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Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Old Mar 2nd 2011, 12:38 am
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Default Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

I will apologize in advance as I searched the forum and looked on the wiki pages and I could not find an appropriate answer to my query. I would like to ask, in particular from those who have experienced it, how did you go about building your credit history in Canada.

I admit I know an answer. I have read that you can start by applying for a credit card. Fine, but what if you have arrived in Canada and you are not loaded with an abundance of equity or without a job lined up? Is it as easy then to build up your credit history?
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Originally Posted by Karib View Post
I will apologize in advance as I searched the forum and looked on the wiki pages and I could not find an appropriate answer to my query. I would like to ask, in particular from those who have experienced it, how did you go about building your credit history in Canada.

I admit I know an answer. I have read that you can start by applying for a credit card. Fine, but what if you have arrived in Canada and you are not loaded with an abundance of equity or without a job lined up? Is it as easy then to build up your credit history?
We're in BC and moved with quite a few grand but obviously that all went whilst we were both job hunting. We both got jobs in January 2010 and applied for credit cards with our bank in May, only got $500 limit on to start with but we just used it all the time and cleared it in full regulary. The lady at the bank did mention if our c/cards were declined then we could have gone for a 'secured' credit card which basically means they hold say $500 of your money to secure the limit on the credit card and this would have helped to build up a credit history also.
We just got approved for our car finance in Feb so we must have built up a good credit history in the last year. I'd speak to your bank see what they recommend, i think some banks even have special accounts/cards for new immigrants.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Originally Posted by Karib View Post
I will apologize in advance as I searched the forum and looked on the wiki pages and I could not find an appropriate answer to my query. I would like to ask, in particular from those who have experienced it, how did you go about building your credit history in Canada.

I admit I know an answer. I have read that you can start by applying for a credit card. Fine, but what if you have arrived in Canada and you are not loaded with an abundance of equity or without a job lined up? Is it as easy then to build up your credit history?
Hope, IMHO, it is difficult.....we are in that boat at the moment. Having seen my UK credit file I know that you need to obtain things based on credit to build a credit history. So you should try to organise credit cards, mobile phones on contracts, a loan etc.....but it all more difficult without a job and lots of money in the bank.

Based on our HSBC experience, they wont let you apply for a standard credit card without an income, regardless of how long you had a HSBC account in the UK. They will let you have a secured credit card provided you put double the credit limit into a seperate account with them.

Mobile phones, get a contract phone as they will do a credit checks and whilst you might have a budget cap there will be some credit history being earned. Again based on a Koodo mobile phone contract.

Not done loans yet.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Try Scotiabank. They do seem to recognise the difficulties faced by newcomers. For new Permanent Resident's (not necessarily so for those on Temporary Work Permits) who can show a SIN number and proof of address, they will put in an application for an unsecured credit card for you. It'll only be for $1,000 or less but as stacey.cook1 above says, used often and paid off regularly and always on time, your credit history will soon start to build.

If for any reason that doesn't work, then Capital One do a Secured Credit Card...whatever you place on deposit with them is what you will get as a credit limit. Just Google Capital One Secured Credit Card.

Hope this helps.

Eamonn & Janet.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

As a banker hopefully my reply will assist.

Go to your bank and see if you can get a "secured" credit card. How this works is that the bank will usually ask you to pledge 120% of whatever the credit limit desired.e.g. $1000 = a pledge of $1200.

The pledged funds are usually held in a GIC or savings account and the time frame is around 1 year, that way the bank can get a feel for how you conduct your finances/bill payments.

The other thing you can do is apply for a Sears card- we did this when we came in 2002 and all they asked for was sight of another credit card, so we showed them our UK mastercard, we were given a card with a limit of $500.

Hope this helps!
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:28 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

What Shelley said , but RBC only ask for 100% which they then put in a GIC
And the Bay will also do the credit card if you h ave another credit card thing
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:51 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

I arrived last July and got a secured credit card with TD Bank in September. I put $2000 in a savings account and got a card with a credit limit of $2000. I could probably have done it with less.

I was turned down for a Sears card just before Christmas. I have also been turned down for a couple of other store cards.

However last week I managed to get a President's Choice Mastercard with a limit of $1,500, so my credit must be building up - I was refused one a few months ago.

So now I guess I could cancel my secured card and get my money back, as I can use my mastercard to build my credit further.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 1:53 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Originally Posted by Bonestable View Post
I arrived last July and got a secured credit card with TD Bank in September. I put $2000 in a savings account and got a card with a credit limit of $2000. I could probably have done it with less.

I was turned down for a Sears card just before Christmas. I have also been turned down for a couple of other store cards.

However last week I managed to get a President's Choice Mastercard with a limit of $1,500, so my credit must be building up - I was refused one a few months ago.

So now I guess I could cancel my secured card and get my money back, as I can use my mastercard to build my credit further.
Be careful about applying for a lot of credit cards, constant turndown will also effect your credit rating!
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Originally Posted by shelley748 View Post
Be careful about applying for a lot of credit cards, constant turndown will also effect your credit rating!
Agree with this. Not just being turned down but over-stretching too soon increases your liability in the eyes of credit services. Avoid store cards, I would.

Seriously, just get a $500.00 credit card and pay it off monthly. Within months you'll have a good beacon score and doors will start to open.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 9:27 am
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Thanks for all your replies. I am a person who usually avoids credit cards so I have no UK credit card. I have noticed that a number of Canadian banks seem to have packages geared towards newcomers, which appear to offer a credit card. Scotiabank (thanks Getting There) has one and that will be the nearest bank to me. A credit limit of around $500 would be sufficient for me.

I was reading on another forum that buying a cell phone in Canada on contract might help as the purchase includes a credit check.

Last edited by Karib; Mar 2nd 2011 at 9:30 am.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 12:30 pm
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

We're not there yet, but having had a hunt (on-line) through various banking packages for new immigrants Scotia bank (as mentioned above) appears to be the most user friendly at present. I guess choice of bank is also down to where you live and which bank (branches, ATMS) prevails the most in your area.
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Old Mar 2nd 2011, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: Looking for Advice on Building Credit History as a New Immigrant

Originally Posted by Karib View Post
Thanks for all your replies. I am a person who usually avoids credit cards so I have no UK credit card. I have noticed that a number of Canadian banks seem to have packages geared towards newcomers, which appear to offer a credit card. Scotiabank (thanks Getting There) has one and that will be the nearest bank to me. A credit limit of around $500 would be sufficient for me.

I was reading on another forum that buying a cell phone in Canada on contract might help as the purchase includes a credit check.
Hi Karib,

Glad the advice was of some use. I think, with PR status, you should be able to avoid the Secured card options but Scotiabank will best advise. We have tried a number of the banks for our clients, when helping them to settle here, and have been impressed with a number of them but have found Scotiabank to be that bit more switched on to the needs of the new immigrant, which is smart marketing/service really.

Eamonn & Janet.
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