SelfScore Achieve MasterCard

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Picture of SelfScore Achieve MasterCard
By : Mr Credit Card

Quick Introduction

The SelfScore Achieve is a unique card in that it is specifically targeted at International Students who are studying in the US. At the moment, US Citizens and green card holders cannot apply for the card. It used to be that as a foreigner or immigrant, you could only get a secured credit card once you got your SSN (this requires a deposit to secure the credit line you are given). And even secured credit cards can decline your application.

Foreigners and students have always had a hard time getting started with building their credit in the US because the US financial system relies on your FICO score. But then, it becomes a chicken and an egg problem. No FICO means no credit lines. But having no credit lines means no FICO score as well! SelfScore intends to serve this niche with this card by not requiring SSN. You would need to have a bank account, passport, student visa and your I-20. Let's find out more about this card.

How Does This Card work

As we mentioned earlier, this card does not require a SSN. Instead, you need to show your passport, student visa, I-20 and your bank statements. For security purposes, they will not accept mail or email attachments. Instead, after you apply, you can create an account and upload those documents (more secure). Once SelfScore gets all your documents, it will take about 3 days to approve your application. If this is the first credit card you are applying for , you are unlikely to get this Achieve card. Instead, you will be given the "Classic" card. It is essentially identical except that it has no cash back program. After a few months of timely payments, you should get upgraded to this card.
 

Card Details

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfer for 15 months

APR: 19.74%*(v)

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%

Rewards: 1% Cash Back on all purchases

Requirements: US Bank Account, Passport, I-20, Student Visa

Initial Limit: Up to $5,000.
 

Peer Comparison

Card Annual Fee
APR
FX Fee
Rewards
Score Rewards
Score Monitoring
SelfScore Achieve Annual Fee = $0
APR = 19.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = 1% Cash Back
Score Monitoring = N.A.
SelfScore Classic Annual Fee = $0
APR = 19.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = N.A.
Score Monitoring = N.A.
Capital One Journey Annual Fee = $0
APR = 20.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = 1.25% Cash Back
Score Monitoring = Vantage 3.0 TU
Discover it Student Annual Fee$0
APR = 13.74% - 22.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = 5% rotating categories
1% everything else
Score Monitoring = FICO TU
Discover Chrome Student Annual Fee = $0
APR = 13.74% - 22.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = 2% gas and dining
1% everything else
Score Monitoring = FICO TU
Citi ThankYou Preferred Student Annual Fee = $0
APR = 14.74% - 24.74%
FX Fee = 3%
Rewards = 2X dining out and entertainment
1X everything else
Score Monitoring = N.A.
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Annual Fee = $0
APR = 11.9% - 21.9%
FX Fee = 3%
Rewards = 1% cash back
Score Monitoring = Bankcard Score 2 - Experian
BankAmericard Student Annual Fee = $0
APR = 12.74% - 22.74%
FX Fee = 3%
Rewards = N.A.
Score Monitoring = FICO TU
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Student Annual Fee = $0
APR = 13.74% - 23.74%
FX Fee = 3%
Rewards = 3% on gas and 2% on grocery & wholesale club for first $2500 in these spending a quarter
1% on everything else
Score Monitoring = FICO TU
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Student Annual Fee = $0
APR = 15.74% - 23.74%
FX Fee = 0%
Rewards = 1.5X
Score Monitoring - FICO TU
State Farm Student Visa Annual Fee = $0
APR = 12.24% - 19.24%
FX Fee = 3%
Rewards = 1X for every $2
3X for State Farm Insurance Payments (up to $4000 a year)
Score Monitoring - N.A.


It is hard to compare this card with other student credit cards simply because no US based card explicitly targets international students and all require an SSN. However, there are a couple of exceptions.

The Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students allow international students to get a credit card. You would need to open a bank account with Citibank and apply at the branch. You do not need a SSN or ITIN. However, you would need a passport and your I-20. The Citi ThankYou Preferred is a rewards card that allows you to earn 1.5X points (slightly more than self-score). So from a rewards standpoint, SelfScore is cash back card while Citi is a points card (which allows you to earn slightly more points). However, SelfScore has no foreign transaction fee while Citi charges 3% for that.

Another issuer that international students have had success with is Discover (both their it and chrome card for students). Once again, they do not explicitly market it to international students so I'm not sure if this would be a fair comparison. Both the Discover it and Chrome have better cash back program. Both waive the foreign transaction fees and they also allow you to monitor your TransUnion FICO score (which SelfScore does not).
 

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • No SSN required
  • 0% Intro APR for purchases 6 months
  • No Annual Fee
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • No Security Deposit

Cons
  • Can't think of any - perhaps other cards have slightly better cash back program

 

Our Take

If you are an international student in the US, you will find that establishing a credit history is not easy here. The "easiest" way is to get a starter credit card. But that in itself is quite difficult if you do not have any credit history.

The SelfScore Achieve is meant to solve that problem by not checking your SSN. Instead, they will check your bank statements, your passport and your I-20. The card itself is pretty competitive with a cash back program and also do not charge any foreign transaction fees.

Issuers like Citi and Discover also accept foreign students without SSN. So those are potential alternatives.

If you are new international student in this country and are looking to establish a credit history, then we recommend you consider getting this card.