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How did you get your first Credit Card in the US? Any advice you can provide?

Discussion in 'Tax, Social Security and Fin' started by aarobles, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. aarobles

    aarobles New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    How did you guys get your first credit card from a US Bank after first moving from another country? Can you share any strategies on how to establish good credit in the US?

    Thank you!
  2. cafeconleche

    cafeconleche Registered Users (C)

    No idea, but you can try a prepaid credit card to start building your credit.
  3. Bramb90

    Bramb90 Member

    Ok so the first card you normally get from a US bank is a debit card, which you will only be able to use if you have money in your account. If you'd also like to get a credit card because you want to start building credit, then you can ask the same bank and they will probably issue you a "secured credit card". You'll have a low limit(normally $500) and an annual fee.
    alfasimo and Flori_ALB_NY like this.
  4. CalGreenCard

    CalGreenCard Registered Users (C)

    I've had to establish credit in the USA twice. The first time was in 1988 when I was on an F-1 student visa. I didn't lie and claim to have a GC/USC, but at the time there were some banks that would issue credit cards to students without asking their status in the country, and so that is how I got started. I'm not sure if they still do that--the student credit card programs may now all require you to be at least a GC holder. I didn't handle my credit cards very well the first time around, and ended up defaulting on a lot of debt and losing all my credit cards when I was hit hard in the dot-com crash between 2001 and 2003. Despite the fact that some of my debt got written off, the banks probably came out ahead because between 1988 and 2003 I'd paid an astronomical sum in finance charges, late fees, and overlimit fees on a "portfolio" of credit cards that were almost always maxed out.

    Despite my financial problems, I still managed to get my GC in 2005. For awhile I just used a prepaid debit card and a savings account (I had trouble getting a regular checking account because, in addition to a bad credit report, I was also listed in ChexSystems). I got a secured credit card--which unlike a debit card helps to rebuild credit as it is reported to the credit bureaus--in 2007 with a $200 deposit giving me a $200 limit. I later built that up to a $3,300 deposit and a $3,300 limit. As my bad credit began to age on my credit report, I found that more creditors were willing to issue me unsecured cards. For example, the credit union where I had my savings account eventually gave me an unsecured card with a small credit limit despite my poor credit. And the secured credit card was eventually converted to an unsecured card--that particular secured credit card program ended, I believe, so I can't recommend that particular card as a way to build/rebuild credit.

    The last negative item aged off my credit report a few months ago--a state tax lien, long since paid, which stays on one's credit report for a long time. I now have four major unsecured credit cards--some with quite high limits--plus two store cards, which is definitely all I need. This time around I'm more careful and never charge more than I can afford to pay in full each month--plus I have investments instead of spending all my income each month.
  5. winthan

    winthan Registered Users (C)

    Here it is how. first you should have money about ($1ooo to $2000) before you wanna have credit cards. When you have money, go to BoA (Bank of America), tell them you wanna open "Secure" credit card. Please make sure you say "Secure". "Secure" credit card are credit card which approved by bank to use with limited credit amounts. However, you can make yourself to have limited amount, tell them that you got 2,000 US$ for secure credit card. So they will take your money for a year. Don't worry about your $2000. They will give back "$2,000" after a year late and they will make your secure credit card to regular credit card! Because they keep your money for security deposits. You spend on card, and pay the bills, that is how you build credit history, and later you will get offers from credit cards companies.
    Farida Nelson likes this.
  6. Flori_ALB_NY

    Flori_ALB_NY Active Member

    Did the same with the secured credit card and it worked fine. After a few months of paying the balance on time, several banks will send you credit card offers mailed home so you can build up credit faster. Watch out for the number of hard inquiries you make though as they affect the total score - try to use Credit Karma for detailed guidance.
    alfasimo likes this.
  7. Ayaan Rahul

    Ayaan Rahul New Member

    Yeah this could be a pain. Had to deal with this too when i moved to the states and took something like 6 months of being a good bank customer before getting a normal card. It takes some financial management like the people above said before you get it so have some patience.
    Think there are companies popping up now saying they give credit cards without ssn or credit score ( saw something called creditstacks saying that) so maybe that's worth a try but otherwise it's just paying your bills on time and waiting.

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