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Learn about credit cards and loans for immigrants

Do you need to borrow money? Credit cards and loans are very common in the USA. Learn about using a credit card, applying for loans, and building credit. Find opportunities for immigrants.

Credit cards

Millions of people have credit cards in the United States. People use credit cards when they shop online, pay for something expensive, or don’t want to use cash.

Credit cards are easy and safe to use. They usually have a limit on how much you can spend and require a minimum payment to the credit card company every month. It is important to always pay the minimum payment required or you will be charged a late fee.

If you do not pay the credit card company the full amount of all your purchases you will have a balance. The balance on your credit card will usually increase because of interest. Interest is an additional fee the credit card company charges for letting you borrow money. The balance is considered a debt.

Many people have a balance on their credit cards. Debt can be stressful. It is important to make purchases on a credit card you know you can pay off in a reasonable amount of time.

Find the best credit card for you.

credit card parts explained

Other types of cards

There are other types of cards you can use in place of a standard credit card.


A loan is money that you borrow and must pay back with interest. There are many different types of loans: personal, payday, business, and others.

A loan is usually from a bank or financial institution. They will check how much money you earn from work and if you own things of value. This helps them decide if they can trust you to pay back the loan.

Making your payments on time will keep you out of debt and help you build your credit history.

Find help

Home buying programs, loans for small business owners, and savings programs for refugees
Credit unions are like banks but are non-profits owned by their members. They are more likely to lend money or give credit cards to people with low incomes or no credit history
Loans money to small businesses, new businesses and to build affordable homes. They do not want to make a profit from their services
Immigration assistance loans so you can pay for the cost of your immigrant case
Business loans (from $500 to $250,000) to small business owners in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Puerto Rico
Helping communities to improve their access and understanding of credit unions
Helps you find a way to pay your credit card debt. Provides credit counseling and debt management programs
Loans to entrepreneurs with 0% interest for US small businesses. A nonprofit helping underserved communities
Loans to encourage business development and job creation for first-generation immigrants in New Hampshire
Loans and business counseling to immigrants and refugees with a limited credit history or unfamiliar with financial institutions
Loans for immigrants, and people with limited or zero credit history in the USA
Loans for your business that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration

How to build credit

Getting a credit card or loan requires you to have a credit history. Credit history is a record of how you use your money. It shows if you have used a credit card, had a loan, and paid your bills on time.

Secured credit cards are a good way to start building your credit. Paying your bills on time, such as your electricity and cellphone bills, also helps.

The information from your credit history goes to your credit report.

A credit report includes personal and financial information. Companies use this report to know you before lending you money or approving you for a credit card or a mortgage. Sometimes employers ask for this report during the job application process.

Based on your credit history, you’ll receive a credit score number. This number shows if you have good or bad credit. A high score is 700 and higher, and a low score is around 300. Having good credit will give you more choices when asking for a loan or paying less interest.

Learn more about building your credit history.

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