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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Hi Phil.

Phil Bunch wrote
I almost never use cash, preferring to use my credit card so I can keep track of expenses and keep my finances under some semblance of control.

Some people think it's the other way round :-) When they use credit cards they can't keep track.

Do you see the expenses immediately on your iPhone? When I was a credit card user (stopped using it many years ago) I got a paper mail a couple of weeks later.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
oh boy now you got me started about credit-cards and the US , get this if you pay the total balance off in full each month they do not apply it directly even though it was a wire transfer (10-14 days before its applied), then if you call them and want to pay by phone i.e. a chq they charge your 14 bucks then there are management fees etc etc: Also if you make more than two payments in any one month they put a hold (freeze) on your account ( they dont tell you this) you find this out when it does not work. its getting to the stage I just use cash and will be down to two cards AMEX and VISA you can wire transfer with amex and ask your local bank to do a international wire transfer via swift(bank to bank) etc they look at you like you have six heads:

And no you do not see your expenses immediately: The object of a using plastic all the time is "big brother" so they can track now wheres the tin foil to stop the buggers reading what little remains of my brain :-)
« Last edit by the mad hatter on Thu, 25 Aug 2011 04:25:28 +0000. »
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
The whole concept of 'credit score' sets off all alarms with Europeans. Three central commercial companies tracking all bills you pay and the whole commercial world living off these three integers to judge you instantly and, in most cases, without any form of appeal.

"There are some drawbacks when moving to the States".

Luckily I was aware of these, thanks to some helpful people, but it does not make it any more fun. Currently I am trying to beat the infinite loop that to get document A, you need document B, for which you need C, which you get with A.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
Hi Hoppie

and one last thing get your degree qualified I failed to do and it cost 1100 bucks to say that I can read and writer english to level 4 the INS will want this and did I tell you that you will finger printed by four different gov agency's none of which share the info with each other... and learn spanish!
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
In order to get any visa at all I have had to have every possible qualification inspected, luckily this has all been done properly now. Finger prints have also been taken repeatedly, but I think by now this has more or less been unified thanks to the terrorists. Spanish? Tell that to my Portuguese wife!


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
the mad hatter wrote
Hi Hoppie

and one last thing get your degree qualified I failed to do and it cost 1100 bucks to say that I can read and writer english to level 4 the INS will want this and did I tell you that you will finger printed by four different gov agency's none of which share the info with each other... and learn spanish!


I guess punctuation and plurals are level 5! :D

Sorry ... just being silly!
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
Hardy Heinlin wrote
Hi Phil.

Phil Bunch wrote
I almost never use cash, preferring to use my credit card so I can keep track of expenses and keep my finances under some semblance of control.

Some people think it's the other way round :-) When they use credit cards they can't keep track.

Do you see the expenses immediately on your iPhone? When I was a credit card user (stopped using it many years ago) I got a paper mail a couple of weeks later.


Cheers,

|-|ardy


Hardy,

My typical pattern of charge card monitoring is to login to my bank's charge card page and review the listed purchases each day. Posts are 1-2 days old. My theory is that this will catch any fraudulent charges in time to stop the problem quickly. I have only found a problem one time, and the bank's fraud department was very responsive. After some discussion and verification of my real recent charges they simply issued me a new credit card, which arrived in a day or two.

Also, by charging almost everything, each month when my partner and I go through the month's shared expense items, we see how our budget is working out. Also, we've decided that each of us will separately pay for their personal hobbies (e.g., my macro photography hobby, flight sims, etc), and charging everything makes this easy.
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
@ Shiv, yes that is level five maybe even level seven! I type that way because my fingers are accented :-)

@ Hoppie, Well then you are all set and good to go fine sir :-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers wrote
Three central commercial companies tracking all bills you pay and the whole commercial world living off these three integers to judge you instantly and, in most cases, without any form of appeal.


Well, it's not quite that bad. No transactions are reported routinely to the credit rating agencies except money you borrow. For example, if you use a debit card for all purchases, none of them will ever be reported to the ratings bureaus.

And having a good credit score is really not that difficult at all, as long as you live within your means and pay your bills on time. The ratings themselves are neither arbitrary or unpredictable. And there is a decent appeal mechanism... you hear horror stories, but then again you hear horror stories about aviation, too. :-)
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Will /Chicago /USA
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Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
I thought that paying the monthly rent also went into the credit score? And the monthly utilities?


Jeroen
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
No sir as your employer has that covered, the only way you can build your score is to get one of two things a telephone (cell) and a fuel card.

@ Will yeah it is, you know full well that your credit score is everything here 820 gets ya 3.25 650 gets ya 8.2 on a 30 year mortgage... Have you ever tried to appeal something on your credit report that is factually incorrect it sure its removed at 30 days then 2 months later its back again oh boy I am getting started think it best I sit on my fingers :-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
I've heard of people taking out a small personal loan that they really don't need, perhaps secured by a fixed bank deposit/savings account. Then, one pays it off dilligently, and before you know it, you can get a low maximum credit amount credit card, also perhaps secured by a fixed bank deposit. Charge a lot of stuff, pay all the bill off each month, and before too long one can obtain a normal, unsecured credit card.

I am not so sure Hoppie will really have to cope with all this stuff too much though since he's been hired internationally by an established employer, has educational credentials, etc, etc. This will all show up on his credit card application, so I predict that at worst they will just provide a moderate credit card limit for a few months or so, then miraculously it will be raised, and before too long he'll have a zillion dollar credit card limit like all other massively indebted Americans (faint grins).

I've known many Europeans who temporarily immigrated to the US, at the request of their American employer, and none of them expressed any concerns about such things. I can see it being a problem if one doesn't have credible employment, and that would show up on the credit card application, and be flagged as a very different situation where one's credit rating and credit history would be very important.

Just a few thoughts. I'm not very knowledgeable about such things other than as an American citizen.

Another thought - perhaps the company will provide a corporate credit card, usually through American Express. Once that's been issued, the credit history and credibility would be established and other credit rating and credit history things would be acceptable. Perhaps they could provide such a card to help with the move, even if it isn't needed right away? Again, just a thought. My employer required us to always use the company credit card for all business travel, as a part of their deal with American Express I assume. I don't think they wanted us to use the thing for personal expenses but technically the card was issued to the individual and not the company and had to be paid and managed by the individual.
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
@ Phil yes you are right there I would suggest get a European AMEX then transfer to an american one oddly enough... AMEX is the one company here in the states that treats you like an adult... Yes they report to the credit-reporting companies that are owned by the banks... but there is also a big issue as well

AMEX has no preset spending limit :-) however on your report it shows as maxed out even though it must be paid in full each month.

His employment and education make no difference to available credit in the beginning because he has no established credit and because he is establishing him self it is going to take years 2-3 and it is going to hurt

Just a car loan is going to cost him double figures in interest... Sometimes it is just not worth it. I can see it not being an issue for those of a temporary nature but permante is another story you are lucky you grew up with it imagine what its like when you are well established in another country and NOTHING transfers

B
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Guys, it does not matter any bit that I am hired by a real employer, or that I have several degrees, or that I have a good history in Europe. I could as well come from Mars. I get absolutely zero credit, zilch, and the same for any discount on insurances due to a no-claim history. This is all as expected, but I play innocent and just try anyway -- forget it.

My rent & utilities are not through my employer, though the employer introduced me to the land lord which got me past some typical hurdles. Would this still not count towards any credit score?

In my particular case, the real problem is that my Dutch backup (such as credit card) is also being immediately canceled by the Dutch bank as they lose their grip on me as soon as I cross the border. This is probably different from the foreign job assignments Phil talks about. I managed to get an extra two months that are technically uncovered except by good faith, for the rest (in the Netherlands) I'll need a locked deposit, card limit times months I want it, ahead of time.

Luckily Europeans are not at all used to living on credit. I don't need a credit card -- I just need a card (to avoid hauling cash around or littering the world with written signatures on dead trees). The debit card system is just appearing in the States, it seems. The bank that I eventually will open an account with (need SSN and FL driver's license first!) proudly claims that the use of this card is free in Publix. wft?!

Another bypass that I forged was to find the US office of my local bank in the Netherlands, and they are willing to open a US bank account for me (California-based) without me having a SSN or US driver's license. This helps a lot to get firm ground over there.

As you can see, you really have to start from scratch, but if you know this and prepare, it can be done.

Concerning getting a EU Amex and then transfering it: I tried already but this can only be done after having had it for over one year, so too late now. And it would not have added to initial credit ratings.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
I can confirm Jeroen experience from my own experience when I moved to the US. I'm on an expad contract and a L1 (petitioned) visa. We are one of the largest international telecom companies in the world and employ well over 14000 staff here in the US.

Doesn't make a blind bit of difference. I could not open a bank account / apply for a credit card etc. Luckily for me my employer has an arrangement with a local bank and they will help out, get your account set up, get you a credit card etc. etc.

Also, I was advised to take out a (car) loan immediately and pay off in monthly installment. Didn't need the loan, but took it anyway just to built credit rating.

I managed to hold on to all my Dutch bank accounts and credit cards, but Paypal NL gave me the boot

Jeroen
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
Hoppie , you have to ask your land lord to report your payments to the THREE credit reporting agencies: Plus like FD said buy a car anything cheap so it reports: After this DO NOT apply for any credit until you have a score of at least 720 and above. It is very hard to do things with cash in the US it is card based (credit not debit): The bank account you are opening is not a "FULL" bank account but opened as a W9 completion which in turn they have to send off to get approval. Now the interesting thing here is you will not be able to use your cheque book because they will run the cheque through a company called equity cheque and trans union and as you have no financial history history issue they will decline your chq! (but you can use it to pay bills by post) Now about th debit card lets say you stay at a hotel for three days and the cost is 300 bucks per night they the hotel will put a hold on your funds for twice that amount = 1800 bucks now you sign the bill for 900 but the hold on the difference will not reflect for another 7 days in the interium you have spent X and spent more than 1k now you bank will put an automatic freeze on it without telling you in-advance here is real world example I paid my credit card off in full whist in the states I flew to Rome went tp pay for dinner and my card had been frozen because I paid it in full plus it was a transaction outside of the US did not matter that I do this all the time in short all banks in the US are bastards.

May I suggest that you give your fullest consideration to retaining a dutch creditcard (in simple terms you are fk without it)...and they can issue one in dollars as opposed to euros or NLG... If your local bank will not do it find one that will before you leave, I know I have said much on this topic I have been here over 8 years now and the first 5 were very hard financially I did not have a micky mouse postion with a micky mouse employeer or salary.. Here it does not matter what your education is or how much you are worth someone earning 10k a year can almost have unlimited credit if they score well as opposed to someone that earns 400k plus with a low score and lots of residual income will have very little credit.

Now when you are asked for ID they mean your drivers license: In closing you are actually way better off asking your employer to to 1099 you not W2 mine did it :-) And someone mentioned that their company asked them to take out an american express card in their name for business WTF are you your employers bank say they fire you and don't pay the bill you are left holding it not cool. The other thing is ID theft is huge in the States always ask why they need your SS# schools and doctors do not need it they can give you another identifier do not give it out unless the world is about to end! Be very careful with the SS# because my daughter when she was three had her identity stolen (from medical records) and she had cars phones and a house and a whole lot of other stuff, they changed her address to a different state etc etc in short it took over 3 years to sort out.
« Last edit by the mad hatter on Fri, 26 Aug 2011 20:15:21 +0000. »
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 772
Location: Sydney, Australia
Wow. Sorry any US'ians, but sounds like your Financial, Credit and Banking System really really sucks. :(
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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
... the obvious answer ... it sucks so hard that it draws quite a bit of foreign financial systems with it! :mrgreen:
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
If I ask dumb questions, answer by adding interpunction :-)

the mad hatter wrote
Hoppie , you have to ask your land lord to report your payments to the THREE credit reporting agencies.

Good tip. Will this cost him anything extra, or just a stamp and envelope?

Quote
Plus like FD said buy a car anything cheap so it reports: After this DO NOT apply for any credit until you have a score of at least 720 and above.

Aha, minus credit points also exist. Somebody from a US bank told me that it is very easy to notice when your credit rating becomes significant: you magically start receiving mail offers for credit cards and loans from companies you've never even heard of.

Quote
The bank account you are opening is not a "FULL" bank account but opened as a W9 completion which in turn they have to send off to get approval. Now the interesting thing here is you will not be able to use your cheque book because they will run the cheque through a company called equity cheque and trans union and as you have no financial history history issue they will decline your chq! (but you can use it to pay bills by post) Now about th debit card lets say you stay at a hotel for three days and the cost is 300 bucks per night they the hotel will put a hold on your funds for twice that amount = 1800 bucks now you sign the bill for 900 but the hold on the difference will not reflect for another 7 days in the interium you have spent X and spent more than 1k now you bank will put an automatic freeze on it without telling you in-advance.

%$@%#@ grrr

Quote
May I suggest that you give your fullest consideration to retaining a dutch creditcard (in simple terms you are fk without it)...and they can issue one in dollars as opposed to euros or NLG... If your local bank will not do it find one that will before you leave.

Point taken. I'll make this a top priority for the next weeks.

Quote
Now when you are asked for ID they mean your drivers license: In closing you are actually way better off asking your employer to to 1099 you not W2.

Since I come in on a H-1B visa, I don't know what can be done here, but I'll ask.

Quote
The other thing is ID theft is huge in the States always ask why they need your SS# schools and doctors do not need it they can give you another identifier do not give it out unless the world is about to end! Be very careful with the SS# because my daughter when she was three had her identity stolen (from medical records) and she had cars phones and a house and a whole lot of other stuff, they changed her address to a different state etc etc

Thanks. Cynically: my wife and daughter won't even get a SSN, as they are on H4 and SSN is strictly related to having a job; H4 means they are not allowed to work, so no SSN "needed".


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
We're lucky as I'm on a L1 visa and that meant my wife could work as well.
Not having a SSN is a real pain. As long as you have yours you can make it work, but you need the SSN for lots of things. for instance getting the utility contracts established. Apply for your SSN ASAP as it will make life much easier.

Jeroen
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Not by design, but I will be in the States about three months by myself with my family still back 'home', so I do have the time to sort out things.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
I don't know about landlords reporting on-time rent payments to the ratings agencies. Does that make any sense? Depending on who your landlord is, they may have never heard of such a thing. In general, payments that are in collections (i.e. 90+ days overdue) and referred to a collections agency will be reported to the ratings agencies, but I bet most landlords wouldn't even know how to send records of an on-time payment. And anyway, the ratings agencies only care about debt. They don't track rent, since that's not borrowed money -- only if you're 90+ days late and not paying (which then becomes debt).

Hoppie, you have some good suggestions here for building a good credit rating, but remember that it's only important if you need to borrow money. If, like a good Dutchman, you pay cash for cars and houses and groceries, your credit rating will mean nothing.

And there are local banks in the USA that will still assess your risk individually. Most likely, these won't be the big chain banks... but most cities will have a few independent local banks -- and even better, credit unions -- that will let you sit down with a guy and talk it out, who will then come to a conclusion about their risk of lending to you based on what data they have, and their gut feeling.

I still think the cheapest way to get credit is to apply for a credit card (even a horrible one at 25% interest, like people with bad or non-existent credit scores get) and carry a trivial balance of $5 or $10 per month. That costs you next to nothing, and builds your score automatically.

Lastly, doing things to BUILD your score is fairly easy, much easier than correcting MISTAKES. So a light credit history (due to a recent arrival in the USA) in the scheme of things is much better than someone who is 90+ days late on a credit cards that have been maxed out.

With all of this taken together: I say don't worry, you'll likely be fine.

And banks LOVE lending money, they want you as a customer. So if credit is really important to you, go to a local bank, get direct deposit for your wages, open a checking and savings account, and then ask the banker, "what else do I need to do in order to borrow enough for a house/car/747 simulator?" And follow that guy's advice.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Sounds reasonable, Will, thanks!

I am indeed not so much looking for credit, or a credit card, but for a widely accepted payment card. And as far as I know this is nearly always still a credit or charge card, as debit cards are slooooowly coming in and aren't backed by the large credit card companies. Maybe VISA has a debit card that slots into their credit card system? The idea is that I could pay wherever they accept credit cards (pretty much everywhere) without any additional hassle. Yes I am a spoiled European brat.

Credit scores also are used to get a lease on a rental house, but luckily I could bypass that step. It would have meant several months of rent paid ahead of time, more than the usual three.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
Debit cards that draw from your savings or checking account have been ubiquitous for quite some time. I've carried one for at least the last 10 years. They have a little "VISA" logo on them, and can be used anywhere that a credit card can be used, except that the cost of your purchase is deducted straight from your bank account. That's the main way I pay for things. They're usually provided at no cost to you. This has been standard practice for the last decade or so, and I've never heard of a large bank that doesn't have a VISA/debit card option.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Will Cronenwett wrote
They have a little "VISA" logo on them, and can be used anywhere that a credit card can be used, except that the cost of your purchase is deducted straight from your bank account.

Aha! This is what I could not yet verify to be true! Thanks, it basically solves all remaining issues.


Jeroen

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