US credit cards for Canadians, how to not get rejected?

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US credit cards for Canadians, how to not get rejected?

Postby tmjulia » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:23 am


My husband and I moved to California from Canada 5 years ago. The only credit card we were able to obtain was a secured one 5 years ago, which became a regular one (quite crappy) 18 months after that.

For the next years, our every single application for credit cards was rejected. Smalls ones, big ones, online ones, paper ones, cards from our 2 banks... "Not enough accounts/revolving accounts opened long enough to establish a credit history". Wouldn't be 5 years long enough? Equifax and TransUnion exist both in Canada and the US, yet, they always check only the US accounts. We had a good credit history in Canada, and still have some accounts there. We never had any debts or even late payments.

What should we do about it? After the last rejected credit card application, I'm going to send them a letter and ask to access our Canadian credit reports. Canadian law allows it with proper authorization. Otherwise, they should explain how the practice to check the credit history in the US only differs from discrimination by nationality (or something like that). Any other ideas?

P.s.: Please, don't advise me to "fix" the credit history, or open some useless credit line. This is not funny.

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Postby infomaniac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:54 pm

Fives years should be sufficient but the issue is that the Canadian history will not be taken into account. If the only US credit card you have is the single account then that is likely the root cause.

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Postby jeffysdad » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:33 pm

That has got to be incredibly frustrating. The only thing I can think of is to find a credit union in your area that offers a card of its own. Many credit unions offer cards, but the accounts are serviced by one of the big banks. In any case, I would look for a credit union or small bank where you can sit down at a desk with someone and lay out your case. Based on what you describe, it doesn't seem as if you're going to get far with this unless you have an advocate on your side. Sorry if you've already done this; only thing I can think of. Good luck.
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Postby juggernut » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:15 pm

There is a gentleman at work who moved from Canada and from what he has shared with me, he as experienced the same dilemma. Apparently credit history outside of the US won't count. The only credit cards for Canadians may be what's available to American citizens with a limited credit history.

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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:10 pm

American Express offers a service called Global Card Transfer where the credit history is said to go with the individual when moving abroad. I do not recommend or even know if that is a way for a Canadian to get a U.S. credit card because the past reviews I have read about it have been awful. Do a search for it.
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Postby CCG » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:57 pm

For the next years, our every single application for credit cards was rejected. Smalls ones, big ones, online ones, paper ones, cards from our 2 banks... "Not enough accounts/revolving accounts opened long enough to establish a credit history".

If that is the case then I would recommend another secured credit card and then trying again in 9 to 12 months with two open accounts. I wish I had a better answer but this is a problem that is typical. US credit cards for Canadians or any other foreigner are very tough to come by.

Here is Credit Card Forum's sponsored listing of secured cards:

Secured Credit Cards To Rebuild Credit

Best of luck,

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Postby Cucumber » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:47 am

Are you saying that all credit history in any different country doesnt mean diddly squat here in America?? If that's right that majorly blows.
Stop talking crap about him!

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Postby Elliot Castro » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:04 pm

Julia, I am not 100% familiar with how the mechanics work in the U.S., but two things come to mind.

First of all, 70% of credit reports have errors. The fact that you have moved, makes it even more likely you have errors. This may be no fault of your own, but things get slipped through the cracks, and there is always error as long as a human is somewhere involved in reports. Sometimes the errors have very little impact, if at all. But other times these errors will cause cards to be denied due to suspicious activity. For example, differing addresses, numbers, and so on puts you on a suspected fraudulent level, which in turn makes creditors want to forget about bothering with you.

The other problem could be you are trying to get cards that are out of your league. We would all like to have an AmEx platinum/titanium card for example, but these are only reserved for high-volume and high-income clients. It maybe that you normally would fall under the rights to obtain one, but if the organization isn't fully aware of your credentials, you may not make the cut.

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