How to Get a Credit Card in Italy or Europe

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Credit cards can be used instead of cash to pay for goods.
Credit cards can be used instead of cash to pay for goods. (Image: credit card image by feisty from Fotolia.com)

People use credit cards instead of cash to purchase goods in a store, over the phone or via the Internet. Owners of credit cards have credit limits for spending. Individual’s can obtain credit cards from a variety of lending institutions in Europe.

Things You'll Need

  • visa for a European country
  • employment
  • permanent address

Contact the embassy of the European country you wish to live in to arrange residency, work permits or visas. Go to www.usembassy.gov for a list of U.S. embassies in Europe.

Find an apartment or house in which to live once you have moved to a European country. You must have a fixed address for at least six month before applying for a credit card.

Get a bank account in the European country. Contact, for example, the HSBC Bank in the U.K., Deutsche Bank in Germany, or Bank of Italy if you live in Italy. You need a bank account to transfer money back to your credit card once your credit card account opens.

Gain employment. You must have proof of stable employment before applying for a credit card.

Go to www.myfco.com. Pay the required fee and obtain your FICO credit score from Experian, Equifax and Transunion. European credit lending institutions will need to know your previous credit history. Providing this information and showing you have good credit history in the U.S. should make it more likely you will get a European credit card.

Apply for a credit card through your bank in your European country. Banks look more favorably on credit card applications if you already hold an account with them. Apply for a credit card with an introductory offer. Go to www.moneysupermarket.com if you live in the U.K. and search for the best deals. Click on “Money,” scroll down to credit cards and click. Apply for the credit card that interests you.

Tips & Warnings

  • The U.K. has an electoral register on which you must register before applying for a credit card. Check the rules for other European countries if you choose to live elsewhere.

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