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Notes on getting US credit card using Canadian credit history/score

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Hi all,

So a few notes on what we have learned in the last few months about establishing US credit when no one will loan you any money. We have been long-time users of TD Canada Trust bank in Canada with perfect credit history, mortgage, credit card, the whole nine yards. We were expecting it to be a seamless transition. Wrong. They were useless in pulling our Canadian credit scores to get a US credit card of any amount. The only thing that TD CT was good for was to transfer funds from the TD CTrust account to the TD Bank (US) account instantaneously with a phone call or online transaction (using current currency exchange rates).

After exploring all avenues of trying to use Canadian credit scores to gain US credit card to establish US credit in order to buy a home, we found a way of doing so with Bank of America although we have no bank history with them. They take into account Canadian credit scores using your SIN and past residence in Canada. There is a form called "Diplomat, Large Corporate and Canadian Client Consumer Credit Card Special Handling Form" . You can't get this form online, you must go to BoA in person. When you go to Bank of America, they most likely know what form you're talking about. Ask them for the form mentioned above. They will find it (even if they have to search their database). You will need your SIN, your new SSN, the address of your Canadian (last) residence, your current income and employer, your visa type and number, your new address and your passport and possibly your US DL to prove residence. Upon approval, you will receive a letter telling you that you're approved about 7-10 days later. A week after that you will get your credit card by mail.

We found this person's information on another site (after much searching!), see link below. We just did this and works just as he described, no questions asked, no hassle. Best of luck!

http://www.canuckabroad.com/forums/canadian-with-tn-visa-getting-a-regular-us-credit-card-vt11654.html

If someone has already shared this information, my apologies, the VJ search isn't working!

Edited by 2 canucks

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I found it SUPER easy to use RBC to get a credit card in the USA after I had a job. Good to note for new people that TD may not do it.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Hey NLR, Could you explain how you did it? It would be a great topic to sticky.

Before I moved I opened up accounts with RBC in Canada and in the USA. They get you to do a W8ben if you've never had an SSN before or aren't a US resident. When I got the USA and was employed I called the RBC credit card line in the USA and asked to open an account. I double checked they could do it off my Canadian credit which they said they could. Got a 3k limit and 9.9%. Added my SSN to my account and my credit card after that. They report to all 3 credit bureaus in the USA.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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My Canadian account is a savings account and the US one is as checking account. They may have changed it but the Canadian one was free and the US one was 2.95 a month. It's pretty basic because all I needed it for was to move money back and forth for EI and to get the credit card. I have another US account with my husband we use for every day.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Hi all, I went into Bank of America today, and I wasn't able to use the specific form to apply for a credit card for the below reasons:

1) You have to be a diplomat or a foreign national working for a consulate.

2) You have to be a non resident of the USA. I explained to the bank that I have my EAD and I'm waiting for my Green Card, but according to the bank I am now a resident of the USA and ineligible.

3) Another way to be eligible to use the special form is if your employer has some sort of special relationship with the Bank of America, which mine does not.

The bank employee tried to accommodate my request by calling multiple internal helpdesks, but they all told her that because of the above criteria, I was not eligible to use my Canadian credit score to apply for a BOA credit card.

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Hi all, I went into Bank of America today, and I wasn't able to use the specific form to apply for a credit card for the below reasons:

1) You have to be a diplomat or a foreign national working for a consulate.

2) You have to be a non resident of the USA. I explained to the bank that I have my EAD and I'm waiting for my Green Card, but according to the bank I am now a resident of the USA and ineligible.

3) Another way to be eligible to use the special form is if your employer has some sort of special relationship with the Bank of America, which mine does not.

The bank employee tried to accommodate my request by calling multiple internal helpdesks, but they all told her that because of the above criteria, I was not eligible to use my Canadian credit score to apply for a BOA credit card.

Once you live in the USA you use your SSN to open an account.

If you want to use your Canadian credit score you have to use a bank that also has banks in Canada like RBC.

A w8ben is ONLY for people who are not residents of the USA and do not have an ITIN or SSN.

You will not be able to get a credit card with your Canadian credit at Bank of America.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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I know every situation is different. All I can do is tell you what worked for us and my advice would be to try another branch. We had to guide the Bank of America rep to get what we needed. This certainly isn't something they do very often but it is definitely possible. We did not fall under any of that criteria either.

What they told you doesn't make sense - if you were to see the form, it asks for your green card or visa number and type (in our case, an IR1) per our original post. You may just need to find someone who is willing to try. Have them print it off and look at it if they have to.

Also, they were able to pull our Canadian credit score and that is exactly what they based giving us the credit card on as well as the amount (we confirmed this). At the time we applied, the USC had lived abroad for some time and has no US or Canadian credit history and the CC application was in the Canadian citizen's name after becoming a US resident and BoA knew that when we applied as we were very forthcoming.

I'm not sure what a W8BEN will do or how it would change matters as we have never dealt with that. NLR, would you be so kind as to explain further please?

Keep us updated on what you find that works!

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A w8ben form is special form to open an account or be added to an account in the USA when you do not have an SSN or ITIN. (tax number.) I used it twice. Once to be added to my husband's account, and another to open a US account WHILE in Canada.

Once you obtain one of those you would use a w9 form to add your SSN onto your account to be counted as a US resident and report to US credit bureaus.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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