How to Boost Your Credit Score in the U.S.


Do you usually use cash when shopping or do you use cashless payments such as credit cards? In Japan, there are many shops and restaurants that can accept only cash, but a credit card is essential in everyday life in the United States.

Because of the “Mint” that I introduced in another article, I basically use a credit card wherever I shop. In the U.S., credit card screening criteria are very strict. In order to pass the screening, income and assets, and especially credit scores are important.

If you do not have an American credit card or have a low credit score, it will have a big impact on your life; you will not be able to rent the residence you are interested in, and the interest rate on your home mortgage could be higher.

This article explains how to get your first credit card and how to boost your credit score.

How to Get Your First Credit Card in the U.S.

If you live in Japan, you may think that you can get a credit card simply by applying. However, it is not easy for foreigners with work visas and green cards to obtain the first credit card in the United States. When I was just starting to work, my application didn’t pass the screening process many times and I couldn’t make a credit card easily. Now, I keep my credit score over 800, so I’m in trouble in a good way to keep receiving credit card application from many credit card companies!

That’s right, when you make a credit card in the U.S., the most important thing is your credit score. A credit score is a number that indicates how trustworthy the person is to the card company. In general, those who use the card closely to meet the payment date have a high credit score, which makes it easier to apply for a new card or increase the credit limit of the card. On the other hand, if your credit score is low, it is often difficult to pass the card screening, the credit limit cannot be raised forever, or you cannot sign a lease contract.

If you just moved to the U.S., you usually don’t have a credit score. No matter how much you own a good credit card history in Japan, if you don’t own one in the U.S., it won’t be reflected in your credit score in the U.S.

So, if you’re wondering how to make a credit card, here are two ways to get your first credit card in the U.S.

Secured Credit Card

The first credit card we introduce is a secured credit card.

This card can pass the card screening by paying a deposit to the card company, providing that you are capable of paying off your credit card usage. The deposit you make will be used if you are unable to pay off your card debt, cancel your card, or be refunded if the card company trusts you.

It varies depending on the institution, but it is usually possible to switch to a credit card in about six months to one and a half years after using a secured credit card.

At first, I created a secured credit card at a credit card company called CapitalOne and gradually increased my credit score.

Japanese Credit Card Company

Here’s how to get an American credit card through a Japanese credit card company.

This card is generally for ones who do not have an American credit score but have a credit history of Japanese credit card. You can use this card to firmly increase your credit score in the United States.

How Do I Improve My Credit Score?

If you just move to the U.S. and get a credit card or if you want to increase your credit score from now on, here would be some tips to increase your credit score.

Make Repayments in Timely Manner

If you want to get a better credit score, it’s important to use your credit card once a month at least to pay it back by the due date.

You don’t have to repay the full amount of your repayment balance every month. If you pay back the minimum amount or more by the due date, it won’t have a bad impact on your credit score. However, credit card interest rates are generally high, so I strongly recommend that you pay off the full amount monthly as much as possible.

If you repay it manually, you may forget to repay it, so tie your bank account and credit card so that it is automatically debited.

FICO, one of the biggest credit score companies in the U.S., has announced that payment history affects 35% of its total credit score.

Limit Usage to 30% or Less

If you have a credit card, you may tend to spend up to the full limit, but keep it below 30% of the limit, and once you get closer to 30%, pay it back and allow room for the limit.

Credit card limit utilization is as important in FICO’s credit score calculations as repayment history, and it has been announced to affect 30% of credit scores.

Don’t Apply for New Credit Cards Frequently

If you get your first credit card and increase your credit score, you will receive credit card membership application from various credit card companies. This is good evidence that your credit score is getting better, but applying for and getting a new credit card is not only a waste of annual fees but it also has a bad effect on your credit score.

It is because when you apply for a new credit card, the credit card company will examine your credit history and all the research records will remain in history. Credit companies can view this record, so if you know that you have applied for multiple credit cards over a period of time, they may consider that you are trying to apply for a large number of credit cards due to lack of money, and your application would be probably refused.

Keep Your First Credit Card

In general, the longer you retain your credit card, the better your credit score tends to be. Thus, even if you are no longer using your first credit card, it is recommended to keep it without canceling your card.

Monitor Your Credit Score Daily

Mint, which I introduced in another article, offers a free credit score display that you can check at any time. Checking your credit score on a daily basis helps you to increase your awareness of improving your credit score. Mint also has a function to notify you when personal information is leaked.

Bottom Line

In this article, I explained the circumstances of credit cards in the United States, but how was it? If you have a excellent credit score, it can be great help when you’re making a big purchase, such as a car and a house. It’s nice to see your credit score grow every day!

Improve your credit score and live a convenient life in the U.S.!