How can a Canadian build credit in the US?

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kelvSYC
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:10 am
Location: San Bruno

Postby kelvSYC » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:36 am

Interesting how things turned out for you. I came to the US a year ago, and gotten the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, which I use as my US primary card today. Bank of America had pulled my Canadian credit history and used that as the basis of my credit limit; I basically bank with Bank of America because they were known for pulling Canadian credit history for Canadians starting out in the US. (It's likely Chase might do something similar, since Chase has a Canadian subsidiary as well).

I guess this also depends on the state in which you do your banking. Washington state is likely to be more amenable because a lot of people from BC just hop over the border to open accounts in Bellingham, so it's old hat for them. Or maybe it's because of where I work and my annual income in the US. Or maybe it's because I applied in person at a Bank of America branch which happens to have a lot of Canadians frequenting the establishment.

If you have an account with RBC Royal Bank, and have excellent Canadian credit history, consider applying for the RBC Bank USA Visa card. It is a Visa signature card with a minimum $5K limit, and the rewards aren't that great compared to American banks, but the card is specifically made for Canadians starting out in the US (ie. application open to Canadians who have an SIN but no SSN, they pull Canadian credit history, etc.). I was not approved for that because I had not secured US employment when I applied and they wouldn't give me the $5K credit limit, but they did recommend me to a lender who would.
Current Credit Scores:
VantageScore 3.0 - 760 TU, 764 EX (11-19-16, Credit Karma)
FICO 8 - 747 EX (10-22-16, AmEx statement)
Discover - 750 TU (11-4-16, Discover statement)

Current Credit Cards:
RBC - $8000 CAD
BoA - $13500 USD
Capital One - $2750 USD
AmEx BCE - $4000 USD
Discover It - $8000 USD


kelvSYC
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Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:10 am
Location: San Bruno

Postby kelvSYC » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:39 am

Similarly, if you bank through TD Canada Trust in Canada, consider getting a card from TD Bank in the US. They too take into consideration both Canadian and US credit history in applying for a credit card.

RBC and TD, in terms of cross-border banking in general, has its share of tradeoffs. Both allow you to view all of your Canadian and US accounts (including credit card) from one portal, but in general, TD has the better credit card offerings (TD at least has a 1% card. RBC doesn't unless you pony up an annual fee, but all RBC cards are Visa Signature) and exchange rate (TD's Borderless account gives you better rates even if you don't have a US account), while RBC cross-border transfers are faster. (Both are free if you own accounts on both sides of the border, but TD is just rebating international wire transfers while RBC has instant transfer.) TD generally allows your bank fees to be waived if you jump through enough hoops, but RBC's offering might be better if TD doesn't operate in your part of the country.

If you are American and you bank with TD, this is likely to be a two-way street: it's likely that you can get set up with a TD Canada Trust account if you bank with TD Bank, and apply for Canadian credit cards off of US credit history. I don't bank with them, so don't take my word for it (it's more likely that you get stiffed).

BMO does not offer any cross-border banking, and though folks at Bank of America like to harp about their alliance with ScotiaBank all the time, the two banks don't coordinate on any cross-border solutions a la RBC or TD (let alone allow ScotiaBank customers to apply for Bank of America's vast offerings).

From the credit card standpoint, I'm surprised that card issuers such as Capital One do not offer something for cross border credit card needs (like with American Express). But it's likely because Capital One's Canadian clientele and the US clientele are very different.
Current Credit Scores:
VantageScore 3.0 - 760 TU, 764 EX (11-19-16, Credit Karma)
FICO 8 - 747 EX (10-22-16, AmEx statement)
Discover - 750 TU (11-4-16, Discover statement)

Current Credit Cards:
RBC - $8000 CAD
BoA - $13500 USD
Capital One - $2750 USD
AmEx BCE - $4000 USD
Discover It - $8000 USD



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