Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Old Oct 17th 2017, 4:37 pm
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Hi all

I'm starting the process of moving to the US from the UK, am in a long distance relationship and after a couple of years we're getting serious, more about that and the permanent resident status stuff another day.

Here's my experience with setting up US credit in 2017, the goal is to have 3 accounts that add to your credit history...

I've got an UK American Express card with good credit history. AMEX US will transfer this to my US postal address along with the last 6 months of credit history. They can do this from the UK or US over the phone. You'll need someone at the US postal address to open your mail and activate the card.

To open a US checking account you'll need to visit a branch in the US. Wells Fargo Bank said they needed a Social Security number, which I don't have. Bank of America didn't need a Social Security number so went with them. BoA needed proof of UK address (UK driving licence), signature and my UK passport for proof of ID. I gave my US postal address. I started the Core Checking account cause the fees are the lowest and easiest to get waivered. You'll need to deposit $25 to open the account. You've got a couple of months before you start incurring a monthly fee of $12. If you maintain $1,500 or above balance for that month, pay in $250 a month (wages not an option for me yet) or are student under 24, the account has no fees.

Once your checking account is setup you can apply for a Secured BoA creditcard. You choose the security deposit at the start which determines your credit account. The minimum is $300 and is returned at the end of 1 year depending on how you've run the account. The deposit can be taken from your checking account. The annual fee for this card is $39. Will be setting up a directdebit to pay the cards off each month.

I just need one other credit or store card. Was going to look at a gas or fuel card from a petrol station. Does anyone have any experience in setting up a gas card that you deposit money into that doesn't require a Social Security number? Will post here how I get on.


Charlie
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 17th 2017, 4:43 pm
  #2  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Athens GA
Posts: 1,911
MidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Hi all

I'm starting the process of moving to the US from the UK, am in a long distance relationship and after a couple of years we're getting serious, more about that and the permanent resident status stuff another day.

Here's my experience with setting up US credit in 2017, the goal is to have 3 accounts that add to your credit history...

I've got an UK American Express card with good credit history. AMEX US will transfer this to my US postal address along with the last 6 months of credit history. They can do this from the UK or US over the phone. You'll need someone at the US postal address to open your mail and activate the card.

To open a US checking account you'll need to visit a branch in the US. Wells Fargo Bank said they needed a Social Security number, which I don't have. Bank of America didn't need a Social Security number so went with them. BoA needed proof of UK address (UK driving licence), signature and my UK passport for proof of ID. I gave my US postal address. I started the Core Checking account cause the fees are the lowest and easiest to get waivered. You'll need to deposit $25 to open the account. You've got a couple of months before you start incurring a monthly fee of $12. If you maintain $1,500 or above balance for that month, pay in $250 a month (wages not an option for me yet) or are student under 24, the account has no fees.

Once your checking account is setup you can apply for a Secured BoA creditcard. You choose the security deposit at the start which determines your credit account. The minimum is $300 and is returned at the end of 1 year depending on how you've run the account. The deposit can be taken from your checking account. The annual fee for this card is $39. Will be setting up a directdebit to pay the cards off each month.

I just need one other credit or store card. Was going to look at a gas or fuel card from a petrol station. Does anyone have any experience in setting up a gas card that you deposit money into that doesn't require a Social Security number? Will post here how I get on.


Charlie
US credit history is based on the SSN, so until you have one you will have no US credit history.
MidAtlantic is offline  
Old Oct 17th 2017, 5:21 pm
  #3  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 47,665
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
US credit history is based on the SSN, so until you have one you will have no US credit history.
Not only is this true, without an SSN it is unlikely that most banks and finance companies would even consider lending to you.

Typically, if you're (living) in the US and don't have an SSN, you're not in the country legally, so banks and lenders wouldn't touch you even if your lack of credit history, because you don't have an SSN, wasn't already an insurmountable problem for you.
Pulaski is online now  
Old Oct 18th 2017, 2:28 am
  #4  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Nov 2016
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 189
Chesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond reputeChesten has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post

Typically, if you're (living) in the US and don't have an SSN, you're not in the country legally, so banks and lenders wouldn't touch you even if your lack of credit history, because you don't have an SSN, wasn't already an insurmountable problem for you.

I get the point you're making and you said "typically", but still. I and many others are here perfectly legally without SSNs on H4s. I hate the dependency thing. Have I said it enough times?

But no argument on the issues associated with no SSN. Mind you, does rather shut cashiers up when they try to flog some store card or other, so that's good.
Chesten is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 8:20 pm
  #5  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Thanks, all.

The credit history won't be taken into account until I have an SSN. Got ya.

But you can start building in preparation for achieving Permanent Resident Status and being issued an SSN.

Aside from starting to build credit history, having a US bank account and CC you avoid the drip drip of non Sterling transaction and ATM fees, $6 to withdraw cash in posh supermarkets like Krogers.
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 8:34 pm
  #6  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 47,665
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Thanks, all.

The credit history won't be taken into account until I have an SSN. Got ya.

But you can start building in preparation for achieving Permanent Resident Status and being issued an SSN.

Aside from starting to build credit history, having a US bank account and CC you avoid the drip drip of non Sterling transaction and ATM fees, $6 to withdraw cash in posh supermarkets like Krogers.
You have only grasped half the story, not only (the bit you have grasped) will you not have a credit history until you have an SSN, also (the bit you have not grasped) you won't get a credit card until you have an SSN.

In truth, if you review the thread history here on BE you will rarely go more than a couple of weeks without finding someone who has an SSN, and a job, a job in the US, and still can't get a regular credit card, so they have to get a secured one. ..... I would he interest to know if a bank would even offer you a secured credit card if you don't have an SSN.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 27th 2017 at 8:48 pm.
Pulaski is online now  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 8:58 pm
  #7  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Hi Pulaski.

I read your original post. I have a US bank issued secured creditcard. This one (bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/secured-credit-card). I went with the minimum deposit of $300 USD, which gives me $200 credit limit. After 1 year, if I've kept the card in good order, I get the $300 back and apparently can apply for a non-secured creditcard. You need a US checking account to apply. And you can only open a US bank checking account in a US branch of that bank. BoA needed proof of UK address and my UK passport.

Here's details (americanexpress.com/global-card-transfers/united-states.html) of the AMEX transferring a UK creditcard to the US. Which according to the sales people on the phone also moves 6 months of your UK credit history to your US credit history.

It's a given that this is meaningless until I have an SSN. What is not so clear is would the credit history that is being recorded by BoA, AMEX etc. be applied retrospectively and picked up by the credit agencies like Experian. Won't be able to confirm or deny this until I have an SSN.

Last edited by KingwoodBrit; Oct 27th 2017 at 9:02 pm.
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:03 pm
  #8  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 47,665
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Hi Pulaski.

I read your original post. I have a US bank issued secured creditcard. This one (bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/secured-credit-card). I went with the minimum deposit of $300 USD, which gives me $200 credit limit. After 1 year, if I've kept the card in good order, I get the $300 back and apparently can apply for a non-secured creditcard. You need a US checking account to apply. And you can only open a US bank checking account in a US branch of that bank. BoA needed proof of UK address and my UK passport.

Here's details (americanexpress.com/global-card-transfers/united-states.html) of the AMEX transferring a UK creditcard to the US. Which according to the sales people on the phone also moves 6 months of your UK credit history to your US credit history. .....
I believe the advice you've been given assumes that you have an SSN. With only a few exceptions, if you don't have an SSN you aren't living in the US legally, so I don't think the banks will deal with you.
Pulaski is online now  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:14 pm
  #9  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Apologies, I didn't make this clear from the beginning but I'm not living in the US, in spite of what my username suggests! I live in the UK. I visit my US girlfriend, who is a US citizen (UK citizen originally) once every 6-8 weeks, stay for 2 weeks at a time. I don't work while I'm in the US as the terms of my ESTA prohibit that. We've been seeing each other for around 18 months and plan to get married. The purpose of this thread is to record trying to setup a US credit history (or not) in advance of being awarded PRS and an SSN.

Last edited by KingwoodBrit; Oct 27th 2017 at 9:17 pm.
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:14 pm
  #10  
i hate cabbage
 
Jack8602's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2015
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 438
Jack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond reputeJack8602 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Which according to the sales people on the phone also moves 6 months of your UK credit history to your US credit history.
I don't think this is true, as the major credit agencies are completely separate entities from their same UK one's
Jack8602 is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:24 pm
  #11  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 47,665
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Apologies, I didn't make this clear from the beginning but I'm not living in the US, in spite of what my username suggests! I live in the UK. ....
I understood that - it was clear enough, to me at least. ..... And therefore you don't have, and can't get an SSN, therefore getting banks to give you a regular credit card is going to be an uphill struggle, to say the least! Without an SSN, as you have acknowledged, you don't have a credit history, and at this point even a dire credit history would prove that you exist in the financial system, and are living in the country (probably) legally, or at least able to do so.

At the moment the banks have no way of proving that you aren't some deadbeat from another state who is trying to hide the fact that he is a serial fraudster and delinquent on $100,000 of credit card debt who is just refusing to give his SNN.
Pulaski is online now  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:26 pm
  #12  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by Jack8602 View Post
I don't think this is true, as the major credit agencies are completely separate entities from their same UK one's
Did a bit more digging and turned up a load more info about establishing US credit in this thread on here (britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/moving-us-amex-credit-rating-question-647943/).
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:27 pm
  #13  
Lt Col (Retd)
 
Pulaski's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2001
Location: Dixie, ex UK
Posts: 47,665
Pulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond reputePulaski has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
....Here's details .... of the AMEX transferring a UK creditcard to the US. Which according to the sales people on the phone also moves 6 months of your UK credit history to your US credit history. ....
It might have some impact on AMEX records, but the Data Protection Act means that data on your Barclaycard, M&S store card, your British mortgage, and your car loan ain't going nowhere!
Originally Posted by KingwoodBrit View Post
Did a bit more digging and turned up a load more info about establishing US credit in this thread on here (britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/moving-us-amex-credit-rating-question-647943/).
That thread confirms what I am telling you - only part of your AMEX history gets copied over.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 27th 2017 at 9:30 pm.
Pulaski is online now  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:31 pm
  #14  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
At the moment the banks have no way of proving that you aren't some deadbeat from another state who is trying to hide the fact that he is a serial fraudster and delinquent on $100,000 of credit card debt who is just refusing to give his SNN.
Haha, you're stretching devils advocacy to new levels! BoA have my UK postal address proof and my UK ID proof, not to mention the traditional Brit accent.
KingwoodBrit is offline  
Old Oct 27th 2017, 9:32 pm
  #15  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Sep 2016
Location: London and Houston
Posts: 28
KingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond reputeKingwoodBrit has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Starting credit history in the US in 2017

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
It might have some impact on AMEX records, but the Data Protection Act means that data on your Barclaycard, M&S store card, your British mortgage, and your car loan ain't going nowhere!

That thread confirms what I am telling you - only part of your AMEX history gets copied over.
KingwoodBrit is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.