Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

New to the US - what would you do next?

Not applicable

New to the US - what would you do next?

Hi all,


This summer, I moved to the US for a tech company. And I've been trying to get used to this "credit score" thingy.


I travel quite a lot, both for work (to Europe or Australia) and personnally (inside the US or to Asia).

The idea of getting some nice rewards by money I would have been spending anyway is quite appealing! And perks like lounge access are pretty nice as I started from scratch with my status here in the US.
The ultimate goal will be able to get a chase sapphire reserver and/or an amex platinum.


I've been lurking a lot over all the forums to glance some info, and now I'd like to get some ideas from you guys.


Thanks to some agreements from my company and my salari (150k$), I managed to get a CC from a credit union (which is also my bank) with a 15k$ credit limit on Aug 1st, and have been using it daily since. I use around 3k$ every month - or 20% (should I use it less?)
I always pay it fully as soon as I get the bill.


That is currently my only card - and my only hard pull.


In January, I'll get 6 months of credit history, which should start generating a credit score right?

For now, there's nothing showing up on any website I try to use, Experian, CreditKarma, Mint... but I can get the credit report from Experian for example.

However, will this be enough to start applying to some nice rewards cards?

I guess there's unfortunately no point to even try to apply to CSR or Amex Plat straight? Will any of those issuers take into account my salary to help out here?

If not, any ideas on where should I start then?


Now, also, waiting for those two months, I was wondering if there was any point of applying to a secure credit card - like one of those not requiring any hard pull - to start reporting 2 accounts instead of 1?

Or, should I try to ask my credit union for another credit card (they have one above the current one I have, no fees the first year) to get another credit line reporting + likely an interesting limit on it, which would bring my utilization even lower? Even if that would mean a new hard pull?

Or neither of them?


Thanks for your thoughts, and to everyone contributing on other topics as those have been of great help !

Message 1 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Here's what I would do if I were you. You mention wanting rewards so I'm assuming you don't get any on your credit card right now. Wait til you have 6 months of history and then apply for some basic rewards cards such as the Quicksilver from Capital One or the Discover IT. Then once you have a year of history you should be able to get the CSR or Amex Platinum you mentioned. Also, you can check the preapproval pages on sites like Chase and see if anything pops up on there. 

Message 2 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

So, with no credit, your CU gave you a $15,000 credit line? Proof that money talks in this country....smh. 


I believe you will need to wait a while for either Chase or Amex; however, once your CU card begins reporting and you have a score, you should be fine to get an Amex charge card. The underwriting for the charge cards are fairly easy-I got one at age 20 and only a year of credit. Of course that was 18 years ago. 


Once you have a score in January, you could always try both Chase and Amex's pre-approval sites to see what happens; but I would guess that you are at least 9-12 months away from being able to get a CSP. Amex in January/February, but that should tide you over.


If you have a $15,000 CU card and a good chance at an Amex charge card, I wouldn't waste your time with a secured card to be honest. You may also want to look into getting an installment loan (unless you already have a car loan. Check out some of the threads here about the Alliant Credit Union secured personal loan-its a great trick and will help with your FICO score. Again, if you have a car loan already then don't bother with this.

Message 3 of 20
Established Contributor

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

If you still have ties with your home country and AmEx has a presence there, you can look into their Global Transfer Program. In essence, if you hold an AmEx (almost) anywhere in the world, AmEx will (with very few country-specific exceptions) open a new card for you in a new country you are moving to based on your history with them in the previous country. For moving to the US, AmEx requires that you have a 3-month history with them in your old country. Now if you still maintain some sort of presence in your old country and you can obtain a reasonably prime credit line with AmEx there, it may be worth it to open a new CC in your home country, put some spend on it, wait at least 3 months, then apply for an AmEx card in the US using the Global Transfer Program. Then they will look at both your US credit report and your history with them in your home country when deciding your application. 


This is by no means guaranteed to work and the big caveats are that you need to still have substantial ties in your home country (financial, physical address, residency, etc.) and your credit profile there should be stronger than your credit profile in the US. If those conditions don't apply then this method is not worth it. If you think you can give this a try, it may be a shortcut to getting your foot in the door with AmEx and depending on your credit status in your home country, you may be able to apply for the AmEx Plat straightaway. 

Message 4 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Wow. Thanks all, that's awesome and helpful info !!


Bottomline seems like wait 'til a credit score shows, have a look at the pre-approved offers and report back here Smiley Happy


CO_NATIVE - Looks like the Alliant Secured Credit is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for !
I'll extensively read the thread and do that Smiley Very Happy
I don't have a car loan or anything, and didn't plan on getting any in the next couple year anyway.


"So, with no credit, your CU gave you a $15,000 credit line? Proof that money talks in this country....smh. "

=> Yeah, it's a CU really close to my company (big tech company) and everyone moving for the company gets referred really nicely. Account opened before getting to the US etc...


ALK11 - I do get some basic rewards, but not any perk, which is the main thing I am looking right now.
Sorry for the wording, was mainly saying that coming from Europe, getting rewards for money I'd be spending anyway is awesome.


SBR249 - Hah. I never thought of that one, I guess it's the kind of thing I could have done couple of months back, but too late now, no tie anymore in Ireland...



Message 5 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Good luck. Please stop by and let us know how things go.

Message 6 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Stopping by to update here Smiley Happy


Today, my CC reported for the sixth time. I had hoped for that to start showing a score.

Unfortunately, my account still shows 5 months old - I guess that given it was opened on Aug 1st, I need to wait for Feb 1st for it to actually show 6 months, and get a credit score...


I did open an SSL with Alliant just before the technique was shut down, and it will also report for first time this month with a <9% util.


Still no other website giving free credit checks (Mint, CreditKarma etc...) is able to find me.

I am using Experian's trial - which at least the fact I see all my stuff there but no credit score comforts me in the fact that I "exist" in the credit world.

Message 7 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Your "name" caught my eyes...I'm guessing not many people here will know what it means


Things have really changed but you'll be just fine with a bit more patience.  When I moved to the US in the mid-80s to work for the U.N., banks like Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover, Chase, etc were literally throwing credit at me.  


As an aside, my identical twin brother lives in Dublin.  He's been there since the early 80s when he attended Trinity College Dublin.  Now his son is a student there and represents Trinity in rowing.

Message 8 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Yay ! As expected, first credit score showed up today ! Exactly 6 months after of the date opened of the card from the credit reports


A nice EX 750 Smiley Happy

With a reaaaaally thin credit file, sure.

I am waiting for the loan to show - which should be within the next couple of days, as Alliant reports on the last day of the month - and then I'll burn a 3-bureau pull and see how it looks like on the others.


I double checked some tools like Amex pre-qualified, no charge card anywhere... Sad times I guess Smiley Sad


Message 9 of 20
Not applicable

Re: New to the US - what would you do next?

Congratulations on your progress so far; it wouldn't be much longer before you start getting prequalifications and offers.  It just depends on how aggressive the banks/lenders are in scanning the files from the credit reporting agencies for prospective customers.  


Alliant reports on the last day of the month so its just a matter of waiting for the CRAs to update their records.  If your Experian trial has expired I would suggest getting the $1 trial from  Just make sure you call in and cancel the trial in the first 7 days.  I'm guessing that by Saturday (Feb 3) the CRAs should all have updated to reflect the Alliant SSL so you should see approx. a 30 points increase in your scores to about 780.  Just make sure to time the start of the trial correctly since you can't pull scores everyday as you would with Experian. You can only do updates from all three credit bureaus on the first and seventh day of the CCT trial.


If I were in your position I would concentrate on credit cards from the large national lenders like Citi, Chase, Bank of America, American Express and Discover first.  Since it seems you want travel rewards primarily, I would apply to Amex and Chase for their travel related cards.  I'm surprised that your employer hasn't gotten an Amex corporate card for you since you travel for work.  Anyway, I see no reason why you wouldn't qualify for the Premium Rewards Gold with your potential FICO scores and income.  If no prequalification shows up; do a cold application anyway.  It will be a soft pull if you are turned down so there would be no harm done.


Then I would go after the Chase Sapphire Preferred and one of the Freedom cards.  Chase allows you to make two applications on the same day and they will use the same credit pull so it will only be one hard pull against your credit.  The CapitalOne Venture card would also be a viable option and CapitalOne tends to approve thin credit files more frequently than the other major lenders.


Keep us updated and good luck.

Message 10 of 20
Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party advertisers from whom FICO receives compensation.