Building Credit Score As an Immigrant

Need a Free Credit Report? Not when you have come to America for the first time. You find yourself in the catch 22 situation and here is the scenario that develops. First of all you are new to the US, you don’t have a home, you don’t have a car (which is an essential part of living here), you don’t have insurance, you don’t have a cell phone etc.  Of course these are the basic necessities of the American lifestyle and you don’t have any of this. On top of that you are not eligible to borrow or to take out a loan because you ‘Do Not Have a Credit Sore’.

Anyone in this situation would like to know the magic word of ‘AbrakaDabra’ for credit score and get one quickly. But really, there is no magic trick for this situation. You have to be patient and use all your resources to get the basic amenities first and then go for the credit score and surely later you would be eligible to get a car loan, a mortgage, etc.  So use your own funds to pay for your expenses first. If you are short on funds, more often than not you can get help from family and friends.

Linda Sherry, director at Consumer Panel, states that without a credit score many companies are not willing to serve a consumer. Though the issue has been discussed, currently there is no concrete support being offered from the government. Hence it is totally upon the individual to start from scratch and build on it.

The first thing that you can do is open a debit card account in an established bank. Later the same bank can give you a secured credit card to start from against your deposits in the bank. The second thing you can do is ‘talk’. Talk to prospective lenders, see if there is a way around, if they can assess your assets overseas and lend you the required amount. Talk to your employer, they can help you with support documents like a ‘letter of employment’ to help you with the credit card. Talk to multinational firms that are also operational in your home country and with whom you have dealt before. They can be willing to access your overseas records and offer you a loan or a credit card.

Additionally, you can also ask your friends and family in this country to open a joint credit card with you. That way their credit history can help you in getting the credit card you want or need. This will also help you in starting to build your credit history early in this country.  Finally develop a good habit of paying your bills and card balances on time. This will most importantly help you build a good credit score. Lastly always remember to obtain your annual Free Credit Report from the three major agencies , Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once you’ll have a credit history!

Posted by: on Feb 20 2012 | No Comments

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