New Credit Score: How long to wait to apply?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by newguy, Jun 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hi guys,

    I do hope this is the correct forum for this query.

    I have an established credit history outside of the U.S.. I'm also a U.S. citizen and have U.S. bank account: I'm just not a resident, and I have no credit history there. Well, that was the case until recently. I applied through my bank for a very basic no fees credit card, explaining that I was not a US resident currently, but that I had a SSN, etc. and that I intend to live there again eventually, and wanted a credit history.

    I thus have three questions:

    1) Would it be appropriate for me to at some point in the near future apply for mileage/points-type cards, despite my non-resident status? I assume my own bank was lenient with regards to my status, and hence approved me. Can I expect the same leniency--in terms of resident status, needing to use a family members mailing address, etc--from some bank I have no history with?

    2) Regardless of the answer to the first question, how long does it take to get ones FICO score up to a reasonably good level (enough to do a bit of churning) when they had no credit history in the country previously.

    3) Finally, when I do eventually move back to the U.S., I also intend to transfer over an AMEX card, using that "moving abroad" feature. Does anyone here either have knowledge of or prior experience with this process? And do you know whether or not your AMEX credit history moves with you when you transfer it, or does it start anew?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    1) Looks like you have no US credit history besides the credit card which you applied for through your bank. Your best bet would be to apply for a mile earning credit and see if you are approved. If you are denied, you will get an explanation of "why you were denied" and if the reason is "insufficient credit history" then you know that your credit history needs to be longer.

    If you get approved, that's great! Apply for another mile-earning card and see what happens. If you are denied, you'll know the reason.

    You will likely need to use your family members address on the application since a lot of credit card offers are for US residents only.

    2) I estimate that it takes about 6 months to 1 year to get your credit up to an acceptable level so that you will be able to get a few mile-earning cards.

    3) No experience with this.

    You also may want to open secured cards with Chase and Citicards so that when the time comes to open a miles earning card, you've got some history with the lenders.

    Good Luck!
     
    newguy likes this.
  3. Falcon View
    Original Member

    Falcon View Silver Member

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    What will hurt you more than your FICO score will be your thin credit file. Maybe you could try some cards that are aimed towards college students and others with limited credit: Capital One, Discover, and Citi might be good ones to try. Capital One has a pre-approval option that you can try that won't cost you a hard credit pull. Keep in mind your FICO score will take a hit for a few months after some new accounts. You can also go to myfico.com and pullyour credit report and score.
     
  4. Thanks for the feedback, guys. The card I was approved for, in fact, was a student credit card (as I am still a student). I hadn't thought of pre-approval cards; I assumed that such cards would look suspect on a credit file. It's good to know they can actually help.

    I just wish that the credit bureaus traded info across borders. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax all operate in both Canada and the U.S., and yet they have completely separate operations--and, if I am not mistaken, Canadian FICO scores are calculated differently. I guess this separation can be a good thing.
     
  5. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    This separation would be great - then we could apply for credit cards with mile bonuses in different countries!;)
     
  6. PedroNY
    Original Member

    PedroNY Silver Member

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    You should consider AMEX for Students (used to be called Blue, not sure if that is still the case), that was the first card I got when I was 18, I didn't have a credit history and I was approved. If you have a variety of credit on your credit report it will help, so some people recommend to get a store card from JC Penny, Macy's, Kohl's, something like that, that could help as well. If you have any student loans, that will actually increase your score as it will be a different type of credit. Even if you dont' need the loan, if you can take out a subsidized Stafford Loan for $1,000, you dont' need to pay interest while in school, government pays for it, then keep that money in the bank and pay it off 9 months after you graduate, you will have that on your credit history.

    Cheers,

    PedroNY
     
    Million Mile Secrets likes this.
  7. Hrm... I've been looking around and saw that the LAN secured visa (with US Bank) actually comes with a mileage bonus (oddly transferred to kms at, of course, 1.61). Interesting.
     
  8. Don't forget that your credit score is 100% irrelevant unless you want to buy a home or finance a car (which you shouldn't do anyway). There is nothing else you need a credit score for and in fact the term credit score is misleading as it is actually a debt score. You can earn miles with debit cards and while those may not rack up as fast as some credit card offers you will also never be in debt.

    I know of many people who started out saying that they will not use the credit cards for credit and just pay them off at the end of the month etc. but the reality of it is that all of them went into debt.

    So my suggestion is to win at life and don't go into debt.

    EDIT: Your credit history does not move with you from abroad, the AMEX offer is so that you can retain your AMEX history and retain the card or get a new card that fits your destination country but your credit score will still be non-existent even if you get a U.S. AMEX. Essentially what the move abroad does for you is give you the ability to have a card even though you do not have a credit history in that country.
     
  9. PedroNY
    Original Member

    PedroNY Silver Member

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    I would dissagree that "your credit score is 100% irrelevant unless you want to buy a home or finance a car (which you shouldn't do anyway)." part of your statement.

    If you want to get a lease from a big rental company like Equity Residential, they will require to have your credit report. If you want to be hired in certain industries, a lot of companies will take your FICO score into consideration as well. It is not purely for mortgage and auto loans, at least that is my experience.
     
  10. Thanks for the input Dude, but I definitely know how to manage my credit, and am just interested in getting started in the US, in order to get mileage bonuses. Also, I believe you're misinformed about the value of credit scores; they indicate to a lender your risk, and nowadays landlords and even employers (such as the government) look at credit scores in making decisions.

    I've had credit cards for 2+ years, just outside of the US, and have never paid a cent in interest. I generally pay the balance the day the statement comes out, as credit card debts terrifies me.
     
  11. below sea level
    Original Member

    below sea level Silver Member

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    I've done this. It's a simple process. Amex links your history between the two countries internally and reports the original "member since" date to the US credit agencies. This means that if you got an Amex card in 2005 and transferred it to the US in 2015 and had no other cards, your average age of card reported by the US agencies would be 10 years.

    Obviously your scenario is different because you have a US credit card already, but transferring an Amex card does work in your favor.
     
  12. Not to bring this off-topic, but you can't be denied employment for the lack of a credit score, you can maybe be denied for a bad score but I am not sure about that. If you don't have debt, and you don't have revolving credit, then your credit score doesn't exist, meaning there's no record of you at the scoring companies (basically that's what happens when you are new to the U.S.). The point with landlords is well taken but that's only an issue if you can't afford to pay up front.

    Even for mortgages it's not too much of an issue if you don't have a credit score at all if you can afford to put 40+ % down. The credit score is only truly important for people who don't have cash and ironically it's one of those things that will substantially slow one down in working with cash instead of credit. Cash is so much cheaper in so many ways. If you make a major purchase then you can get substantial cash discounts that you'll never see if you buy on credit so you pay more when paying with credit and then you pay interest on top of that.

    When you request a credit report from any of those they will send you a form letter saying that you have to be alive and you have to have some sort of debt/revolving credit for them to score you.

    The industry is trying to scare consumers into accepting the debt score because it's a multi-billion dollar industry especially since you can not achieve a 720+ score without being in debt.

    All I am saying is; Be informed about the true meaning of the credit score. ;)
     
  13. I'm not quite sure why this thread was moved off topic. My query is directly relevant (and specifically for) accruing miles/points. It may have become slightly tangential, re: credit scores.
     
  14. I think you're misunderstanding a few key points.

    First, yes, cash is superior in some instances. Not always, however, and you must also realize that the marginal benefits of using cash may or may not be outweighed by those of using credit (e.g., cashback, airline/hotel rewards). There's an equation to be done, and, personally, the convenience of credit and general benefits are worthwhile.

    Revolving credit and debt are quite different. You needn't have debt to have tons of usage in revolving credit.

    And, I'm sure others on this forum can back me up, but I can't even begin to see how your claim that a 720+ score requires debt is true. If you consider a mortgage debt, well then I don't think you understand the concept of equity. Granted, the housing market is not ideal at the moment, but there can still be smart purchases.

    Finally, we do live in a credit based society, and one with lots of debt. It's unrealistic to expect that the average person will never have debt; it's better to understand how to be fiscally responsible, and to maximize personal benefits from that debt. Also, even if you have a steady cash flow, liquidity problems arise; hence lines of credit.
     
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  15. below sea level
    Original Member

    below sea level Silver Member

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    True. My wife has a score of 760 with absolutely no debt.
     
  16. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    I respectfully disagree with the above sentence. A good credit score is vitally important for a number of reasons:

    1) Saving money on insurance purchases since creditors (rightly so, in my opinion) extrapolate risk profiles from credit scores
    2) Getting student loans
    3) For certain utility services
    4) To obtain loans to start a business
    5) To get LOTS of miles and points :)

    But you raise a great point, that we should be better informed of our credit scores and use it to our advantage!
     
  17. judge advocate general

    judge advocate general Silver Member

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    My credit score is terrible because I don't care... it's just a number, and I don't equate it with my self-worth. Not only is it an arbitrary number, but the credit scorers actually expect me to pay them for them to tell me how "good" I am... ha ha yeah right, not happening.
     
  18. below sea level
    Original Member

    below sea level Silver Member

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    With all of the resources on the internet now, nobody should ever have to pay to see their credit score. I know exactly what mine is and I've never paid to get it.
     
  19. judge advocate general

    judge advocate general Silver Member

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    Do you mean the "try our credit montioring service 30 days free" offers? I've done it before and then cancelled, but it was a lot of hassle.
     
  20. below sea level
    Original Member

    below sea level Silver Member

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    No, I mean actually free services like creditkarma.com
     
  21. judge advocate general

    judge advocate general Silver Member

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    thanks for the link, that was easy :)

    My score is 621, aka "poor"
     

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