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Innovations and Payment Systems

Wells Fargo customers could be next to get credit cards without Social Security numbers

Summary

Wells Fargo offers unsecured credit cards for those without Social Security numbers.

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Well Fargo reported that it is considering the possibility of offering credit cards to customers who lack Social Security numbers.  Such a decision would follow Bank of America’s recently publicized pilot credit card program in the Los Angeles area that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for plastic.

Compare Low Interest Credit CardsAccording to its vice president of regional banking, Wells Fargo is weighing the possibility of offering unsecured credit cards to its checking account customers who have no Social Security numbers.  The bank said the potential plan stems from the serious need for all customers to have equal access to financial products and services in order to “build credit, establish financial security and achieve the ‘American Dream.'”

In May 2001, Wells Fargo became the first U.S. financial services company to accept the Mexican ID card — the Matricula Consular — as identification when opening accounts.  As of Feb. 25, 2007, Wells Fargo has opened over 1million accounts using the Matricula card.

Bank of America started its credit card program in 2006, eventually expanding it to 51 bank branches in Los Angeles County.  Bank of America explained the move is an attempt to reach out to the Hispanic market, but said that there are no plans to take the credit card program nationwide.

Consumers looking to apply for a Bank of America credit card who do not have a Social Security number must first have a deposit account with the bank for three months, as well as identification documents approved by the USA PATRIOT Act.

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