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Building USA credit

Building USA credit

Old May 4th 2017, 2:42 pm
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Default Building USA credit

Looking for advice on building credit in the US.

We arrived in February and things are going well. We are looking at getting a credit card and we know, that as newcomers, we have no credit history and no chance of getting a regular credit card and therefore need a prepaid/secured one.

Does anyone have any tips on choosing the right one?

We also have a lease car, through International Autosource (who have been brilliant...thanks for the recommendation Pulaski!)...will this be reported to the credit bureaus and help build our rating? Anyone know?

Thanks!

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Old May 4th 2017, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Discover secured card works well here and online, but has little acceptance abroad.
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Old May 4th 2017, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Originally Posted by drunner View Post
Looking for advice on building credit in the US.

We arrived in February and things are going well. We are looking at getting a credit card and we know, that as newcomers, we have no credit history and no chance of getting a regular credit card and therefore need a prepaid/secured one.

Does anyone have any tips on choosing the right one?

We also have a lease car, through International Autosource (who have been brilliant...thanks for the recommendation Pulaski!)...will this be reported to the credit bureaus and help build our rating? Anyone know?

Thanks!
Yes, your IAS lease payments will be reported to the credit agencies.

Advancial Credit Union gave us our first credit card ( AIG Inbound found it for us). It was unsecured (good) with a lowish limit of about $2k which went up fairly quickly.

I also got a secured card from Wells Fargo. They dropped the security deposit after about 6 months. I am not a fan of WF at the moment but the card did the trick at getting my credit score going as opposed to just my OH's.
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Old May 4th 2017, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Capital One Secured is. IMO, the best secured card. MasterCard accepted here and abroad, will convert to an unsecured card after 12 months of use and payments, regular credit limit rises on their unsecured cards etc.
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Old May 4th 2017, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

+1 for Advancial, they gave me $7.5k straight off the bat in my 3rd week of being here :O High APR mind you, but it was a start.

I also have a Capital one secured card, and a Quicksilver from Capital one after establishing a basic rating.

I'm at a score of 600 somehting after a year (officially 10 months on my report) which i'm happy with.

Make sure you sign up to Credit Karma, great app for monitoring your report, and its free
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Old May 6th 2017, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

I see that no one has mentioned this link but this was complied by a very valued member of the BE forums and might be helpful.

Fatbrit's Guide to Credit and Finance : British Expat Wiki
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Old May 7th 2017, 12:31 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Patience, a mix of credit types (not too many credit cards), don't submit too many applications for credit, and I know it sounds daft having to say this but always pay your bills on time.

In my experience the impact of carrying credit card balances is massively overstated by almost every post/article on the subject of building credit. A few years ago I had several close-to-maxed-out (90%-100% balances) credit cards, .... and a credit score of well over 700, and upto 740 at one time. Obviously my credit score would have been higher with lower card balances, but those who stress the importance of paying off your credit cards every month or keeping balances below say 10% as if higher balances would prevent you having a good credit score, are, IMO talking twaddle.

Did I mention patience?

Last edited by Pulaski; May 7th 2017 at 12:36 am.
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Old May 7th 2017, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

After three years, we're running at around 800 score. It seemed pretty easy. I had a debit card in the second week of arrival, as well as a car loan, a Discover card with a $1000 limit in three months. Now I have the Visa card as well, with well over $10K limits on both. I have always paid off the balances every month, and I've found they actually get antsier about the %of limit you draw, even if you pay it all off. So I get a hit for a couple of months if I use more than 50% of my limit, and then they increase the limit....
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Old Jul 8th 2017, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Advancial Credit Union gave us our first credit card ( AIG Inbound found it for us). It was unsecured (good) with a lowish limit of about $2k which went up fairly quickly.
.
Hi
This looks interesting but on looking though membership eligibility I came across '''select employee groups' - but could not find any further info with regards this?
Similarily , one of the 1st questions on the application form is ''I am an employee or member of an Advancial Select Employer Group.( tick box) - but cannot find further info with regards the Advanced select employer groups.
Thanks
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Old Jul 8th 2017, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Well, we were referred to them by AIG so didn't have to go through this with Advancial. I did have to do it for my credit union checking account though - I was a SAHM so thought I wasn't going to get an account but it turned out that my (expired) gym membership of Lifetime fitness was a relevant group.... I also had the option of saying I was referred by a current member so I could have gone that way.

So, tick the employee group box, see if there are any boxes you can tick - if you need a current member name for Advancial then pm me and I'll give you mine. Or just phone them up and see how you get on.

I think they have to have member selection criteria as a credit union but they're pretty easy going.

Let me know if you need anymore help
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Old Jul 8th 2017, 11:39 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Capital one is really good, basically you start with any credit card secured , you make your payment in full for the first 6 months and for sure they going to increase the limit. I went from 300.00 to 3.5k after the first 6 months.

I don't know exactly where you are but city bank it's great too, I would go for the financial institution that at long term you could stay around with them and for me a big deal braker for credit cards to take it or not would be besides card been accepted everywhere but also zero fees if I use it internationally.

Believe me now your options may seen like not much but later you gonna get so much offers in the mail, that could get a bit annoying. I had to called and cancel every prescreen offer for the next 5 years, I have 3 credit cards, do not need more and daily was recieving dozens of letter in the mail.
Oh and also paying anual fee for having the card it's a no no for me, reason why I don't have the Amex card, most love it, but I dont.

TD bank,I'm in the NYC area so we have those a lot around, they are open 7 days a week, that's something to consider.

Chase bank they are good but what I don't like about them and found weird that no one can deposit funds in your checking account but the owner, like one time we had a family emergency, I went to deposit some money to my brothers account and they didn't accepted it cause that policy.

Wells fargo umm again I do not like it, I remember I saw in the news the big fraud they made I think opening account without permission to thousands of people and I know it affected specially a lot of inmigrants, I think they were a target some employees later confess (I'm going by memory don't remember specifics details of the case, you easy can google it and get info) and that's why I stay way from them.

Have in consideration to apply for those credit cards that you thing you going to have the most chance to be approve, every single time you apply, they gonna run your financial history/creat a hard inquiry and too many of those are going to affect your credit cause they stay around for 2 years or so.

For my personal preference I went for all at once: car loan, t mobile, credit card, etc and yes my credit wasn't that great at the beggining but with time and making all my payments on time , now it's great.

There are many tools you can use, but credit karma is really easy to use, and I like it a lot.

Take care of your credit like a baby lol, building/having a good credit is everything in the US.


Good luck.
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Old Jul 8th 2017, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

I took advantage of the UK->USA Amex global transfer which worked out well since I had a max 999 credit score in the UK, which means I got a great credit limit already from day one in the US. Enough to cover all my outgoings for an entire month.

I think using the credit card wisely and ensuring it is paid off will rack up the score. Not checked mine yet but it's probably too soon.

Seems secured credit is another good route to get started out.

What I wonder about is whether to get another credit card, or try for different types of credit? I'm not sure what other types of credit I might need, really don't have lots of things to pay for yet, like I used to in the UK and have no debt or need to borrow. The credit thing is purely to get a score.

Even store cards not that useful, we do it all online mostly. I suppose some will work online. Would an amazon one help, if such a thing exists, we spend a lot with them 😐

In terms of starting out, I opened a TD bank because they didn't fuss before I had a perm US address. Actually pretty good with branches everywhere where I'm based. TD have offered me a secured card, not taken it, maybe I should too. I use the Amex to pay for most stuff.

Have opened a Barclays savings account. I did originally think of opening a chase or capital one account but trying to avoid the mistake I made in the UK of having way too many bank accounts...

I did read that using too much of your card credit limit reduces your monthly score increase, something around 25% or less and paying it all off per month is best. Of course, never miss a payment, that is key.

Last edited by LouisB; Jul 8th 2017 at 11:48 am.
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Old Jul 8th 2017, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
.... Even store cards not that useful, we do it all online mostly. I suppose some will work online. Would an amazon one help, if such a thing exists, we spend a lot with them ....
There is an Amazon VISA card, and it is worth having because it gives 3% cash back on Amazon purchases. As if many Amazon prices aren't low enough, to knock another 3% off everything you buy is extraordinarily good deal.
.... I did read that using too much of your card credit limit reduces your monthly score increase, something around 25% or less
That is an oft-quote piece of advice, and some people say less than 10%, but IME the impact of that is significantly overstated, although there definitely is an impact. I never set out to test that, but there was a time a few years ago when I had several credit cards that were close, or extremely close, to maxed out, 90%-100% utilization, and still had a credit score of 700-750!
and paying it all off per month is best. .....
I am not sure if that is true, or at least necessary - certainly installment loans only "work" if you are actually paying installments. Of course even if you pay the due amount every month there are still going to be the aggregate cost of this month's purchases reported to the credit bureaux.
.....Of course, never miss a payment, that is key.
That is critical, of course and the impact of that dwarfs the other components of your credit score.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 8th 2017 at 1:01 pm.
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Old Jul 9th 2017, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Building USA credit

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Well, we were referred to them by AIG so didn't have to go through this with Advancial. I did have to do it for my credit union checking account though - I was a SAHM so thought I wasn't going to get an account but it turned out that my (expired) gym membership of Lifetime fitness was a relevant group.... I also had the option of saying I was referred by a current member so I could have gone that way.

So, tick the employee group box, see if there are any boxes you can tick - if you need a current member name for Advancial then pm me and I'll give you mine. Or just phone them up and see how you get on.

I think they have to have member selection criteria as a credit union but they're pretty easy going.

Let me know if you need anymore help
Thank you! Your offer of assistance is greatly appreciated
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Old Sep 17th 2017, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Building USA credit

It's been a while but I think we're making progress.

For anyone else, we did this:

Amex UK to USA was the best kick start, giving a proper credit card (not secured), we use 20-25% of it, perhaps starting to reduce now we have essentials like furniture. This card works well - and is free, they have many types, some are free. A Second card was free too, with rewards/cash-back, win-win.

Then also I've been getting on very well with TD so I put some money from savings into a hold to open their secured card. This was simple and the nice thing was you can manage and pay all in the same app, just transfers between accounts. TD bank customer service is excellent, they are all around here and have the best opening hours. Recommended. Also their premier account give free banking with ATM fee reimbursement, handy.

Further I did a smaller secured capital one card, works well too. Took longer to get it. Nice thing about this one is it comes with a free basic credit report, now I can see our score, that it is increasing and what matters in it.

The most obviously significant thing is the longest credit line years = 0, not much we can do about that expect keep using them and being good.

Of course the other key factor is missed payments, I've setup auto payments of statement balances and use them like deferred spending from checking account so there should never be an issue. I'm living outside of any borrowing so this makes it easy to manage, have no intention to ever default on a payment, naturally.

So month on month score seems to be rising now. I guess we just wait, probably next year after a full year of good track record on multiple sources things will look much better.

Should I do more, not sure? I don't want to over complicate things.

Things I haven't done, a pay pal credit line, seems that is no good for credit history.

Also no Amazon visa, it was actually rejected, suspect it was too soon. Underlying bank was chase. Will try again in a few months.

Verizon monthly paid by a credit line, again this was originally rejected since we were brand new and had no SSN, I'm going to get this switched shortly as I think this is another source of positive payment reporting.

Also opened day to day savings with TD for convenience, largely to help avoid fraud on checking account (happens). Longer term savings account with Barclays, their rates were good. It's online only, just putting $ there for now swept up month to month, in case we buy another house or similar in the future.

Happy days anayway, things look on the up.

Thanks everyone for the help

BTW living NYC, esp. Brooklyn and Manhattan, total blast this summer, no regrets at all 😀

Last edited by LouisB; Sep 17th 2017 at 1:18 pm.
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