The United States is seen as a country of opportunities, which makes people flock to this land. However, there are many challenges that you might come across as an immigrant— and one of them is establishing a good credit score for you to use.
Establishing a credit score as an immigrant might be a tricky financial situation in a foreign country. If you are without U.S. credit scores, it can be not easy to qualify for a mortgage or any loans. Thus, setting up your basic needs, such as utility bills or cell phone plans, might be a hassle.
Building your credit score from scratch might be frustrating and can be confusing at first. To help you out, below are some information that you can use to make sure your first step in living abroad will be smooth sailing.
1. Get a Secured Credit Card
The easiest way to build a credit history is through obtaining a secured credit card. As an immigrant, securing yourself a credit card helps you have mobile phone plans, mortgages, and other financial assistance during your stay in the foreign land.
A secured credit card is a particular credit card type which is secured through collateral means. In this case, the bank will require you to deposit a certain amount of money in your bank account and leave it there.
After the deposit, the bank will allow you to charge your account up to the amount you have deposited, which means that you can borrow the same amount of, say, $500 that you put in.
2. A Cosigner Might Help
There are some instances when an immigrant is not able to have his or her own credit card due to various reasons. If such an unfortunate situation happens, then you might have better luck if your credit card application includes a cosigner.
A cosigner should be someone who has a stable income and credit scores. Basically speaking, a cosigner is a person who agrees to be responsible for paying your debts should there come a time that you aren’t on top of your bills. With this said, the bill payment will be recorded and will impact your co signer’s credit scores.
Thus, although this might be too much to ask for someone, if you go confidently in this route— and are confident that you will be able to pay your bills on time, this might help you a lot.
Also, you should be aware that cosigner is a better option than being an “authorized user” on someone else’s card account since not all banks report authorized users to the credit bureaus—which defeats your purpose of obtaining a credit card.
3. Make Use of a Current Credit Card
If you currently have a credit card that was used back in your country and maintains an account with an international bank, then this might help you out. Since your past bank already has all the data needed, then it will be easier to apply for a U.S. credit card from the same bank.
Thus, try reaching out from your bank in case they operate internationally and help you set up your credit card.
4. Make Your Rent Count
If you have already found a place or an apartment that you can rent, you should make it count for your credit history. Try to get your rent payments reported to any credit recording company so that it will serve as your credit history.
By doing the reports, and if you are paying your bills on time, then this will help you build healthy credit scores. You can visit some websites on their homepage to know more about your credit recording company options if your landlord is currently not reporting to the bureau.
5. Consider Alternatives
You should always have your backup plans. In this case, you should consider some alternative credit building, such as social lending. Social lending or also known as Peer-to-peer lending is a kind of loan which enables a person to have financial assistance directly from another person.
Improve Your Credit Score Constantly
Now, if you already have started having your credit history, then congratulations! Keep it up by continually building it up by paying your bills on time. Also, if possible, you should pay your bill in full, so that the amount of interest you’ll pay will reduce, and the companies that will look at your credit history will see that you are a responsible borrower.
Lastly, do not apply for multiple credit cards if you don’t need it since having numerous inquiries will last on your credit history for two years, and it can drag your credit score down.
Being an immigrant is already challenging, so you don’t need another difficulty that would be a burden for you in a foreign land. After reading the tips shared with you above, make sure that you get the proper information in everything that you do, especially when it comes to financial matters.