Author Topic: Credit card for immigrants?  (Read 5706 times)

kamas

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Credit card for immigrants?
« on: October 30, 2014, 06:39:00 AM »
If someone is an immigrant, as in they just came to USA, is it even possible that they can sign up and get a credit card? Obviously they would have no credit history, so is there any chance they can get a credit card?

Guizmo

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 07:06:43 AM »
Maybe a secured credit card, to build up the credit history.

Otherwise, I think it would be nearly impossible.

erae

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 07:11:39 AM »
My husband immigrated a few years ago and we were eager to get him a credit card ASAP to begin developing his credit in the States.  Once he had a social security number, he had what he needed to get a credit card, but no one was eager to give the guy with the shiny new SS# a credit card.  When they would run his number to do a credit check, it came up with "no history", which is, admittedly, a scary proposition for a lender.

Chase told us that Capital One's niche in the credit card market is high-risk (Read: first time, rebuilding credit) clients, so we went to them and got a secured card where my husband gave them a $900 deposit and Capital One gave him a $1300 limit on his card. A year later, when his credit was established, we asked for the $900 back and Capital One to transfer the card to an unsecured (normal) credit card.  They said they couldn't do it so we closed the account and got our cash out. 

At the same time we got the secured card in his name, I also added him as an user on one of my cards that had a solid payment history for 10+ years.  No one knows the exact algorithm for developing a credit score, but general consensus among the articles I read was that adding someone as an user didn't do much for his/her score.  We will never know what did it, but between the secured card in his name and adding him as an user to my card, his credit score four months later was in the high 700's.  We were shocked that he could go from "no results" to 700+ in less than six months.

Rein1987

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 12:13:26 PM »
I got my credit card from a credit union. They only need me to present them the offer letter (I was a F1 student with about $2500/mo fellowship from the university). They very kindly offer me a $2500 credit line.

I got my SSN a year later. The credit union then reported my one year credit history...

arebelspy

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 02:14:56 PM »
Maybe a secured credit card, to build up the credit history.

Otherwise, I think it would be nearly impossible.

This is what I would suggest, and the easiest way, IMO.

It's more like a debit card (you deposit money with them, and can only spend to that limit), but counts towards your credit score.

Then once you build a credit score you can get regular CCs.
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Cpa Cat

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 02:22:37 PM »
I picked up a card from Commerce Bank once I had an SSN (new immigrant). I don't think there was a way to apply for one with only an Alien Reg Number.

Random people were giving out free T-shirts on campus if you completed a credit card application. Commerce Bank approved me, but some other card declined me. That was with zero credit history.

My husband got one from Capital One with bad credit - it was a really awful card with an annual fee and everything.

Both cases were over a decade ago though - so I don't know how the credit card landscape as changed.

mnn

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 03:49:19 PM »
I moved to the US in Dec 2013 and still not able to get a credit card.  Do you guys think if I ask Chase for a joint credit card with my wife being the primary then I can get approved?  She already has a good score

arebelspy

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 04:00:18 PM »
I moved to the US in Dec 2013 and still not able to get a credit card.  Do you guys think if I ask Chase for a joint credit card with my wife being the primary then I can get approved?  She already has a good score

Can't hurt to ask.  Have you tried a secured credit card, as mentioned above?

(That's different than a regular CC.)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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flashpacker

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 04:02:49 PM »
If you've had an AMEX for at least 12 months in your home country you can do the global transfer program to get a US AMEX. We got an unsecured BoA credit card as new immigrants but only after we were initially declined and we called the reconsideration line (Google for the number). Getting approved via the recon line was easy.

klystomane

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 04:12:04 PM »
This one's specific to Canadians.

RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) offers two US USD credit cards (not to be confused with Canadian USD card) to Canadians based on their Canadian Credit Score/History.

You can use this card to build your credit score in the States and move on to greener pastures later.

In addition, the Macy's department store credit card also affects your credit score, but I believe you need to have a US or Canadian credit history in order to be approved for that one.

FrugalZony

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 04:23:54 PM »
The "Amex transfer trick" mentioned above is a well known way to get a regular cc upon arrival in the US, as long as you have the time to prepare and sign up for it several months before your relocation

Other than that most people use secured cc's from whichever bank they deal with once they move to the US.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 04:31:35 PM »
Recent immigrant temporary resident here (2012). Back then Capital One had a credit card for "newcomers". It was the only non-secured, no annual fee on the market that I could find, but it got discontinued a year ago. It's been two years and I can now get pretty much any card that tickles my fancy. Travel hacking here I come!

If you are not a permanent resident, be careful not to waste your time and precious credit inquiries applying to a card that requires you to be. Wells Fargo cards, for example, have this limitation. Most card issuers don't care and will happily give you something as long as you have an SSN, but it's something to be aware of.

I moved to the US in Dec 2013 and still not able to get a credit card.  Do you guys think if I ask Chase for a joint credit card with my wife being the primary then I can get approved?  She already has a good score
Yes, absolutely. Do that yesterday.

fireferrets

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Re: Credit card for immigrants?
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2014, 07:15:02 PM »
A secured bank card. Hopefully they have a bank account already, so they can just go to that institution.