British Expats

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-   -   Banking & Credit (UK - US move) (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/banking-credit-uk-us-move-879980/)

Pugilation Jul 6th 2016 12:27 pm

Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
Hi forum,

I'm going to be moving out to Texas next year (and getting married!), and am very aware that I need to have a good credit rating so we can do usual life things like buy a house and get a car.

I've looked into a couple of options for building credit but would like some advice if anyone has anything they are willing to share? I've got good credit in the UK, a couple of active cards which get paid off every month, but I can't get a clear steer on whether any of this is transferable.

I have a verbal agreement from my current firm to let me transfer to their US team once I get my employment authorisation done, so also will need to setup a bank account. Are there any restrictions I need to be aware of, or any general advice that could give me some direction?

We've spoken with an IFA in the US but he didn't really have any experience of immigration concerns.

thanks!

Owen778 Jul 6th 2016 12:37 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
Are you moving on the basis of marrying an American citizen, and do they have good credit?

If so, the easiest option is to piggyback on theirs.

Pugilation Jul 6th 2016 12:44 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by Owen778 (Post 11995335)
Are you moving on the basis of marrying an American citizen, and do they have good credit?

If so, the easiest option is to piggyback on theirs.

Yeah marrying a local, will there be any risk to her credit score this way? I'm not going to have any income until my employment authorisation comes through, although I can pay any bills with my savings.

MidAtlantic Jul 6th 2016 12:48 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by Pugilation (Post 11995327)
I've looked into a couple of options for building credit but would like some advice if anyone has anything they are willing to share? I've got good credit in the UK, a couple of active cards which get paid off every month, but I can't get a clear steer on whether any of this is transferable.

Your UK credit record is not transferable, you will be starting again! As Owen says you may have a good start from your USC wife.

Some have experience of American Express transferring their records and issuing a card here on that basis. Others have mentioned HSBC transferring records when you have certain accounts with them. Even if these work they are transfers within these organizations, not transfer of your record to the credit agencies. However, they do enable you to make a good start on building your credit record.

Pulaski Jul 6th 2016 1:02 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
As others have said, with only a very few specific exceptions, your UK credit history is inaccessible from the US. The reason is the UK Data Protection Act, so there are no general was around the problem you face.

If you're in Texas HSBC won't help you much as they are confined almost entirely to New York, and in any case they seem to have a generally poor reputation in the US. I used them briefly, but closed my accounts when I left New York.

Under your specific circumstances, being able to tap into your wife's credit, the biggest problem you face is lack of a job/income. Two companies are often cited here on BE that can help new immigrants with a car and mortage, being International Autosource and Wells Fargo bank respectively, but not having a job is going to (I think) prevent them from being able to help you.

Pugilation Jul 6th 2016 1:49 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
Thanks all (or should that be "y'all"?), with luck the job scenario will work out and I can get myself a credit card setup pretty quickly once I move.

cautiousjon Jul 7th 2016 8:47 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
American Express has a 'global transfer' program, whereby you can transfer a UK Amex into a US Amex. They won't check your US credit file if you don't have one, and will simply assess you based on your UK credit file.

You have to hold a UK Amex card for 3 months before you apply for the transfer. Amex isn't accepted everywhere (particularly by smaller companies), but it might still be a good option for you.

https://www.americanexpress.com/glob...ed-states.html

Bob Jul 7th 2016 10:17 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
Fatbrit's Guide to Credit and Finance : British Expat Wiki

If you've not had a look at the wiki, it's a good starting point, up top.

kodokan Jul 7th 2016 11:58 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
I've never worked in the US, yet have a very decent credit score based largely on being an authorized user on hubby's credit cards. I actually applied for my very own credit card last month (there was an excellent air miles bonus offer), using his salary and calling it 'household income', and was immediately approved and given a madly high credit limit. Finances seem much more merged here between couples, probably due to joint taxation.

I can't see any problem with you becoming an authorized user on your wife's account for the first year, to build up your credit history. You'll get a card to charge to, but she'll ultimately remain responsible for the bills. I'm thinking of doing the same thing for my son when he hits 18 (if he is still the frugal, extremely sensible type he is now).

petitefrancaise Jul 8th 2016 10:59 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by kodokan (Post 11996918)
I've never worked in the US, yet have a very decent credit score based largely on being an authorized user on hubby's credit cards. I actually applied for my very own credit card last month (there was an excellent air miles bonus offer), using his salary and calling it 'household income', and was immediately approved and given a madly high credit limit. Finances seem much more merged here between couples, probably due to joint taxation.

I can't see any problem with you becoming an authorized user on your wife's account for the first year, to build up your credit history. You'll get a card to charge to, but she'll ultimately remain responsible for the bills. I'm thinking of doing the same thing for my son when he hits 18 (if he is still the frugal, extremely sensible type he is now).

Credit card debt is joint debt. The wife won't be ultimately responsible for it, you both will. Joys of being married!

Kodokan, your son should be able to get his own card. My daughter got a card last summer to use in emergency or if it was a bill we would ultimately pay for (eg health stuff). She had a bigger credit limit than me at that point.
Once they're off to college they become very attractive to credit card comanies.

Owen778 Jul 9th 2016 2:37 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise (Post 11997823)
Credit card debt is joint debt. The wife won't be ultimately responsible for it, you both will. Joys of being married!

I'd be wary of making statements like that. I may be wrong, but I'd expect that debts automatically being shared between spouses probably varies by state. Bear in mind that if one spouse is an "authorized user", it basically means they don't have the primary responsibility for the account that the banks attaches to the primary owner.

petitefrancaise Jul 9th 2016 4:45 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by Owen778 (Post 11998219)
I'd be wary of making statements like that. I may be wrong, but I'd expect that debts automatically being shared between spouses probably varies by state. Bear in mind that if one spouse is an "authorized user", it basically means they don't have the primary responsibility for the account that the banks attaches to the primary owner.

OK. All debt incurred during a marriage in TEXAS is joint debt. Being only an "authorised user" on a spouse's card doesn't change that. The primary user may have responsibility and the benefit to credit history for the card but in the event of problems with the account then as the spouse you are also responsible.

kodokan Jul 9th 2016 5:11 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise (Post 11998286)
OK. All debt incurred during a marriage in TEXAS is joint debt. Being only an "authorised user" on a spouse's card doesn't change that. The primary user may have responsibility and the benefit to credit history for the card but in the event of problems with the account then as the spouse you are also responsible.

It's a state-by-state thing, tied in with community property laws: Think you're a joint account holder? Think again But since the OP is in Texas, PF was correct for their circumstances.

For most states, authorized users can charge, but have no liability for paying the bill.

vikingsail Jul 9th 2016 5:49 pm

Re: Banking & Credit (UK - US move)
 
I'd think very carefully before assuming as an authorized user you have no liability on a credit card debt. Despite what local state law may say there is always federal law and 'trumping' that is the credit card agreement you agree to when becoming an authorised user which is most likely to state very clearly you are liable for the debt, this is referred to in the article linked to.


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