Moving to the US - Looking for new Bank and Credit Card

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
7 posts
$raion
 
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Moving to the US - Looking for new Bank and Credit Card

Postby $raion » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:22 am

Hello,

I will be moving to the US in the next few months. I have been trying to do some research on my own regarding which bank / credit card to pick. There is just so many... and it seems almost intentional that the "vital" details are so hard to find.
That is how I ended here in this Forum.

I am sure this question has been asked a thousand times here... but yes, I am looking for the best credit card(s).

My main concern is how different the credit card system is compared to Europe.

Here, you pick a card, there is not more than a handful of them.
First of all, there is no "payments": Whatever you pay with your credit card will be deducted directly from your bank account. As long as you have the funds to cover it. If not: Big interest to pay. It is rather unusual to be "in debt" with credit cards, since if you fail just a few payments your credit card will be frozen. Credit cards are more a way of paying for things online or while you are on vacation than a way of extending your credit.
That's why the few differences between them are:
- Yearly cost
- Interest to pay on domestic / foreign purchases
- Different insurances attached to it (Usually full-travel/health insurance on Gold cards)

I have a pristine credit record, and I will be making a good living in the US. So I am looking for a card that will be the furthest away from a "debt trap" as possible. I would of course prefer a card that will be more geared to "pay instantly and avoid interests" than anything else.

So far I have come up with the American Express Blue Cash as the favorite.

But I would really appreciate some input!

Thank you in advance.

Max.


TopperLA
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Postby TopperLA » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:39 pm

Been there,

Unfortunately no matter what your situation will be when you move here, you still start like a credit virgin and you have to prove that you can handle it.
I'm going to leave it to the experts here but I doubt AMEX will give you a credit card without 6 months history (that's what took me to get a PRG)

I would say start with a credit union for your bank, get credit there as it will help a lot.
Otherwise there's what I did, capital one newcomer card which is crappy but does the job of starting your credit. I choose this route because I did not have a credit union but if you can get one you can save yourself from capital one.

Paavo
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Postby Paavo » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:04 pm

As TopperLA wrote above, no matter what your credit history in Germany you start from zero in the US.
There might be some shortcuts though:
1) Have you had American Express in Germany for at least one year? If yes, you may be able to convert it to US AmEx.
2) HSBC might be willing to work with you if you have a good salary and solid working history. Two years ago I was able to get their credit card with $10k limit right after moving in the US. They wanted quite a bit of paperwork on salary, working history with my employer, copies of immigration docs, etc. Might be worthwhile to call and ask.

If above does not work out you probably just need to go and start with a secured card. Bank of America secured cards are known to graduate pretty fast if you treat them well. Credit Unions might be ok as well. Do not go with Wells Fargo! From them you don't get any unsecured card until you're permanent resident (=green card holder), which might take a while.

TopperLA
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Postby TopperLA » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:25 pm

Paavo wrote:2) HSBC might be willing to work with you if you have a good salary and solid working history. Two years ago I was able to get their credit card with $10k limit right after moving in the US. They wanted quite a bit of paperwork on salary, working history with my employer, copies of immigration docs, etc. Might be worthwhile to call and ask.


I now have HSBC as my primary bank and they do treat credit differently so if you start your case with them now they might be able to give you something in the US when you transfer there.

Paavo wrote: Do not go with Wells Fargo! From them you don't get any unsecured card until you're permanent resident (=green card holder), which might take a while.


I made the mistake of wasting 2 Hard Pull on them and it took a manager call to the credit office to find out that they have that policy in place.
I've also heard here that this is not 100% true and somehow you can get it without permanent residency but if you want to be sure just avoid WF.

dogblood
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Postby dogblood » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:34 pm

I recently moved to the US from Canada and had similar concerns. Hopefully what I've learned will help you.

No banks here will care about your history in another country. It just doesn't count.

I did some extensive research and many sites suggested obtaining a secured credit card through a major bank to start - $500 - $1000 limit.

With the amount I travel, and my income that wouldn't be an issue, but before I did that I reached out to some of my colleagues - and they all suggested DCU credit union. It is a Credit Union based out of Boston, MA that offers memberships at the cost of a small ($10) charitable contribution. The charities vary and you get to pick.

Upon opening my account with DCU, they set me up with an unsecured credit card with a substantial initial credit limit, no annual fee and fair APR considering I have no credit profile in the US. They also set me up with a competitive rate on an auto loan, although I did not need to borrow for my vehicle -- I found that having that tradeline reporting payments for 6 - 12 months will help me build up my credit profile.

Things to note, I do have an account with BofA as well - from what I understand it is a good idea to build releationships with a credit union and a traditional major financial institution in paralell. Although I havn't applied for a credit product with BofA -- I know I will be in good shape when I need to, thanks the DCU.

Hope this helps.

kelvSYC
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Postby kelvSYC » Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:58 pm

Actually, moving from Canada to Washington state and working for a big employer, Bank of America was very willing to give me one of their top (unsecured) cards without ever pulling my nonexistent (at the time) US credit history; they instead pulled my Canadian credit history; it remains my primary card to date. Of course, I also bank with them, so...

Still, I believe the major American banks (and Canadian banks with American subsidiaries) pulling Canadian credit reports is the only exception to "starting from zero" when it comes to getting an American credit card. Again, like everyone else says, secured card, and after 6-12 months, go for the BCE.
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

whit
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Postby whit » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:51 pm

almost any financial institute including the big four as people like to refer them (bofa, wells, chase, citi) will work with you if you have the balances in your bank.

if you arrive and want a cc right away with only 10-30k in deposit, you might get something, but its difficult because your deposit history is short, since you've been here for a short time.

if you're steadily building on those balances, and after a few months, it would not hurt to apply for a cc that's usually a bit hard to get, CSP (chase sapphire preferred) being one of them (cc limit starts at 5k, so if you can't get a 5k limit you won't be approved)

Chase will not turn you away because you bank with them and have considerable balance (at this point you're in the 50k minimum, to about 100-110k)

that's better then getting a secured cc imho

if you don't have the balances it might not necessarily be needed to have a large cc limit, since lending has gotten tighter, govt not wanting another meltdown and banks needing to be having "stronger balance sheets" and all



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