Smart Tips for Finding a Loan and Building Credit in America

By TinaHamilton, 16 April, 2014

Whether you are making an investment to start up your first business or looking into purchasing your first home in the U.S., there are lots of steps you will need to know when searching for a lender. After you have taken the time to organize all your documents and prepare for the process, follow these tips to help you loan process run effectively and smoothly.

Documents First

Before applying for a loan, expats should gather a few important things. For U.S. citizens or green card holders, these will include:

•Two years of their W-2 forms (or, if self-employed, two years’ of tax returns)

•One month or more of pay stubs (or, if self-employed, three months of checking/savings bank statements.)

•Copies of stocks, IRA, 401K or current market value of any rental properties owned

If you are a non-permanent resident or visa holder, then you will need to collect this documentation:

•W-2 form if you have one

•A pay stub

•Copies of both your visa and passport

•3 months of checking/savings account statements

•Up-to-date copies of transactions or mortgage statements from your home country (if you have them)

•Employment/assets verification and copies of a work relocation package if applicable

While most bank loans will require extensive documentation, some private lenders like TitleBucks might be less difficult to secure a short term loan with if you do not yet have the required paperwork.

Building Your Credit

Many disenchanted expats have come to the realization that a credit rating is pretty important in the United States. As explains, “it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, or how many [of your home country’s] credit cards you own or what job you’ve snagged—you won’t be able to get a U.S. credit card straight away.”

This is because lenders in the states rely on something called a credit score to determine who to loan two. Whether you were born in America or just arrived, it takes time to build this credit and prove that you a trustworthy borrower.

Credit scores are determined by your history of paying bills on time and are negatively affected by late payments, being refused a line of credit, losing a card, etc. These factors all weigh in and are reported on your own personal credit report which ranges from scores of 300 to 850. But if you just entered the country, then your score could be at zero.

Attempting to boost your credit score can be frustrating at first because banks will not issue a card without a good rating. But you need a card in order to build up your rating. It can look like a vicious cycle that goes nowhere.

Fortunately, you can obtain a secured credit card. This is issued by the bank with a “set figure as collateral from your own account.” By using the card on a regular basis and paying it off “well above the minimum monthly amount,” you can build your credit over a period of about six months where you make all payments on time without missing one. After this, you will most likely apply for another card with a larger limit and you can continue creating good credit history.

With these tips you will be well on your way to funding your new life in the U.S.A.


Image from