To Get A Credit Card in the US
are planning to settle in the U.S. it will be essential to establish
good credit. Credit cards are very useful not only for establishing
a good credit record here (called your credit rating) but for using
as an I.D., for renting a car, making airline and hotel reservations,
making large purchases, and most importantly, enabling you to obtain
lines of credit for buying a home or car or starting a business.
Tips on Obtaining a Credit Card
arriving in the U.S. apply for an American
Express Card ("Amex"). That way, you may be able
to obtain a U.S. card from Amex after you arrive. It will be cheaper
to use a U.S. based card since you will not lose money through currency
exchange fees as you would with a foreign-based card.
do not already have a credit card, you can apply for one through your
U.S. bank or by looking at the many available credit cards and special
offers at CardWeb. Visa,
Mastercard, American Express and Discover are the main credit cards
in the U.S. A number of different banks offer these cards at widely
varying interest rates.
obtain a card with an APR (annual percentage rate) of 9.9% of lower.
have an outstanding balance at a higher rate on a card from your country
you may be able to make a balance transfer from your other accounts
at a very low interest rate, sometimes as low as 2%. However, do not
open accounts to transfer balances too often, or this may adversely
affect your credit rating.
you apply for a credit card you will be asked to list the name of
your employer, your profession and your annual income, along with
the length of time you have been with that employer. If the period
of your employment or your annual income is below a certain amount,
or if your credit record is insufficient to make a determination,
you may be denied a card.
cards offer a "grace period" of about 25 days after the
date of your last statement to repay the your current balance without
adding interest (finance charges).
to Maintain an Excellent Credit Rating:
all your balances on time - credit agencies are intolerant of
any amount overdue, no matter how small. A debt delinquent by more
than sixl months can ruin your credit for at least 7 years (after
seven years, a debt is usually wiped off your credit record).
a limited number of cards - having too many balances, or applying
for too many cards within a short period of time, may label you a
a low balance on your cards relative to your credit limit - "maxing
out" your card over a long period of time can also lower your
rating. Conversely, keeping a small balance on your cards may actually
be better than keeping a zero balance. Learn more about the factors
used to rate your credit at:
Isaac, the credit reporting agency responsible for actually
rating your credit: