Q: I am new to the U.S. (from Canada where I have excellent credit) and trying to build my credit. I got rejected applying for a normal card and I’m looking to get a card that I am sure I will get accepted. What do you recommend?
Welcome! We're happy to have you south of the border. Well, our border, anyway. You've already discovered one challenge for guest workers and legal immigrants: with no credit report in the United States, you're a mystery to credit card issuers and other consumer lenders. Thankfully, I can offer two sources for a basic credit card that will help you manage your spending here in the U.S.A.
With a so-called "thin" credit file, you won't get much traction on your quest for personal credit. Even if you have accounts with Canadian companies that maintain a presence in the United States, those firms' American divisions act independently of their home offices.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo both offer secured credit cards for less than $40 a year. They'll carry interest rates much higher than you might be used to. By placing a few hundred dollars on deposit, and handling your account responsibly, for example, by paying on time, you can get a positive trade line on your credit report that you can use to get an unsecured credit card in about a year.
- I am looking to establish good credit so I can buy a home for my family. What kind of credit card should I start out with?
- I'm a 22-year-old female who makes about $1,000 a month. I have a credit union credit card with credit line of $500. I recently applied for a Lowe's credit card and was denied. I'm always on time with my credit card payments. What would be the reason?
- I am an 18-year-old with no credit history. I have read Curtis Arnold's book and am successfully paying my community college tuition on my own. Which card is best suited for me when I only plan on using my future card for gas purchases?