How Can Immigrants Build Good Credit In The US?

By David Thompson

Feb 02, 2022 02:57 PM EST

How Can Immigrants Build Good Credit In The US?(Nitish Meena ) (Credit: Getty Image)

Individuals who immigrate to America are often thrilled by the many prospects this country affords them. However, these new citizens should be ready for certain challenges as well. Like any American, an immigrant will need to think about building their credit score. 

Whether you were born here or you've moved from another country, life will be a lot easier and more options will present themselves if you build and maintain a healthy credit score. In this article, we'll talk about how immigrants (or anyone) can build their credit scores once they've established themselves in the US.

1. Credit Builder Loans

Credit builder loans are a possibility for immigrants who come to America and want to start their credit-building journey. A credit builder loan is a little different than a traditional one: These loans are specifically designed to help the borrower establish their credit. They also work to build up savings since the amount borrowed sits in a bank account and accrues interest. 

Instead of getting the proceeds, the borrower makes fixed monthly payments into an account. They will get the money back at the end of the loan's term.

An immigrant interested in this option can often ask about credit builder loans at community banks and credit unions. They will need to calculate loan pay strategies, similar to a regular loan. The main difference is that the bank or credit union that grants the loan always reports on-time payments to credit bureaus. 

2. Credit Cards

Like a native-born US citizen, an immigrant can also build their credit through responsible credit card usage. Sometimes, they might find that a bank they used in their own country also operates in the US and can issue them a card. Barclays and Citibank are examples of institutions that operate internationally.

If that's not possible, an immigrant might also apply for a credit card specifically intended for those with little or no credit history. These cards have high interest rates and fewer perks. Still, as long as the account holder pays the balance on time each month, they're an excellent way for a new US citizen to start building credit.

3. Rent and Other Bills

Paying rent and other bills on time can quickly start an immigrant toward building their credit, the same as native-born US citizens. What's critical to remember is that things like rent and utility payments are not automatically reported to credit bureaus.

If you're an immigrant and now live in the US, you can ask the rent payment service or property management company to report your on-time payments. Many utility companies will also do this if you ask them to.

These rent and utility payments will start building your score. If a landlord or utility company doesn't seem eager to help you in this area, you might also research some third-party services that automate your payments. They will report all of your on-time payments to credit bureaus, though they'll usually charge a nominal fee.

New US Immigrants Can Work Toward Building Their Credit

New American citizens can immediately start building credit in this country if they set their minds to it. You might apply for a credit card with a modest limit, even if you have very little credit history. On-time payments each month will get you moving in the right direction.

You might also look into a credit builder loan at local credit unions and banks. Finally, you can see if your landlord or utility companies are willing to report your on-time payments to credit bureaus. If they're not, you can often find third-party services to do so.

All these options will steer you toward a respectable credit score. Once you've attained that, you can reinforce it with sound financial decisions. It should open up all kinds of exciting possibilities for you.  

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics