Cross-Border Credit: Why It’s Important To Establish Your Credit Profile in the U.S.
So you’ve been spending a lot of time in the U.S.lately.
Perhaps you’re visiting friends and catching up with relatives often enough that roaming charges are a part of your traveling budget.
Maybe you’ve started looking at your retirement options and there’s a sunny beach that keeps calling your name during those cold Canadian months. Or perhaps you’re hungry and ambitious and you think the U.S. is a fantastic place to advance your career.
It goes without saying that if you have a strong credit score, it becomes a lot easier to build a life in America. But even if you’ve been financially responsible your whole life in Canada, you can’t bring your Canadian credit history with you across the border.
Here are four reasons why you may benefit from establishing a credit profile in the U.S.
1. You Might Want to Rent or Purchase Property
This doesn’t just apply to all the snowbirds who are trying to escape the Canadian winter. You could have a child or grandchild moving for school and staying in an apartment, you could be making a property investment, or you could be a cross-border worker who’s looking to settle down and buy a house.
Regardless of your reasons for looking to rent or purchase American property, the process of getting approved is very similar to what you would expect in Canada. Along with establishing your income sources, landlords and/or mortgage lenders will want to see your credit history before they approve your application.
If you’re looking at renting or purchasing American property in the near future, it pays to start establishing a U.S.-based credit profile now.
2. A Strong Credit Score Can Make You More Employable
According to a survey ran by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, employers reported in 2018 that they do credit checks on some employees 31% of the time while another 16% said that they run credit checks on every employee. Even if you’re not applying for a bank executive position or anything of that nature, you can’t always predict if your next offer is going to be conditional on your credit check.
A strong credit score shows employers who runs these sorts of background checks that you know how to manage money. And if the new position comes with a company credit card or some other form of financial responsibility, a solid credit profile can go a long way towards convincing employers that they can trust you to not manage company funds wisely.
3. You Can Save Money On Insurance
You know how Canadians with high credit scores get to live a life where lenders go out of their way to offer excellent rates and better loan repayment terms? Well, it turns out that it’s a similar deal in the U.S. If you have a car, own or rent a home, or you work in certain professions, insurance payments will probably account for a substantial part of your month-to-month expenses.
Wallethub found that in America, people with no credit paid 67% more for their car insurance in 2018 than drivers who had excellent credit. In some states, that price difference was over 80%.
It goes without saying that a strong credit score could be a huge money-saver if you’re planning on building a life in the United States.
4. To Access Useful Services
When you’re spending a lot of time across the border, a lot of smaller costs can have big financial implications. For instance, your Canadian cellphone plan may be perfectly affordable when you’re staying within your province. But when you’re in America, international roaming charges can be high enough to convince you that an American cell phone plan may be cheaper.
Similarly, while internet bills may not appear on your credit report in the traditional sense, many internet service providers will want a credit check in order to reassure themselves that you’re going to pay your bills responsibly. In short, a strong U.S. credit score makes it easier to access the services and conveniences that will make your time in America run more smoothly.
How You Can Build Your U.S. Credit Profile
Canadian credit scores are a big deal in Canada. In this regard, the U.S. is very similar.
If you’re going to be spending significant amounts of time in America, life becomes a lot easier when you’ve got a solid American credit score. The good news is that the steps to build your Credit Profile in the U.S. are largely the same as they would be in Canada: open a bank account and establish your income sources, apply for a credit product, and be vigilant about making your payments on time.
There may be some steps in the middle you’ll need to take, like possibly getting an American social security number or even finding a cross-border lender who offers U.S. credit cards to Canadians. But as you watch your American credit score grow, you’ll be glad that you took this step.