New to the US? No credit history? No Problem!
You’re an international who moved to the United States for work or study. The time has now come, you need to buy a car. Deciding to purchase a vehicle is an exciting time for anyone. Whether it’s for a new job, a new home, or a simpler commute, the freedom of having a personal vehicle is a milestone worth celebrating. However, the task may seem daunting when you consider a few things. A car loan is a wise decision for an expat. It may be a necessary step in order to afford a vehicle. The problem is, as an international, you have not had the chance to build your credit history in the U.S. yet. Now, you may be asking yourself… How can I get a car loan without credit history?
Don’t worry! It’s possible. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about getting a car loan in the United States without any credit history.
What is credit and why don’t internationals have it?
Credit is the comprehensive history of all of your financial transactions. By using your Social Security Number, credit bureaus in the United States compile reports using data from lenders, banks, and credit card companies, to name a few.
Credit bureaus issue a Credit Score for anyone with consumer history and a social security number. If you have a credit score, it can range from 350 to 850, with 850 being the highest. Lenders use this score to determine whether or not they want to loan money to you. As well as to determine interest rates based on how good your credit score is.
Most Americans have some sort of credit history by the time they reach adulthood. They have bank accounts opened by family members, shared credit cards with parents, and even student debt that contributes to credit scores.
But if you’re an international who has recently come to the U.S., and haven’t engaged with this kind of consumer behavior yet. You probably don’t have a credit history on the books. Additionally, you may not have a Social Security Number.
What’s the problem with not having credit?
Having no credit isn’t as bad as having bad credit, but it can still make establishing a permanent life in the U.S. challenging. And to make matters more complicated, your credit history does not follow you from your home country.
This makes for one giant challenge for internationals in the US. Most applications for loans, credit cards, mortgages, and apartments require a credit check. Even some employers rely on credit checks to determine a candidate’s reliability in high stakes jobs.
If you are new to the United States, or even just haven’t engaged in consumer behaviors that get reported to credit bureaus, it’s very likely that you do not have a credit score. In the event that you need to borrow money, for example, for a car loan, it can be very challenging to find a lender who understands your unique situation.
How can I get a car loan without credit history?
Whether you’re purchasing a vehicle from a dealer or used from a private seller, often times you’ll need a car loan to make the purchase happen. Sometimes, dealers even use a special car loan rate as a selling tactic. They might offer a low-interest rate special offer, just for you.
If you’re an international without credit history, unfortunately, this offer is probably not for you. Car loans offered by dealerships and banks typically require a social security number, and a minimum credit score to qualify.
So where does this leave you? Is it possible to get a car loan without credit history?
It is. Credit has become the “go-to” tool to evaluate a consumer’s trustworthiness. However, there are other factors that can paint a similar, if not clearer, picture of your financial reliability.
International students and professionals don’t have credit history in the United States yet. They need a lender that will look beyond credit scores to provide them fair car loan rates.
Lendbuzz works to assist international students and professionals with this very challenge. Credit bureaus only use transactional history to give you a score. Therefore, potential lenders only see your transactions. If you don’t have a history of responsibly paying back your debts, or having been lent money before, lenders can consider you a high-risk borrower.
Lendbuzz is different from typical lenders because they look at the whole picture of your financial situation. Your past, present, and future. Lendbuzz considers other factors such as your education, savings, employment and earning potential in the future. That way Lendbuzz is able to determine your financial reliability. Thanks to that, Lendbuzz can offer competitive rates without ever looking at credit scores.
For example, an applicant who has a Master’s degree, a full-time job, and $50,000 in savings could be considered more financially reliable than someone who has no degree, works part-time, and has $500 in savings. This broader understanding of your financial potential helps Lendbuzz make decisions on who gets approved for a loan. Also, at what interest rates money can be borrowed.
How does a car loan from Lendbuzz help build my credit?
Just because Lendbuzz can provide you with a car loan without credit history, that doesn’t mean the benefits stop there.
If you are approved for a car loan with Lendbuzz, then you are already taking the first steps towards building your credit in the U.S. Just like any other lender, Lendbuzz links your loan and payments to your social security number. Then, Lendbuzz reports it to the three major credit reporting bureaus.
Each on-time payment you make with Lendbuzz helps you build good credit. You are demonstrating good financial responsibility with a U.S. based lender. This can be a valuable stepping stone. It can help you in the future. You may want to buy a home with the help of a mortgage, sign an apartment lease on your own, or apply for a credit card.
Your credit score is determined based on money that has been lent to you. Either in the form of a loan or in available funds to spend (like a credit card) or how well you pay your bills on time. If you form good habits with your car loan early on, you will likely have success with your credit in the future.
Not having a credit score just because you’re an expat should never hold you back from getting the car that you need. When you work with a lender like Lendbuzz to finance your vehicle, you can hit the road knowing that you’re already paving the way toward a strong credit future.
If you would like to learn more about how to build credit in the US, download the Lendbuzz Credit Building Guide for internationals.