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How did you establish credit?

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I've lived in the U.S. now (all together, including university) almost 6 years. I've had a credit card the entire time, but have always paid it off in time. My husband and I were looking at purchasing a home in the next year or two and now I've been told I have absolutely no credit. What? Turns out, if you don't "go into debt" with a credit card, it doesn't count!

So how did you establish credit here?


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Many many topics on this, just saying,lol. Never paid a bill late here, always pay our credit cards in full each month and have excellent credit.


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Have you every checked your credit report?

It is possible that your credit card was never reported to the credit bureau?

If you never contacted the bank that issued your card and provided them with your social security number when you got it, the card's history was never associated with you. I don't know enough about it, though, to know if your card's past history will link back up with you if you tell them about it now, or if your history starts at the time of notification.


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First of all, it's not true that if you don't go in to debt with your credit card, you do not establish a credit rating (how did you jump to that conclusion?? :) ).

Pauley asks a good question, did you give them your social security number (the card issuer)?

Someone else mentioned - have you seen (personally requested) your credit report?

And - do you know if the company that issued the credit report reports to the bureaus?

Once you have ruled out item 1 - you should be getting a copy of your report - go from there, for all you know at this point either the card issuer or the bank might have the wrong SSN on file for you.

Edited by trailmix

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Many recent topis on this.....good luck and find out the answers to the questions everyone asked...it should become clear


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When I moved here my husband put me on his accounts at the bank and credit cards. I actually paid off my canadian car loan with a us loan that my husband took out. When I check my credit recently to see if it was at least started, it shows the visa balance and me as an authorized user, paid up to date, no balance, and it showed my canadian car loan paid off. I thought that was interesting, the loan shows paid but it doesn't show the new loan taken out. I won't complain about that. I also got a credit card on my own from clothing outlet so that is showing on there as well with a 80 dollar balance,and paid to date. It does take a while to build credit. Don't keep checking on your credit though. Each time you make an inquiry into your credit, it goes as a hit against your credit. You can get a free credit report once a year that doesn't go against you. If you apply for too much credit then that also goes against you, reducing your credit score. Go slow,...it will come. Good luck.


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It is true that it is different establishing credit here vs at home. You can pull your own credit report as often as you like it is not a hit against your credit, but if you apply for credit (loans or credit cards) that will hit your credit record here and decrease your FICO score.


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It is true that it is different establishing credit here vs at home. You can pull your own credit report as often as you like it is not a hit against your credit, but if you apply for credit (loans or credit cards) that will hit your credit record here and decrease your FICO score.


Wisconsin Hunter & A Canadian Beaver

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The OP does have a point about paying off credit cards every month. In the absence of other credit, it can actually hurt your score. Silly but true. That doesn't explain the lack of credit history though. I agree that getting a report from all three agencies (free if you have recently been denied credit) is a start. The reporting company names are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Here is a link to the Federal Trade Commission instructions to order reports free - you can also call each agency directly.

FTC Credit Reports


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The OP does have a point about paying off credit cards every month. In the absence of other credit, it can actually hurt your score. Silly but true. That doesn't explain the lack of credit history though. I agree that getting a report from all three agencies (free if you have recently been denied credit) is a start. The reporting company names are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Here is a link to the Federal Trade Commission instructions to order reports free - you can also call each agency directly.

FTC Credit Reports

Yes, I have heard that before - but i'm not buying it. Do you have a link to any financial sites that back up that claim? In the U.S. I had 2 credit cards and my Husband had 1. We used all of these cards, never carried a balance and in the 15 months we were in the U.S. - well really in a shorter period than that - we both had excellent credit scores.

So while some lenders might be more likely to offer you credit if you have a history of paying interest (ie: carrying a small balance) in the overall picture I would say it is virtually worthless and it costs you money.

Edited by trailmix

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You do have to go into debt to get a credit rating because credit is when someone is loaning you money you aren't paying out of cash. So even if it's for one month or 5 minutes it's still debt. You can pay it off every month but if you're not paying cash at the transaction and you're using a credit card, it's a debt.

It seems that the main thing is credit cards, they seem to affect stuff pretty heavily. You can always go into debt with buying a house (mortgage) or car (car loan.) There isn't any way to really establish that you will consistently pay back what you borrow if you never borrow anything.


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Yes, I have heard that before - but i'm not buying it. Do you have a link to any financial sites that back up that claim? In the U.S. I had 2 credit cards and my Husband had 1. We used all of these cards, never carried a balance and in the 15 months we were in the U.S. - well really in a shorter period than that - we both had excellent credit scores.

So while some lenders might be more likely to offer you credit if you have a history of paying interest (ie: carrying a small balance) in the overall picture I would say it is virtually worthless and it costs you money.

I have worked for banks in one capacity of another most of my career, although not in the retail end of the business. Credit approval is a little bit of a black box, especially now with standards tightening, and I am repeating here what I have heard from branch managers etc. for years at different institutions. Honestly I doubt there is a website that would calc how much your score would drop in the above situation, and as I wrote, in the absence of other credit. At least I am not going to look for one or bother defending a position I don't care about either way. Banks traditionally prefer to lend money to folks that don't need it, so demonstrating that you can pay cash for everything you buy each month might get you a loan any way - facts and circumstances. But financial strength and credit score don't always track well.


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When I was learning some of the stuff they told me to purchase something on it that you can pay off in a few months easily (even something you can pay off right now) and to make payments every month, on time, and for enough that it would take a couple months to pay it off. It shows them somehow that you are reliable at taking care of payments over a longer term basis.


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Or maybe it's just a great way for them to get more money from people :hehe:

Brad and Vika - I wasn't trying to be confrontational with you, but you seem a bit ticked off in your response? Not sure why. It just seems like a bad idea to imply that people paying off their credit cards each month somehow hurts their credit score - when there is nothing to back that up.

I think my Husband and I are a pretty good example of how fast you can get a good U.S. credit score - but hey, that is my experience and if people want to carry a balance on their credit card or buy things over time and it works for them - that's great - I just don't believe in giving credit companies my money unless I have to (but again, that's just me)!

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