If you are planning immigration to the US, credit score is probably one of the last things you would worry about. However, in the US, many of the essential expenses such as renting an apartment, buying a car, signing up for a cellphone plan or applying for a credit card, requires you to have a personal credit score.
Worrying whether it’s possible or not? The great news is that it is possible to establish credit in the U.S. It may take work but with right credit decisions, you can definitely sail your boat. This guide can help you get started with the steps you need take to build your credit in the United States:
Apply for a secured credit card: The international banks are not likely to provide you any credit card directly, considering they cannot have a credit check on you without a credit history. The only option you have is to apply for a secured credit card (one that is backed up by funds) with a credit union or a local financial institute. If you manage to get yourself a credit card like a Macy’s or an American Express card, it can be used to purchase at the Macy’s retail stores or online, wherever the cards are accepted. Once in possession, try to make minor bills such as $30 to $50 with the card and repay back the full amount immediately. In this way, you will start creating a good credit history.
Subscribe for auto payments: Subscribing yourself for auto deductions ensures that your bill payments are done in a timely manner. The credit information companies in the US consider mobile and utility bill payments while building your credit report.
Use your spouse’s good history: If your spouse happens to be a US citizen with a good credit history, rejoice, for they have won half the game for you. You can apply for a joint account with them or become an authorized user on your spouse’s credit card. You can then buy a car or rent a house together!
Talk to the lender in person: It is always better to talk to the lender in person as then you can better explain your situation. This also helps establish your legitimacy with the lender and they can better analyze you.
Report your rents: Make sure you are paying your house rents electronically as you can now report the rent to the credit bureau. This is one good way to build your history.
Leverage your home bank relations: If you were a credit card owner with an international bank in India, you might be able to call the bank and get them to issue you a U.S. credit card based on your past relationship.
Do not share your SSN: The social security number in the US is like the Aadhar number in India. It is a unique number assigned to each individual and is connected with all your dealings. Your Social security number is required while buying something. Let’s say you share the number with someone who requires a telephone connection on that number. In the case that they were to default on paying their bills on time, it would reflect badly on your credit report and will hamper your credit score.
If you follow the above pointers, you will be smartly prepared for your stay in the US. But wait, there’s more! Always keep an eye on all accounts so you can identify and resolve problems quickly. Check your credit score regularly to track your progress. Pull your credit reports at least once a year from any of the approved credit bureaus. It’s free and seeing what is being reported about you is illuminating. All the best!