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USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Old Jul 31st 2011, 3:53 pm
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Default USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Hi.. this is my first post just having found this forum =]

Hopefully someone can offer some advice..

I married my american fiancee recently and he is currently awaiting his UK visa ro be approved before joining me in the UK. The plan is to live here for a number of years with the eventual outcome to move back to the USA.

I am worried how difficult the situation may be when we move back there - I will be at zero credit and may he be also since he will have lived and worked here for years. Is it a good idea to take out an american C.c to build up credit? perhaps make a large purchase and pay it off little by little to get a good history. Has anyone else done this? It may be likely we have kids and money behind us by the time we look to do this so we dont want to be in a bad position not being able to get a mortgage or car finance etc..

Any ideas?

Many thanks
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Your husband will presumably keep his US bank accounts and at least some of his US credit cards while he is in the UK (in addition to whatever accounts he opens in the UK). It won't hurt if he uses them occasionally, but beware of the costs involved - if he leaves a balance on his US cards and pays it off over time he will be paying credit card interest rates on it (and those rates are typically high) - if he is paying off the balance using his current UK income (rather than savings that he has in the US) he may get burned by exchange rates - and if he used his US credit cards for purchases in the UK he is likely to pay quite a bit in foreign transaction fees.

How long do you intend to stay in the UK? Your husband's credit history won't disappear overnight but I guess that after more than about 5 or 6 years his credit rating will probably have declined. Even so, he will still have a credit history and it shouldn't take him long to get back to a decent score when he returns to the US. Lenders can deal with any kind of credit history - what that can't deal with is no US credit history, which is the problem faced by most new immigrants.

You would have a hard time getting a US credit card (no US credit history and no social security number) and, even if you managed to get added to one of your husband's credit cards, it is unlikely to help your credit history since, without a social security number, you pretty much don't exits as far as US credit reporting is concerned.

Last edited by md95065; Jul 31st 2011 at 5:00 pm.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Best bet is a direct from AmEx card in the UK, and then doing the global transfer to a US one when you move...that at least will give you a bump start to a credit history.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Your husband will presumably keep his US bank accounts and at least some of his US credit cards while he is in the UK (in addition to whatever accounts he opens in the UK). It won't hurt if he uses them occasionally, but beware of the costs involved - if he leaves a balance on his US cards and pays it off over time he will be paying credit card interest rates on it (and those rates are typically high) - if he is paying off the balance using his current UK income (rather than savings that he has in the US) he may get burned by exchange rates - and if he used his US credit cards for purchases in the UK he is likely to pay quite a bit in foreign transaction fees.

How long do you intend to stay in the UK? Your husband's credit history won't disappear overnight but I guess that after more than about 5 or 6 years his credit rating will probably have declined. Even so, he will still have a credit history and it shouldn't take him long to get back to a decent score when he returns to the US. Lenders can deal with any kind of credit history - what that can't deal with is no US credit history, which is the problem faced by most new immigrants.

You would have a hard time getting a US credit card (no US credit history and no social security number) and, even if you managed to get added to one of your husband's credit cards, it is unlikely to help your credit history since, without a social security number, you pretty much don't exits as far as US credit reporting is concerned.
Thank you for your reply - We are probably looking at a time frame of about 10 years or so until we move to the USA. Good points about the exchange rates.. he will be coming over with a little left on his credit card - I assume every payment made to it from here will be charged via the exchange rate. Thanks again.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Best bet is a direct from AmEx card in the UK, and then doing the global transfer to a US one when you move...that at least will give you a bump start to a credit history.
Great, I hadnt even considered that was even possible - thanks for the suggestion.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by BritmexA81 View Post
Thank you for your reply - We are probably looking at a time frame of about 10 years or so until we move to the USA. Good points about the exchange rates.. he will be coming over with a little left on his credit card - I assume every payment made to it from here will be charged via the exchange rate. Thanks again.
Paying a credit card balance in installments instead of paying it off in full will do nothing to your advantage. You just end up paying interest to the credit card company. Just wanted to make sure this bit was cleared up before any money was poured down the drain.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Paying a credit card balance in installments instead of paying it off in full will do nothing to your advantage. You just end up paying interest to the credit card company. Just wanted to make sure this bit was cleared up before any money was poured down the drain.
Is it not the case that regular payments build up a good credit history? I was under the impression that paying it off in full will not leave you in continued good credit without a paper trail of installments..
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by BritmexA81 View Post
Is it not the case that regular payments build up a good credit history? I was under the impression that paying it off in full will not leave you in continued good credit without a paper trail of installments..
I think you're mixing up credit cards with installment loans.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 6:34 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I think you're mixing up credit cards with installment loans.
I didnt realise that only applied to loans.. Thank you for your advice.
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by BritmexA81 View Post
Thank you for your reply - We are probably looking at a time frame of about 10 years or so until we move to the USA. Good points about the exchange rates.. he will be coming over with a little left on his credit card - I assume every payment made to it from here will be charged via the exchange rate. Thanks again.
We moved to the US in 2008, at which time my wife had been living outside the US for over 11 years. Her credit rating still existed. Presumably it wasn't exactly current, but it was good enough for lots of places, such as AT&T not wanting a deposit on a cell contract, etc. Not necessarily going to be the same situation in 10 years, but until recently credit ratings were still of some value after such a long time away. Beats starting with nothing!
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Old Jul 31st 2011, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by BritmexA81 View Post
We are probably looking at a time frame of about 10 years or so until we move to the USA.
Whatever else he does, he should stay long enough to become a UK citizen.

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Old Jul 31st 2011, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: USA credit card whilst in UK to build credit?

Originally Posted by BritmexA81 View Post
I didnt realise that only applied to loans.. Thank you for your advice.
Loans shouldn't be completely paid off because the account gets closed. Credit cards remain open even if there is $0 balance and the only thing that is reported to the credit bureaus is your credit limit, payment defaults or late payments, and your current balance (used to determine how much of the credit limit is being used). Therefore if you have a $10,000 credit card limit and $0 owed, your debt to credit limit ratio is 0% and you have another month of perfect credit increasing your credit score even if you don't use the card.
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