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US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

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eleewhm
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US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby eleewhm » Sat, 31 Jul 2010 11:20 am

hi all US expats... i cant find a thread to help me on this so i am starting a new one...

I am moving from Singapore to the States soon sometime next year Aug 2011 for a US based job. A question on my mind is when i arrive there , my credit score is basically zero..

Questions
1) are there any banks here which i can have a account and have my credit scores transfered over and be considered.. i heard of HSBC.. but what sort of accounts?
2) how about if i open a online US account does that count?

really need the experts to comment

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Postby Splatted » Sat, 31 Jul 2010 11:08 pm

I could be wrong, but I don't think you need a credit score to open a checking account.

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Postby carteki » Mon, 02 Aug 2010 12:02 pm

If you qualify for the HSBC Premier Account one of the perks that they offer is that your credit score from your previous experience with them will apply in your new country. I don't know how this works when taking scores from external credit rating agencies.
It really depends what you want - getting credit in Singapore after a couple of months here is not difficult if you're earning a regular salary (not sure what the credit card minimums are). Your employer can also assist in recommending a bank to open an account with and there are threads in this forum on which bank. I haven't come across unsecured overdrafts for individuals (but then I haven't looked too hard).

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Postby longstebe » Mon, 06 Sep 2010 3:11 pm

You don't need to have a credit score to open a checking account.

Are you a US citizen? Have you held a SSN before?

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby eleewhm » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 3:17 am

ok i have been here for 3 yrs now... and no credit score needed.. when i took up a mortgage loan for a house i purchased

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 8:39 am

eleewhm wrote:ok i have been here for 3 yrs now... and no credit score needed.. when i took up a mortgage loan for a house i purchased


Correct, the lenders here do their own internal analysis although there is a pretty much useless Singapore Credit Reporting Bureau as well.
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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby JR8 » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 9:45 am

eleewhm wrote:ok i have been here for 3 yrs now... and no credit score needed.. when i took up a mortgage loan for a house i purchased


@PNG - I believe eleewhm is referring to the US rather than SG.

My own experience of relo'ing to the States (long ago, prior to the advent of discussion fora such as this one) was that back home I had an A1 credit rating, but as a new arrival in the US I financially simply didn't exist. I could open a bank account but getting anything like a credit card or store charge card was like... like I might as well have been a feckless delinquent teenager. The kicker is (in the American parlance :) ) that in the US having a credit card is pretty much required to live any kind of normal adult life. Just one example: You couldn't hire a car without one, so suddenly those plans for a long weekend break driving around in Florida turned into something of an organisational minefield. I expect things have evolved since those times.

It's ironic that for some people taking/carrying credit (beyond a mortgage and maybe car loan) was not something to be hugely proud of. The feeling being that you were spending beyond your means. Whereas in the US it was (IME) something that positively established that you could deal with debt/financing. [I don't really have an opinion either way; the consumer mentality is simply at variance, and Americans seem to have *something* of a permanently positive outlook that tomorrow will only be better, and that they will only be wealthier].

Anyway, things have moved on these days. Opening an account with a major global bank (HSBC, Citibank...) in your home jurisdiction, and establishing some form of established responsible funding/spending pattern before you relo would potentially probably save a lot of a people some anguish.


- 'No credit scoring needed to get a mortgage?' Now, if true, THAT surprises me greatly! I mean would you lend someone perhaps 4* their salary and know nothing about their financial standing?
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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:09 am

I would imagine a secured loan (mortgage) would be a lot easier to obtain than an unsecured credit card where there is not collateral offered, e.g., title to the house. Hire purchase is usually easier to obtain than a credit card as well, for the same reason.

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:32 am

I got credit cards from UOB, then OCBC via an Ikea credit financing deal, then through yet another bank when I financed my hearing aids. No one asked for any credit history... just my Singapore particulars.

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby JR8 » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:52 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I would imagine a secured loan (mortgage) would be a lot easier to obtain than an unsecured credit card where there is not collateral offered, e.g., title to the house. Hire purchase is usually easier to obtain than a credit card as well, for the same reason.


Well, apparently.

Though I would have thought the margin between say a 30 year mortgage on 4%, and a beginner's credit card on maybe 20% would have covered for the risk differential. My first credit card had to paid off in full each month, so in some ways it was more of a charge card, giving intra-month credit.

HP isn't really something I've come across recently. I remember my parents buying a TV on HP back in the 70s, those were far harder times and 'buying on tick' as it was called was more common. I believe HP (in the UK) might now only become an option at things like the big sofa and bed warehouses. The kind of companies with TV ads promising 'Nothing to pay until...', or 'No money down!'.

That said you could probably equate leasing a car to HP, the aims and means seem similar.

@SE. Maybe having 'expat' employment status is a proxy for a credit check/review? I mean if the government has thoroughly vetted you, what's to double-check lah :)
What I found in the US was initially it was quite a struggle to have any financial status and credit at all, but even just one year in, I was then being bombarded with 'grown up' credit/charge card offers. So the shift was very striking, from zero, to more than I could ever want. Hopefully what with progress and globalisation, recognition of credit standing is now simpler when moving abroad.
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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby taxico » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 6:13 pm

eleewhm wrote:hi all US expats... i cant find a thread to help me on this so i am starting a new one...

I am moving from Singapore to the States soon sometime next year Aug 2011 for a US based job. A question on my mind is when i arrive there , my credit score is basically zero..

Questions
1) are there any banks here which i can have a account and have my credit scores transfered over and be considered.. i heard of HSBC.. but what sort of accounts?
2) how about if i open a online US account does that count?

really need the experts to comment


lots of things you can do, but nothing is really instant. i think that's what you want.

my wife some of the stuff stated below, and it works good.

google how to build credit score expatriate

http://expatriates.stackexchange.com/qu ... in-the-usa

Get a secured credit card with a decent limit. Don't be tempted to deposit a very low amount in the secured savings account because your credit limit on the card will be too low. The higher your credit limit, the higher your credit score will be. $5000 or so would be a good start.

Lease a car with a company like Intl Autosource. They specialize in serving foreign nationals without a credit history. They also report all your payments to the credit bureaus.

Don't apply for loans, unsecured credit cards or store cards in the first 6 months, even if you get so-called "pre-approved offers" in the mail. You will be denied and that will affect your credit score. Also, if you're ever offered a "savings card" in a store and they want your social security number: politely decline.

Don't ever give your social security number unless it's absolutely necessary. For example, when you sign up for a cellular plan with AT&T, they'll ask your SSN and run a credit check. That will affect your score. Simply get a prepaid plan for the first 6 months.

In stores you will regularly be offered a discount if you sign up for a store card. Don't. They will ask your SSN and run a credit check, impacting your credit score.

Even if you plan to pay off your credit card every month, try to make a payment before the billing cycle ends because the bank will report the balance to the credit bureaus. You should keep the reported balance below 30% of the credit limit on your card.

Get an account at creditkarma.com to check on your progress. It's free. The only problem with creditkarma.com is that they only use data from TransUnion. If you want to track your credit reports and scores from the other 2 agencies (Equifax and Experian) you should get an account with them (not free!)

Pay all your bills on time. Doing that will not build credit history but it will make sure there's no negative information on your credit report.

If you do all of that, you should have a decent score after about 6 months. At that stage you may consider applying for unsecured credit cards.

Even if you are able to get one or more unsecured credit cards later on, it may not be a bad idea to hang on to it for at least six months. Although FICO sources claim that a closed account still counts to determine your credit history length, there's conflicting information on the different credit bureau websites. Even if it doesn't influence your credit history length, keeping the account open does help to keep your total available credit at a higher level, decreasing your credit utilization and so it helps your score.

http://expatriates.stackexchange.com/qu ... in-the-usa
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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby eleewhm » Wed, 03 Dec 2014 8:58 pm

thanks for the suggestion folks... my credit score currently i know is 770... so i am on good scale...
paid off the mortgage on my truck last month 4K$.. after being on loan 6K$ for a yr...
took a 6K loan so that i can accumulate pts ... timely payment helps... now i am debt free on all my 3 vehicles at home..

i have lived here since 2011 Jul and have only the bank issued debit card off my checking account.. i see no pt in having many cards ,... just one is enough...

and till today .. we have been using a prepaid card via At&T for the last 3 yrs... so makes no sense for us to get a 2yr contract plan... :)

only mortgage ( big ticket item is my house ) which is down to 12X,XXX (Loaned 160K) ... i should be able to pay off in next 7 yrs...as monthly i am paying more than the monthly mortgage fee... so that i can save paying interest in the long run...

frankly after moving to the US .. i could put my diy skills to good use... i just finished my whole basement with a cost of less than 5K ... took me 6 months tot... but i am happy with the outcome of it... even car maintenance i do it myself.. brake work.. replacing brake rotor and pads... replacing whole hydraulic brake line etc... only the 3K miles Oil change i do it at the store.. as i have no way of dumping the used engine oil...

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby RobSg » Sun, 07 Dec 2014 12:21 am

I returned to the US from Singapore last year after 25 years. However, before I returned, I visited the US one year before for about 5 months to spend time with my 92 year old father, who has since passed on. While spending time with him, I tried to buy a car and get a car loan. I could not. I had no credit score or record of any purchase for 25 years. I tried to get credit cards, and no luck, since I lacked a credit history.

Luckily I had my 2 American Express cards from Singapore. It's the only card that can be transferred over (no questions asked) to a comparable US based American Express card, even with no credit history in the US. I immediately got two US American Express cards in addition to my Singapore American Express cards. I then proceeded to use them, and after a couple months got a VISA and Mastercard, using the meager credit history from the American Express cards.

After a year back in the states, my FICO score is about 820. I just pay off my cards immediately, and it's amazing how you can go from no credit score to a rather respectable on.

I hope you have an American Express card. It allowed me to start a credit history.

Rob

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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby Brah » Sun, 07 Dec 2014 9:11 am

Thanks for this Rob, as someone considering the same kind of thing. It's actually kinda scary.

So I'm guessing from what you wrote (I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if this is in there somewhere) that you didn't maintain a US credit card while living overseas.

In addition to my Singapore cards, I have the same US-based Amex and other US-based major card from when I lived there, and use them perhaps once a year or less, always pay them off immediately.

I have not checked my credit rating but it should be in order.

Edit: From this am thinking to get a Singapore Amex just in case, my DBS Visa is basically useless for benefits anyway.
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Re: US Credit Score : Moving from Singapore to the US

Postby Mi Amigo » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 7:21 pm

This is an interesting thread and I find it surprising that in this day and age there is still a lot of insularity when it comes to obtaining credit cards in the US (and probably in other countries too). I faced a similar problem when we moved to the US from Europe around two decades ago; despite having had various bank accounts and cards (including Amex) for many years, I found it initially impossible to even open a bank account, let alone get a credit card. Fortunately one of the sponsors of the project I was working on was a US bank and after I mentioned my problem to the head of finance she made a quick call to her contact at the bank. A day later I was sitting in their office and being presented with a cheque book, gold cards, etc. Without that contact it would have been a rather tedious process.

It's nice to know that Amex are now apparently more enlightened in this area, so that's a good tip for anyone planning to relocate to the US - obtain and use an Amex card where you are now (even if you don't really need one) and don't cancel it when you leave Singapore.

I still have my SG Amex card and haven't felt the need to apply for a 'local' one where I now am (Europe). I may do that, just to see if this apparent 'joined up thinking' on Amex's part works here too.
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