Consumer FAQ

A collection of frequently asked questions by our consumers

What is your business model? How do you get paid?

Our service is usually free for expats and immigrants! We partner with banks and property managers to help them serve you. We charge them to help you access your international reports (with your consent).

I was told immigrants can’t get a card or start building history. How does Nova work?

Previously banks were not able to access your credit history abroad, so you were effectively starting from scratch when you moved to the US. Now Nova Credit allows expats and immigrants from Canada, the UK, Australia, India, and Mexico to bring in their previous history when applying for some financial products.

Who are your partners?

Building a new infrastructure for global financial identity requires two types of partnerships. On the supply side for data, we work with all of the leading bureaus around the world: Experian, Equifax, Transunion, CRIF, Creditinfo, and others. On the demand side, we partner with a wide range of companies that want to serve expats and immigrants. For example, we help banks, property managers, and fintech companies offer their services to expats and immigrants. And you sit in the middle!

Is my financial information safe using Nova?

We take compliance and information security very seriously. We know that your trust is a big responsibility, so we hold ourselves to the most rigorous standards when it comes to your data. We incorporate security best practices into all aspects of our business and orient our practices to industry standards in cloud security, including SOC 2 and ISO 27001. Safeguards include company-wide training, regular monitoring and testing of our security controls, frequent penetration testing and scanning, vulnerability management, restricted access to confidential information and encryption at rest and in transit.

If I don’t have a Social Security Number, will I start building credit history even if I’m approved for a credit card?

Yes! Though an identifier like SSN helps establish a file, it’s not strictly necessary. If you don’t have your SSN yet, you can still begin building credit history with the other details on your application.

How do I know if I’ve built credit history before?

If you have a financial product (e.g., credit card, student loan, mortgage, etc.) with a large financial institution, then you likely have credit history. Even if you haven’t had one of these products, you might still have credit history. Most bureaus will list accounts on which you are an “authorized user” on your credit file as well. What this means is that if your parents or your partner added you on their account, then you may have credit history!

How does my Nova credit report get used?

Your Nova credit report gets used as one of many inputs to your loan or apartment application. By attaching your overseas credit file to your application, you provide an additional data source that can bolster your application. It is up to your lender or landlord to decide how she wants to use your data.

Will my overseas credit report data appear on my US credit report?

Nova's customers use the data in lieu of or to supplement information that appears on a U.S. credit report. At this time, the data in your Nova credit report does not transfer to or appear on your U.S. credit report. However, any U.S. credit products you apply for and receive will!

When Nova pulls my file on my behalf abroad, will it be a hard pull or a soft pull?

Depends on the country. Our bureau partners in Mexico and the UK register a hard pull (meaning the inquiry will remain on the credit report abroad). In India, Australia and Canada, the inquiry is a soft pull.

Something’s wrong with my data - what do I do?

Please get in touch with us, explaining the nature of the error. Nova works hard to ensure that our data is of the highest quality. If you spot any errors in your file, please visit our Disputes page.

I was applying for a loan or an apartment and got redirected to Nova. What is this?

Nova Credit is a credit bureau. We provide lenders and landlords with overseas credit data. At your discretion, we share your credit profile from a foreign country with US-based entities.

Why do U.S.-based lenders or landlords want my overseas credit data?

Many people from abroad have trouble getting loans or renting apartments when they first arrive in the US because they have no US credit history. Nova Credit changes this by providing lenders and landlords with overseas credit data they can use to accurately evaluate immigrant customers.

How does Nova work with my lender/landlord?

Nova serves as a data source to your lender or landlord. When you make a request, they securely access your available credit data from our systems, just like they normally do with US credit reports.

Does Nova have data about me?

If you’ve lived outside the US, you could have an overseas financial history available through Nova. Whether you’re an immigrant to the US, returning expat, or an overseas resident, if you’ve built credit abroad, we’re here to help. Typically, lenders or landlords use our data to help people who have recently moved to the US and haven’t had the chance to build their credit profile here. Nova currently provides data from credit bureaus in India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia, but we’re rapidly adding more so feel free to check back with us every couple of months.

How do I know if my lender/landlord accepts Nova data?

Ask them! And if they don’t yet, feel free to drop us a note on info@neednova.com so we can reach out to them to them on your behalf.