit actually also helps the companies you borrow from, these companies may also be aware that learning to manage finances as U.S. citizens do may not be simple for some foreigners. Many illegals are not careful to read the terms and conditions of a contract when they apply for credit cards, especially if they are getting quickly processed for an easy approval credit card. As a result, some illegals are not even aware that they must make a monthly payment to avoid a late fee. No one profits but the credit card company when this happens. Don't make the same mistake. Be sure to know what you are agreeing to pay.
A credit card is for personal use, and you should not share it with anyone other than a spouse.
Be very careful to only apply for credit cards that do not require you to pay an annual free. Do not apply for credit cards if the interest rate offered to you is unreasonably high.
James Withers has authored in excess of 200 articles on eHow, expanding on journalistic experience acquired as a commentator for the newspaper of the University of Texas at Arlington. Withers began publishing professionally in 2007. Withers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.