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June 21st 2023

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

Newcomers to the United States can use their foreign credit history to apply for U.S. credit cards, loans, housing and more—rather than needing to start all over.

Nova Credit is a cross-border credit bureau that allows newcomers to apply for U.S. credit cards, phone plans, and loans using their foreign credit history.

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Whether you’re moving to the United States to work, study, or join family, you will need a credit history to access many essential services. This article explains how recent immigrants from certain countries can use their foreign credit history to apply for several products in the U.S.—rather than needing to wait to build a U.S. credit history. 

Credit history used to stop at the border—until now

Many of the essential tasks of setting up your new life in the U.S.—getting a credit card, leasing an apartment, and even getting a cell phone plan— require a credit history.

Yet in the past, whenever someone moved to the United States from abroad, they could not “bring” their foreign credit history or foreign credit score with them. Despite often having an extensive credit history and high credit score in their home country, these newcomers would need to spend months or even years building a new U.S. credit history back to the same level. 

To make things more difficult, they would need to be approved for U.S. credit products and show that they could responsibly manage credit over time in order to start building this new U.S. credit history. You need credit to get credit, yet you lose your foreign credit score when you arrive.

This leaves many wondering: how do you transfer credit from another country to the U.S.?

U.S. banks and credit bureaus previously didn’t have the technology to interpret different credit scoring models from systems from around the world—until now.

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

The good news: Nova Credit has built technology to translate foreign credit data from countries around the world into a 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, phone plans, auto loans and other credit products by using their foreign credit history—rather than starting from scratch. Once you use your foreign credit history to get a credit card or other credit product in the U.S., you can start to build a U.S. credit history by responsibly managing those accounts. 

Currently, Nova Credit serves individuals coming from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.

Have you had a credit card or loan in one of those countries? If so, you may have a foreign credit history that you can put to work in the U.S.

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. 

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

Nova Credit's partners accept foreign credit history and incorporate Nova Credit directly into their application process. These partners include American Express, Verizon, and other lenders.

Interacting with Nova Credit’s technology is simple. Within a partner’s credit application, you will be directed to NovaConnect, an interface with your home country credit bureau, where you can find, access, and share your foreign credit report directly with the lender.

Nova Credit then works to translate and share your foreign credit data with our partners in support of your application—in order to get you the credit you’ve earned. Nova Credit is free for applicants because our business partners pay for the service!

Browse all supported partner products and apply online today!

Building credit in the U.S. with credit products

Once approved for your first U.S. credit products, you should manage those products responsibly to show a track record of good credit behavior. For instance, once you get your first U.S. credit card, you should make consistent on-time monthly payments and keep your credit utilization low. 

All of Nova Credit's lending partners will report this credit performance to at least one of these credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Over time, you will build your U.S. credit history, improve your credit score, and be able to apply for a wider variety of products such as premium credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and more.

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.

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.

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