I recently experienced the shame of being denied for a JC Penney's store card.
It was harsh. I feel unloveable. But I know it wasn't their fault. It's my fault. It's not them, it's me. I need to change.
I don't exist. To the credit bureau, that is.
Despite my amazing credit rating in the UK (paying off my student overdraft, paying bills on time, that jazz), that means diddly squat here in the USA. Expats like me end up in the annoying situation of having no credit rating. At all. And in the USA you need credit. You just do.
And everyone knows that to get a credit rating you need credit, and to get credit you need a credit rating. Fun, huh?
I knew this was an issue for expats, but for some reason I thought it wouldn't happen to me. Until I got banned from Amazon Payments. Banned!
That in itself is a real bummer because their customer service is terrible and they wouldn't tell me why and won't even let me access my account to shut it down. But that's a while other story I'll rant about another time.
I'd heard that getting a store card was one way for expats to build credit, but when JC Penney (very politely) denied me I realized I only really have one option.
Capital One has a Secured Credit Card for "newcomers" - ie expats and immigrants. It's secured by a pre-payment, and seemingly designed for people who don't exist according the federal credit bureau.
This isn't an advert or affiliate link, I'm actually really hesitant to get this card because I've read mixed reviews.
Do any of my expat readers have any other solutions? How did you start to build credit?