As a new immigrant, financial access is critical to your success. But that access often depends on your credit score, which tells lenders whether you can be trusted to pay your bills. A good score can help you rent an apartment, get a loan, and even buy a house.
A bad one can keep you from doing those things. That’s why it’s important for everyone to understand how to build a credit history, and how new immigrants can start the process while living in the US.
The American credit system is different from most other countries’, and some newcomers struggle to navigate it. A study by Scotiabank in 2022 found that a significant percentage of immigrant respondents felt “worried, overwhelmed and confused” by the banking system here.
It can be difficult to build a credit history in the United States if you don’t have a Social Security number (or an ITIN). Many banks only accept people with an SSN or a Green Card for bank accounts, but there are other options that may work for some newcomers. You might be able to qualify for an account with a student credit card, or you could use an authorized user status on a friend or family member’s existing card.
Immigrants face a range of barriers to financial inclusion in the United States, and strategies that help them become part of the financial mainstream benefit not just them, but their communities as well. That’s why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is turning its attention to immigration-related financial barriers. new immigrant finance