New Immigrants to America – Establishing Credit

You’ve just arrived in the United States and there is no doubt that establishing good credit can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry; there are several ways you can establish good credit so you can take advantage of many financial opportunities available in America. First you will need to obtain a social security number to be able to start building your credit history; you do not need to be a U.S. citizen or have a green card to get a social security number. Here are some ways to start establishing your credit:


If you rent or own a house or apartment, put utilities in your name (such as gas, electric, cell phone, etc.). This technically will not establish a credit score, but if you pay your bills on time and keep an excellent record, you make a base for when you want to borrow money.

Your bank

Open a bank account and keep that account in good standing. Lenders will consider this information and decide if you are a credit risk. Keeping your account open and maintaining good standing proves you can manage money, and this is key. In addition, you may be able to obtain a loan through your bank in the future and gain good credit that way. If possible, take a hard copy of your history from your native country so lenders can verify your information.<br><br>

Secured credit

When you purchase a car , you are getting a secured loan. If you make your payments on time, this is an excellent way to establish good credit. But if not, the lender can repossess the purchased item in order to pay off your debt. If you purchased a home and pay a mortgage, this is also secured credit and as long as you make your payments on time, it will reflect well on your credit history. Remember establishing good credit does take some time. Be sure to make careful decisions and be patient. Don’t be afraid to request a copy of your credit report and review it thoroughly.<br><br>
Depending on what country you are from, be aware that some laws make it illegal for countries to reveal credit information to banks or other lenders with other countries. So even if you have excellent credit from your native country, it may be difficult to see that credit transferred to the U.S.  Note in the USA it is a violation of federal law for lenders and credit card companies to consider race, national origin, religion, and gender when deciding to grant credit.  When you decide to borrow money, be cautious that you borrow from a reputable bank or lender

There are shady businesses out there that will prey on those without the right knowledge. Educate yourself with these tips and by doing your own research at your local library or Internet. And no matter your appearance, language or culture – establishing good credit in the United States requires patience, making the right decisions and careful planning. Do not overspend and keep a budget and you will well on your way.  We welcome you to America!

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