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April 27th 2020

How to use your foreign credit report to get credit in the U.S.

Newcomers to the United States used to have to build credit from scratch — now they can transfer their foreign credit report to the U.S. to apply for credit cards, loans, housing and more.

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Whether you’re moving credit from Australia to America, or transferring credit from any other country to the USA, we can explain how to get US credit as a foreigner.

Credit history used to stop at the border—until now

It used to be that a newcomer to the United States couldn’t “bring” their foreign credit report or foreign credit score with them. Even someone with extensive foreign credit in their home country would have to take on the onerous task of building her U.S. credit history back to its previous levels from scratch, which can take as long as five years. This leaves many wondering: how do you transfer credit from another country to the USA?

The implications for newcomers in the U.S. are enormous: even the most basic tasks such as how to get a US credit card as a foreigner, getting a credit card, leasing an apartment, and getting a cell phone plan or student loan all require a U.S. credit score. Which means that you need credit to get credit, yet you lose your foreign credit score when you arrive.

Why? The underlying issue is that banks and credit bureaus previously didn’t have the technology to interpret different credit scoring models from systems from around the world. So when you try to transfer your credit to the US, it can seem impossible.

New: Use your foreign credit report to apply for U.S. credit cards and more

Here’s the good news: Nova Credit has built technology to translate foreign credit data from countries like Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, the UK and more into the U.S.-equivalent score that newcomers can share with U.S. companies when they apply for credit products here.

This means that newcomers to the U.S. can now apply for credit cards, apartments, loans and other credit products by using their foreign credit history. Once you use your foreign credit history to get a credit card or other credit product here, you can start to build a U.S. score. We can even show you how to get a US credit card from overseas and how to get a US credit card from abroad.

Do you have an foreign credit score? If so, find the best credit cards for you today:

Apply for an American Express ® Personal Card using your foreign credit history

Nova Credit has partnered with American Express to help newcomers to the U.S. to use their foreign credit history from Australia, Canada, India, Mexico and the UK to apply for Personal Cards.

Some of our partners, such as Petal, are not yet using Nova Credit’s data in their credit card application process. However, these partners still offer credit options for the new-to-U.S. credit segment, which is why we’ve listed them for newcomers from countries where we cannot yet translate your foreign credit history. These are companies that can be part of how you get a US credit card as a foreigner. 

How to apply for credit cards as a foreigner using Nova Credit

Nova Credit's partners accept foreign credit history and incorporate Nova Credit directly into their application process. Interacting with Nova Credit’s technology is simple. Within the application, you will be directed to Nova Connect, an interface where you can access your foreign credit report in the credit bureau from your prior home country. Nova Credit then takes on the task of translating and transferring your foreign credit data to businesses to get you the credit you’ve earned. Nova Credit is free to applicants when applying for credit cards because our business partners pay for the service!

What happens once you get approved for your first U.S. credit card

After you obtain your first U.S. credit line as a foreigner, your use of the card will typically start building a credit history at one or more of the three major U.S. bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All of Nova Credit's lending partners will report your credit performance to at least one of these credit bureaus. Over time you can build your U.S. credit score and apply for a wider variety of products to keep building your score.

Nova Credit helps you arrive and thrive

Lack of a domestic credit history keeps millions of newcomers from realizing their dreams. Starting a new life can be very burdensome without access to credit cards, loans, mortgages, leases, phone contracts and more. We are founded by newcomers, for newcomers and provide a solution that enables you to get the credit products that you need and deserve to set up your life in the U.S.

Recently moved to the U.S.?

Put your foreign credit score to work in the United States

Check if you're eligible to use your foreign credit history to apply for a U.S. credit card, even without an SSN.

More from Nova Credit:

Credit Cards for No Credit

Credit Cards for International Students

Credit Cards Without SSN

Credit Cards to Build Credit

How to Build Credit

How to use your foreign credit history to get credit in the U.S.