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Building credit history before move

Building credit history before move

Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:16 pm
  #1  
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Default Building credit history before move

Hi

I am a UK citizen and am married to an American lady, we are currently living here in the UK whilst i complete my military service. Shortly before the end of that though we will be beginning the process to return to live permanently in the US. Knowing how important a good credit score and rating in the US is and how your credit score and worthiness doesn’t cross international borders, i would like to know if there are any tips on how to try and build a credit score from here before we move? I am an authorised user on my wife’s credit card and are hoping that the company will report my activity to the credit bureaus. Other than that any ideas?

TIA
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Short answer, you can't. For any credit activity to be registered you have to have a social security number, so without one, even if* you could do anything which would impact your credit score, it won't help you because without an SSN you don't have a credit score.

* US banks have no interest in extending credit to non-citizens living outside the US.

Get yourself an Amex card if you don't have one already, as Amex in the US will give you a US one based on your existing card in the UK. I think that there is a minimum period of 12 months before it can be switched, though I think some people have reported it might be shorter now.

Last edited by Pulaski; Apr 21st 2019 at 1:26 pm.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Sounds like you've lived in the USA in the past and have a social security number? I guess that's how you got on your wife's presumably American credit card.

After being here a few years including getting life up from scratch, I've seen that the fixation with a credit score is not all it's cracked up to be.

I've been able to navigate every hurdle that folks often quote, but admittedly a lot is by paying cash for stuff.

How I did this is being in a position like you and knowing a move is inevitable. I started saving up cash and had a decent kitty to move here with (even though the uncertainty of leaving the EU at the time destroyed the fx rate).

I'll give some examples:
  • Cash for 2 cars
  • Extra deposit on apartment
  • Deposit on utilities
  • Having to go through some phone calls for identity verification instead of via the bureau automatically
  • Manually underwritten mortgage - yes I got a mortgage with no care for a credit check on a traditional mortgage at a 4% interest
It's doable, but definitely requires a bit of planning.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Nope no SSN, my wife just added me as an authorised user to her American issued credit card who in their T& Cs state that they report the credit data of authorised users to the credit bureaus. I believe they just wanted a name, address and DOB.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by Southernboy123 View Post
Nope no SSN, my wife just added me as an authorised user to her American issued credit card who in their T& Cs state that they report the credit data of authorised users to the credit bureaus. I believe they just wanted a name, address and DOB.
Then you won't be getting any credit score from it. What this means is that if you run up debt as an authorized user, and your wife doesn't pay, then it will ding her score.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 2:27 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

When you move and start your own credit history it won't take long to build a decent credit score through the usual routes. @ 6 months.
It's only important for certain things..mortgage, car loans, rentals etc
A low or non-existent score probably won't prevent you doing anything if you have cash reserves but YMMV.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

+1 on the Amex, their Global Transfer service was very helpful to us when we moved over. And Amex remains my favourite credit card in the US.
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Old Apr 22nd 2019, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
Sounds like you've lived in the USA in the past and have a social security number? I guess that's how you got on your wife's presumably American credit card.

After being here a few years including getting life up from scratch, I've seen that the fixation with a credit score is not all it's cracked up to be.

I've been able to navigate every hurdle that folks often quote, but admittedly a lot is by paying cash for stuff.

How I did this is being in a position like you and knowing a move is inevitable. I started saving up cash and had a decent kitty to move here with (even though the uncertainty of leaving the EU at the time destroyed the fx rate).

I'll give some examples:
  • Cash for 2 cars
  • Extra deposit on apartment
  • Deposit on utilities
  • Having to go through some phone calls for identity verification instead of via the bureau automatically
  • Manually underwritten mortgage - yes I got a mortgage with no care for a credit check on a traditional mortgage at a 4% interest
It's doable, but definitely requires a bit of planning.
Just curious, what company did you use for a manually underwritten mortgage? Currently looking for a house, and your rate sounds much better than anything we have seen so far - and we have a good credit score.
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Old Apr 22nd 2019, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by michaelr711 View Post
Just curious, what company did you use for a manually underwritten mortgage? Currently looking for a house, and your rate sounds much better than anything we have seen so far - and we have a good credit score.
A credit union
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Fatbr...it_and_Finance

It has been a while since this was last updated, but the principles still apply.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
A credit union
Hi Tom, I'm interested in credit unions. We're heading over to Seattle soon, not sure how long for - we'll be on an E3, non-migrant visa - and we will be renting, don't need house or car loans, will maintain Au and UK bank accounts and pay local obligations from those (we own our Au property). Don't even want to think about the tax implications of all that right now but thinking our day-to-day US finances should be fairly simple.

Being a recently ex Finance Director of an Au organisation with US-based staff, I know that international transfers to CUs can sometimes be tricky, e.g., need to go through intermediary banks. If it ends up being a longer term move, we may need to do more of that kind of thing.

Would be grateful for your thoughts and any recommendations. Thanks.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Fatbr...it_and_Finance

It has been a while since this was last updated, but the principles still apply.
Thanks for this, Bob, very timely.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
…. Being a recently ex Finance Director of an Au organisation with US-based staff, I know that international transfers to CUs can sometimes be tricky, e.g., need to go through intermediary banks. If it ends up being a longer term move, we may need to do more of that kind of thing. …..
It's not really "tricky" even for the banks that move your money, and to you as a customer the process is entirely transparent. You tell your bank, whether in Australia or the UK to send an amount to Acme Credit Union, of Podunk, OR for the credit of Kooky Smith, Routing and Transit No (RTN): 320012349*, A/c number: 0123456789012. and with usually 2-3 days your wire will arrive at your credit union bank in Oregon. The process is the same for an on-line FX remitter such as TransferWise, Xe, OandA, etc.

The fact that your wire from the Chelsea Building Society in the UK has gone through Barclays Bank in London, and Citibank in New York, and perhaps a regional bank in Oregon on its way to your credit union account is of absolutely zero consequence to you, and indeed most people are blissfully unaware of the route taken.

FWIW if you use an on-line remitter the route may be even more complex, or, as I believe happens with TransferWise, they take your money in the UK and put it in their account, then send you funds in the US from their account locally in the US and the money is never really "transferred" at all.

* Credit unions and "thrifts" have their own series of RTNs and if you open an account with a credit union in Oregon it will be served by the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, which uses "32" as the first two digits of RTNs for their client credit unions and thrifts.

Last edited by Pulaski; Apr 25th 2019 at 10:46 pm.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
It's not really "tricky" even for the banks that move your money, and to you as a customer the process is entirely transparent. You tell your bank, whether in Australia or the UK to send an amount to Acme Credit Union, of Podunk, OR for the credit of Kooky Smith, Routing and Transit No (RTN): 320012349*, A/c number: 0123456789012. and with usually 2-3 days your wire will arrive at your credit union bank in Oregon. The process is the same for an on-line FX remitter such as TransferWise, Xe, OandA, etc.

The fact that your wire from the Chelsea Building Society in the UK has gone through Barclays Bank in London, and Citibank in New York, and perhaps a regional bank in Oregon on its way to your credit union account is of absolutely zero consequence to you, and indeed most people are blissfully unaware of the route taken.

FWIW if you use an on-line remitter the route may be even more complex, or, as I believe happens with TransferWise, they take your money in the UK and put it in their account, then send you funds in the US from their account locally in the US and the money is never really "transferred" at all.

* Credit unions and "thrifts" have their own series of RTNs and if you open an account with a credit union in Oregon it will be served by the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, which uses "32" as the first two digits of RTNs for their client credit unions and thrifts.
Thanks Pulaski - maybe it was getting the right information out of the San Fran team (pinko leftie tree huggers) that was tricky.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 11:07 pm
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Default Re: Building credit history before move

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
Thanks Pulaski - maybe it was getting the right information out of the San Fran team (pinko leftie tree huggers) that was tricky.
You're welcome.

The US banking system is quite bizarre, certainly unlike that in the UK, and many Americans are pretty clueless about how to do things that should be totally routine, such as send or receive a wire.
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