Banking and Finance

Prepaid Cards Without a SSN: What Are Your Options?

July 27, 2021

Did you know that the US government issues more than a million green cards each year? In 2019, there were nearly 14 million green card holders living in the United States. While that’s great, it also means that there are millions of legal residents living in the US without access to a social security number.

Typically, to get a social security number in the US, you need to prove both your identity and citizenship. If you’re not a citizen, you can still qualify for an ITIN, which is a similar identification number. However, not all banks accept an ITIN as proof enough to create a bank account. 

What are you to do if you’re in a similar situation? A prepaid debit card can be a great idea! And, as these types of cards become more and more popular, it’s becoming increasingly easier to find a card that offers you cashback deals and perks just like a regular debit card does.

What is a Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card is a card that allows you to load it up with cash and use those funds as you would a regular debit card. Usually, these cards are used by those who may not have access to traditional bank accounts. But, some like them because they can save money for their kids or teens on things like monthly service fees and ATM withdrawals.

So, is a prepaid debit card the same as a regular debit card?  No, not exactly. It does not offer you any kind of credit line and must be loaded up with cash prior to use. However, it will let you make purchases and withdraw cash just like a regular debit card does just as long as there’s cash in the account.

Do You Need a SSN for a Prepaid Card?

Fortunately, no, you don’t need a SSN to apply for most prepaid cards

In fact, many prepaid cards can be purchased and used by people who do not have a social security number. For example, the Mango Prepaid MasterCard is available for purchase by anyone over 18 years of age, regardless of whether or not they have a SSN. 

However, some prepaid debit cards cannot be purchased without an SSN. The PayPal Extras MasterCard, for instance, requires applicants to have a SSN as proof of identity. And, the  Green Dot prepaid card program requires applicants to have a SSN in order to get access to their prepaid debit card. In these cases, an alternative ID must be used.

What is an acceptable form of alternative ID? You’ll want to check with the card issuer to be sure, but in most cases they’ll accept one of the following alternatives:

  • An ITIN, which is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • A TIN, which is a Tax Identification Number
  • An EIN, which is an Employer Identification Number

All three types of numbers are considered equivalent. Whichever you use, just be sure to bring it with you when completing your prepaid debit card application.

What Are the Requirements to Get a Prepaid Debit Card?

To purchase a prepaid debit card, the only real requirement is that you have the cash on hand to purchase it. Anybody can buy a prepaid debit card from a bank, credit card company, or other financial institution that is offering one. Whenever you purchase the card, part of those funds usually go towards funding the balance on the card.

Does this mean you need to have a bank account to get a prepaid debit card? Nope! You can usually load money onto the card a number of ways. However, having a bank account can make the process faster and easier in some cases. Some prepaid card companies will allow you to link a regular checking account so that you can easily transfer funds straight to the prepaid card.

Studying in the US as an international student or are here as an immigrant and don’t yet have a US bank account? No worries! Setting up a Wise account can be helpful in the meantime, especially if you need to transfer money back and forth between different countries.

The Best Prepaid Cards with No Social Security Required

As mentioned above, you don’t really need a SSN to apply for most prepaid debit cards. However, there are a few prepaid debit card options that are better than others. Out of the many options, here are two of our top picks.

Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Card

With no credit check required and zero hidden fees, the Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Card is a good option for those looking for something simple and straightforward. Most people enjoy the peace of mind that comes with using a prepaid debit card from a well-known, international company like American Express. Furthermore, the card comes with a few perks, such as access to early direct deposit and a $0 monthly fee when you deposit $500 or more into the account each month.

Bluebird American Express Prepaid Debit Card

Another great option from American Express is their Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card. It’s similar to the one mentioned above. However, this card comes with additional unique perks such as roadside assistance and no foreign transaction fees. With this card, you can also enjoy the benefits of the American Express Purchase Protection program.

Advanced tip: Start to Building Your Credit

Lastly, as a resident in the U.S., you probably know that you will need to start building your credit at some point. And, well, the timing is as soon as possible, because a good credit can bring you tons of benefits and make your life easier!

If you are thinking of start setting up your credit now or you want your credit score boosted in shortly, definitely try rent reporting. Since you can't report your rent by yourself, choose rent reporting services wisely. Here at Cheese, our rent reporting service can report both your up to 2 years of rental history and your future ongoing rent, with very affordable price!

More exciting news? Cheese Credit Builder Loan is also coming soon! With Cheese, money-saving and credit-building can be attained at the same time. Sounds good?

We'll be with you soon!

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Cheese 银行卡 美国华人最好的选择