How Do International Students Get Credit Score in the US?
Studying in the United States as an international student comes with numerous challenges, including establishing a credit history. A credit score is a crucial factor that determines your eligibility for loans, credit cards, and even housing rentals. However, for international students who have just arrived in the US, building credit can be perplexing. This article aims to guide international students on how to obtain a credit score while studying in the US.
1. How can international students start building credit?
To start building credit, international students can apply for a secured credit card. These cards require a cash deposit as collateral, which typically serves as the credit limit. By using the secured credit card responsibly and making regular payments, students can establish a credit history over time.
2. Can international students qualify for a traditional credit card?
Qualifying for a traditional credit card without a credit history or a Social Security Number (SSN) can be challenging. However, some credit card companies offer student credit cards specifically designed for international students. These cards may have lower credit limits and higher interest rates, but they can be a stepping stone to building credit.
3. Can students use their home country’s credit history in the US?
Unfortunately, credit history from a student’s home country generally cannot be transferred or used in the US. Each country has its own credit reporting system, and US lenders typically do not consider foreign credit history when assessing creditworthiness.
4. How long does it take to establish a credit score?
It usually takes around six months of credit activity to generate a credit score. During this period, it’s important to make payments on time and maintain a low credit utilization ratio. Consistency in responsible credit usage will help build a positive credit history.
5. Can international students get a loan without a credit score?
Getting a loan without a credit score can be difficult, as lenders rely on credit history to assess the borrower’s risk. However, some lenders may consider alternative factors, such as income or a cosigner, to evaluate loan applications from international students.
6. How can international students build credit beyond credit cards?
In addition to credit cards, international students can also build credit through other means. For instance, they can apply for a small personal loan or a student loan. Making regular payments on these loans will contribute to establishing a positive credit history.
7. Should international students open multiple credit accounts to build credit faster?
While it may seem tempting to open multiple credit accounts to expedite credit building, it is generally not advisable. Opening too many accounts within a short period can negatively impact credit scores and give the impression of being credit-dependent. It’s better to focus on maintaining a responsible credit usage pattern with one or two accounts.
In conclusion, international students can build credit in the US by starting with secured or student credit cards, making regular payments, and keeping a low credit utilization ratio. Building credit takes time and consistency but is essential for future financial endeavors. It is important for international students to be aware of their credit score and understand how it can impact their ability to obtain loans and other financial services in the US.