Moving abroad? Your credit history might not follow

Building credit in another countryWhen you move to a new country, the financial institutions there require that you start building your credit from scratch. You would think that when you apply for a credit card or a line of credit with a bank in your new country, it would want to know everything it can about you. But when you emigrate, the financial institutions expect you to start from scratch, no matter how good a credit history you had in your former country.

While banks will share credit histories and other financial information internationally on rare occasions (such as when a large business moves to a new country), the average person is just plain out of luck. There's nothing else for you to do but to start rebuilding your credit score. It is as if you never had successfully taken out a loan, mortgage or credit cards before. Therefore, as soon as you arrive in your new country, you should begin the process of building a new credit history. Here's what you should do:

1. Immediately apply for a department store credit card. These are the easiest credit cards to obtain without a credit history. If you have moved to attend university, apply for a student credit card. Then be sure to make some purchases each month to begin the credit history evaluation process. In her article, "Building a Good Credit Score By Charging Only What You Can Afford," LaToya Irby says, "Before you swipe that card, consider how much you can afford to charge. It will have an effect on your wallet and your credit score."

2. Stop using your old credit cards. Cut up those old credit cards from your former country as soon as possible so that all the money you spend is applied toward your new credit rating. This will speed up the process of establishing good credit in your new country. In "Building or Repairing Your Credit Rating for a Better Future," drvoyageur.com adds, "Once you have your first card, it is absolutely essential to pay on time."

After six months of paying on time and staying within your credit limit with your department store or student credit card, you should have enough of a credit history to qualify for a major credit card in your new country.

If you ensure that you purchase only what you can afford and always pay on time, you will earn the trust of your new homeland's financial institutions. In another six months, apply for a line of credit or take out a loan. In no time at all, you will have regained the financial status you once enjoyed in your former country by proving that you are a responsible individual.

Written by Christopher Ibotrain.

Published June 22, 2009

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