Establishing Credit in the United States

Dear myFICO,

I will be permanently moving to the US next month from Mexico. In Mexico, I have a perfect credit history that I've built over the last 15 years. I would like to maintain my credit status when I move to the US. Am I able to send my credit history to the US credit bureaus?

Arlington, Texas

Dear Gabriela,

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you will be able to utilize the good credit history that you've built in Mexico when you get to the US. Most countries do not allow credit reports to transfer from country to country. There are legal, contractual and technical reasons that prevent a person's credit report to be transferred between countries.

However, it is very likely that the good credit habits that you've used to build your credit history in Mexico will also help your credit standing in the US. There are many factors that go into credit scores in the US but if you simply pay all of your credit obligation on time and as agreed, then that behavior will help your credit standing.

Because you will not be able transfer your credit report to the US credit bureaus, you will need to work on establishing your new credit history. A good way to start is to open a new credit card. You'll want to keep the balances on this credit card low enough so that you can pay off the balance each month. If you are unable to obtain a credit card due to your lack of US credit history, you can apply for a secured credit card. These cards allow you to charge only up to the amount that you have deposited. Regardless of the type of credit card you open, being on time with all of your payments is the most important factor towards building your credit history here in the US.

It may take about 6 months to establish your credit history and get a FICO score. As time passes and you continue to use your credit card responsibly, you will see your FICO score rise. As your FICO score gets into higher ranges, more credit may become available to you and at better terms. When utilizing your access to credit, keep these tips in mind: only apply for credit that you need and always pay your bills on time. These are the essentials for healthy credit. From the entire myFICO team, we wish you success in the US.

myFICO Team

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