How to Build Your Credit Score in the US as a New Immigrant.
If you are planning to move to the United States, an important thing you'll need to do upon arriving there is build your credit score. Credit is very important in the United States, and having a good credit score improves your access to financial opportunities like owning a mortgage, taking a big loan, etc.
In this guide, we explain what a credit score is and what you'll need to do to build your credit score as a new immigrant to the US.
What is a Credit Score?
A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that indicates how creditworthy an individual is. It is usually calculated by the three biggest credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It's what lenders and financial institutions use to assess how likely it is that a person would repay their debt before issuing them a loan.
An individual's credit score is usually based on their credit history, payment history, and current debts. The higher a person's score is, the more creditworthy they are.
Below is a breakdown of credit score ranges:
Excellent: 720 - 850
Good: 690 - 719
Fair: 630 - 689
Bad: 300 - 629
How to Build a Credit Score
Firstly, there is no default credit score everyone starts from. You begin to build a credit score when you open a line of credit, like a credit card or apply for a loan. Here are some tips to help you build a good credit score:
Apply for a credit card.
The first step is to apply for a line of credit, like a credit card. Secured credit cards, which require a cash deposit as collateral, can be a good starting point when building credit from scratch.
Pay bills promptly.
Your payment history is a critical factor in determining your credit score. Timely payments signal reliability and financial responsibility to lenders and credit bureaus so make it a priority to pay all bills on time, including credit card balances, loans, and utilities.
Be cautious with new credit applications.
Every time you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Limit the number of new credit applications, particularly within a short time frame. Instead, focus on building a strong credit history with your existing accounts and only pursue new credit when necessary.
Monitor and protect your credit.
Regularly review your credit reports to ensure accuracy and detect any potential errors. Consider using credit monitoring services to stay vigilant against identity theft and fraudulent activities that could harm your credit.
Having a good credit score is very beneficial when you need to make big purchases like buying a car or a house. Not only are banks and lenders much more likely to approve your application, but they will usually offer a much better interest rate as well.
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