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That credit thing......

That credit thing......

Old Apr 15th 2010, 11:57 pm
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Default That credit thing......

How difficult is it to rent an apartment / buy a car / get TV,internet,phone access / mobile phone contract / etc etc, when you first move to the good ol' US of A?

We'll be arriving soon, cash rich (well, by our standards)! but credit poor, even though our credit is top notch in the UK. I plan to keep accounts open in the UK but that's not going to help my credit rating in the US. I've read all of the guides on here (Fatbrit's explanation was a great help) but I've also read some real horror stories about the size of deposits required when your credit rating is zero.

I'm happy to play the game to eventually get a credit rating, but are there ways around the restrictions when you first arrive? TIA....
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 12:16 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Plenty of threads on this...and the answer, all depends.

Where you are, if there's competition etc. Putting a deposit down will often be required for a lot of utilities.

Rent, well if you go for a private place you'll have a easier time of it than at a complex, but a letter from employer saying what your salary is often helps.

Do you really need a mobile phone contract? PAYG could be enough to get you going.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 12:57 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Originally Posted by Steve_I View Post
How difficult is it to rent an apartment / buy a car / get TV,internet,phone access / mobile phone contract / etc etc, when you first move to the good ol' US of A?

We'll be arriving soon, cash rich (well, by our standards)! but credit poor, even though our credit is top notch in the UK. I plan to keep accounts open in the UK but that's not going to help my credit rating in the US. I've read all of the guides on here (Fatbrit's explanation was a great help) but I've also read some real horror stories about the size of deposits required when your credit rating is zero.

I'm happy to play the game to eventually get a credit rating, but are there ways around the restrictions when you first arrive? TIA....
Right.. your spouse is a US citizen, yes? You're more than half way there.
She can add you as an authorized user on her credit card account and you should start seeing improvement immediately.
She can be the primary signer on anything that they won't give you, and you can be on the account (the things you mention above).

It's simple, really. Don't try to do it on your own and it will go quite quickly.

Did you read the wiki entry?
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 1:12 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Steve,
as someone who escaped from Darlo more than a few years back but only made it to the USA 3 1/2 years ago, getting a head start on renting an apartment without a crippling deposit may depend on your employer, they may be able to give you a reference, mine did for me and I had to pay only $500 up front here in Atlanta.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 1:30 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Do you really need a mobile phone contract? PAYG could be enough to get you going.
An excellent point - contracts take the piss over here and, despite the called party pays thing, often pre-pay is a cheaper way to go.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 1:38 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Apartment rental was fairly straightforward - I think they wanted to see hubby's contract and letter from uk employer and of course they wanted a month up front. We had to put down a deposit for electric and phone/cable ($300/$100 if memory serves). We bought our cars cash so no problems there. Getting a car loan might be difficult with no credit rating.

6 months later when we moved into our new house no-one wanted deposits (and we changed all our suppliers).

Best advice I ever got was to get an Amex Card in the UK and do an 'Global Transfer' when you arrive. $5,000 credit right off the bat
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 2:42 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Originally Posted by ChocolateBabz View Post
Apartment rental was fairly straightforward - I think they wanted to see hubby's contract and letter from uk employer and of course they wanted a month up front....
See, that's definitely where regional variation comes in. Standard around my parts that you put down first/last months rent, plus another month as deposit, and if you have pets usually another months none refundable deposit and this is for private rental, complexes might ask for more and that's with credit history.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 7:52 am
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Many thanks all.... some great advice, although some of it doesn't work for us unfortunately. I'll respond in more detail tonight but have to go to work right now
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Hi Steve

I can only go by what it's been like for us since our arrival in February.

Home rental needed $4000 security deposit which they hold until the end of the rental - don't know if this is standard practice, and the first months rent up front. We needed references from hubby's employer and I had to get letters of reference from the banks in the Uk to say that mortgage etc was paid on time.

Bought our car cash because we knew we'd have problems trying to finance one from a dealer, so I can't comment on that.

Cable - had to get landlord to get it installed the first month because of hubby's lack of SSN. They were out the same day with no problems and phone, internet and tv were up and running in about 1.5 hours. We now have the account in hubby's name.

The only problem we've had was with the oil companies. They all wanted us to open an account but with no credit history in the US, they wouldn't touch us. We had a clause in our rental agreement that we had to use Standard Oil, which was impossible as they wouldn't provide us with oil, so we've had to get that amended. Eventually found a company who did an independent delivery, but we had to pay cash on deliver, either cash or credit card - no check!

Have a great girl at our local bank who has helped us with everything else. Setting up our account etc and keeps a check on how we're running a bank account which has been a great help. Apart from that, we'll just have to bide our time over the next year or so to try and establish a credit rating so that we can get credit.

All in all, it's not been a great big deal so far. Hope this helps a bit.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Wow. Reading these stories makes me feel really grateful at how easy Mrs tonrob and I had it.

We moved with our company and they owned a condo nearby that they let us use for the first 2 months or so. This was long enough for us to get SSNs, bank accounts (and even a mortgage - this was back in 2005), secured credit cards and time for all of our stuff to arrive. The day after we closed on our new home we had cable installed, oil delivered etc. etc. with no issues.

They even gave us a car to use until we could take out tests and buy one and also a mobile for me so I didn't need to worry about that. And even then everything felt like hassle.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

When we first came over, we had no credit rating and a big wad of cash as well. Even though I'm the American in this relationship, I didn't have any credit rating at all. We lived with family for a few months until we figured out where we were going to end up (my family live on the coast in Oregon, no good work prospects there.) So we moved up near Seattle and found a house to rent (we brought over our dog and wanted a house) we went through a private party and she was more then happy to have a look at our bank balance to take as security. We paid normal deposits and then sweated it out till my husband found a decent paying job (10 months after we arrived !)

Anyway, best of luck on everything.

Last edited by AmerLisa; Apr 16th 2010 at 3:03 pm.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Many thanks for all of the encouraging comments! It's nice to hear from people who were in the same situation at one time. Our problems are that A) We won't have jobs when we first arrive, so no references available from employers to give to potential landlords and B) we know for a fact that my USC wifes name and SSN were used by someone last year to have cable internet installed, then defaulted on the payments. It's easy for us to prove we were out of the country at the time, but we'd rather not have the 'perp' arrested!

My wife interviewed for a post when we were over last year, so she's fairly confident of finding a job quickly, but doesn't have a definite start date yet. Not sure how we can easily fix her credit though...... We can pay cash for a cheap car initially and the mobile thing is easily fixed by using Straight Talk from Walmart (on the Verizon network), which actually looks like a great deal... unless someone knows different! $30 a month for 1000 minutes and 1000 texts + 30 meg of data access.

We've had a checking account there for 5 years as we used to own a place in FL, and I had a US mortgage in my name, although I'm not sure that would show up on any credit searches... They're based on SSN? The US bank should be good for a secured credit card though, so it's a start!

Still need to figure out the logistics (and timescale) of renting a room, hiring a car, passing a driving test, buying a car, finding an apartment, buying new furniture and all the other household 'stuff' and finally sitting down in front of a big TV, with a fridge full of beer (and a fruit based drink for the lady) in the kitchen

Lots of challenges still ahead I think.... and I thought getting the visa was complex!
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

First step for your wife to fix her credit history is to get her credit reports and see what they say.

Even if there is something negative on there at least she has a credit history and even a bad credit history will get you a lot further than the dreaded "no credit history".

If you have a bad credit history (and lots of people do) lenders know how much extra to charge you in order to cover the supposed additional risk - if you have no credit history they just don't want to deal with you at all.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

Originally Posted by Steve_I View Post
Many thanks for all of the encouraging comments! It's nice to hear from people who were in the same situation at one time. Our problems are that A) We won't have jobs when we first arrive, so no references available from employers to give to potential landlords and B) we know for a fact that my USC wifes name and SSN were used by someone last year to have cable internet installed, then defaulted on the payments. It's easy for us to prove we were out of the country at the time, but we'd rather not have the 'perp' arrested!

My wife interviewed for a post when we were over last year, so she's fairly confident of finding a job quickly, but doesn't have a definite start date yet. Not sure how we can easily fix her credit though...... We can pay cash for a cheap car initially and the mobile thing is easily fixed by using Straight Talk from Walmart (on the Verizon network), which actually looks like a great deal... unless someone knows different! $30 a month for 1000 minutes and 1000 texts + 30 meg of data access.

We've had a checking account there for 5 years as we used to own a place in FL, and I had a US mortgage in my name, although I'm not sure that would show up on any credit searches... They're based on SSN? The US bank should be good for a secured credit card though, so it's a start!

Still need to figure out the logistics (and timescale) of renting a room, hiring a car, passing a driving test, buying a car, finding an apartment, buying new furniture and all the other household 'stuff' and finally sitting down in front of a big TV, with a fridge full of beer (and a fruit based drink for the lady) in the kitchen

Lots of challenges still ahead I think.... and I thought getting the visa was complex!
How did you have a mortgage in your name with no SSN? If you jointly owned a place, then surely your wife has a credit report? Even if it isn't very good, most places will want both your SSN when they do a rental application.

Also, when we first moved over, because my husband's SSN was so new, that initially it looked like he didn't have a SSN at all.

Anyway, you can do Google searches online for apartments or property management places and give them a call and ask what might be the case for you guys. Auto insurance will cost a bit as well, call around and get quotes for that too. The other thing we would have done is to have bought a much more older used car, we ended up replacing it in 3 years time anyway, and believe me when I say we spent too much money on it.
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Old Apr 16th 2010, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: That credit thing......

I moved here at the beggining of March - had it very easy, this is what I did:

-Took out an annual subscripton with AIG Intenational for $400. Got an HSBC credit card wth $10,000 limit. Had to supply copy of visa / letter of employment.

- Been with Amex in the UK for ten years. Transferred my card and credit history to US. Well actually you keep your UK card, they just issue you with an additional card in the US. Look up Amex global transfer on Google. You need to be with them for a minimum of 12 months in the UK to qualify.

- Opened a bank account with HSBC in the US by walking into a local branch. No SSN needed, supplied that later.

- Got a car through BMW finance via their global executive scheme. Again had to provide copy of my passport / visa / letter of employment / pay stub, was very easy. Its an official scheme BMW run. Audi and Mercedes also run similar schemes, I am sure other manufacturers do as well.

- Got a lease on an apartment by showing my letter of employment, and copy of UK bank statement.

So far I have not encountered any problems with getting credit, although a lot of that was due to the research I did on this forum and making sure I did things correctly to start with.
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