I briefly mentioned what is credit in this post where I was describing how I applied for SSN. Well, I read many tutorials and watched many videos, how to build a good credit score from scratch (without any history) Below is my strategy for the first six months.
In order to build good credit, I will use two secured credit cards. The Secured credit card means that the bank will give you a credit line but you have to deposit usually the same amount of money to a bank that is your credit line. Let’s show an example: Your limit is $1,000, then you have to deposit to bank $1,000. After some time (typically 6-12 months) bank reviews your history and gives you your deposit back and you get a regular credit card if the bank sees that you are a responsible borrower.
What will I do to build good credit?
use only 10-30% of credit line from both cards
Pay my credit cards off in full every month
Pay my credit cards on time every month
Have two secured cards from different banks or credit unions
I applied for a secured credit card in Bofa with a limit of $1.000 three weeks ago. Today I increased my limit to $5.000. I called the bank and the banker asked me about my monthly income and rent I pay. I also already had enough funds on my checking account (at least $4,000) because how I said the bank will take this money as a safe deposit.
no monthly or annual fee
$5.000 limit – will use only $500-1,500 every month
3% back from gas
2% back from grocery purchase
23% Interest – I don’t care about interest because I will pay the whole credit in full every month
Tonight, I also applied for a second card from Capital One entirely online. They wanted me to send a copy of my passport and a copy of my SSN because I am not a US citizen or resident. Now I am waiting for the result from Capital One.
no monthly or annual fee
$1.000 limit – will use only $100-300 every month ($1,000 was max limit at the moment)
27% Interest – I don’t care about interest because I will pay the whole credit in full every month
I didn’t really explain my strategy but trust me I spent a couple of hours putting this strategy together so let’s see if is a good strategy in a couple of months!
For the American citizens is nothing extraordinary to have this nine-digit SSN. The parents in the US. usually apply for their children’s social security number in the hospital after birth. This number lives with his or her holder for whole life, literally.
Who can apply for SSN?
Generally only US citizens, permanent residents (green card holders) and non-citizens (foreigners) who has authorization to work in the US. may apply for SSN.
Why is SSN so important?
SSA – Social Security Administration is responsible for tracking all your life earnings. All your records are connected to your SSN and when you retire, the SSA calculates your benefit payments according to your contribution to the system.
Most importantly your credit or credit history is connected to your SSN and if you don’t have SSN you cannot build credit. I can truly tell you that without SSN is life in the US very difficult. I don’t mean if you are a student for one year or on vacation for two weeks. If you are here for a longer time then it is problem because without SSN you cannot build credit and if you don’t have the credit you cannot apply for a credit card, car loan, mortgage. In most cases, you will have a problem applying for a lease (I tried to apply for a 1-year lease in two places and they told me it is not possible without SSN) If you have a good credit score the lenders consider you a responsible person and they will lend you money with low interests. Honestly whole of America live on depth and if you are not a dollar millionaire you will live on the debth too 🙂
How did I apply for my SSN with E-2 visa?
It was a story. The next day after my arrival I gathered all necessary documents for applying for my SSN. I needed:
Passport with valid visa (your visa must allow you to work in the US. With the E-2 visa that I have I can legally work in my business so I am eligible to apply for SSN)
Form I-94 is arrival record that says when did you arrive in the US. Visit offical website
Form SS-5 is the application for SSN. You can download it here
I Applied only for I-94 and downloaded it for free. Then I filled Form SS-5 and printed both documents in the closest UPC store (you can print your documents there if you don’t have a printer)
I went to the nearest SSA in Torrance and when I arrived I found out that all offices in the US. are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 On the door was the number for emergency requests. I called this number several times without any luck. After 2 hours of calling, I was finally able to speak with an employee SSA. She told me that I can apply only in person and asked me many questions and put me on the list of applicants. Then she added wait for two weeks and we will call you with the date of your appointment. Well, I waited two weeks and nobody was calling. I was frustrated and called them every day and finally, they asked me if I wanna come the next day? I said definitely and the next day I applied for my SSN in that office (they only open for invited applicants) They gave me confirmation and I told me to wait, your SSN card will arrive by mail in one week. Well, it arrived in two weeks but it arrived, finally! I’ve got my SSN and I already opened my first personal bank account and secured credit card in the US. In some next posts, I will share my strategy on how to build the best credit in the shortest time!
Recently I described how to open a business bank account in the US. Today I will show you a fast and cheap way to send money from your country to your bank account in the US. Let’s imagine that you are starting for instance an online business from abroad. I mean you are not present in America yet but you already incorporated business and opened a bank account. You need to pay some business expenses and sometimes you have to add money to that bank account. Or even you can be already in US but you need more money so you send and transfer your savings from your currency.
I use service TransferWise and I can tell you it works perfectly. It is cheap, fast and I would say secure. I have never had any problems. It is completely online!
It is easy to sign up and there is no monthly fee. You only pay when you send the money.
How do they work? I guess that TransferWise has bank account almost in every country. So you can conveniently send money to them from your currency. Let’s imagine that you are from Germany and your currency is the euro. You wanna get exactly $1000 to your American bank account so you set up that amount of money in your account. At this moment it is approximately 853 euro and the fee is less than $6 for this transaction. I guarantee you it’s far cheaper than using a standard bank transfer from german bank to the US bank. So you set up the amount of money, then add recipient (can be you) and decide wheater you send a standard bank wire or pay with credit or debit card (it is slightly more expensive but faster) Finish transaction and save or print screen the transaction (just for your safety) Usually during 2-3 business days you can expect money on your US bank account.
Just be careful when you are adding an account and routing numbers.
I hope there are plenty of similar services but I believe that TransferWise is one of the famous ones and it works properly.
Remember this is not only for the business you can always use it as a person. You can send money to your friend, to your family, whatever.
Hope it helped you guys and ask me in comments below!
This could be very tricky and there is no general advice. At first, I will tell you the story of how I successfully opened bank account for my US LLC and at the end of the article some summary. In 2017-2018 I was in Toronto on Working holiday visa in Canada. I decided to establish my first US company and because of tax benefits, I formed LLC fully online in Wyoming. After receiving ITIN number I wanted to open bank account. Without bank account, it’s hard to start any business especially today in the modern world when you need somehow receive payments from your customers right. I remember I wanted to open a bank account in some Wyoming’s bank so I called some banks and sent many emails and thought they would be able to open by phone or online. Every call or email started similarly: We can open a bank account for your company if you have SSN. If you don’t know what SSN is read this. Of course, I did not have SSN as a foreigner.
Okay, what now? I had Wyoming LLC but cannot open bank account from Toronto. I considered the option I would fly to Wyoming and try to open a bank account in person. Flights were very expensive so I decided to rent a car and go to Niagara Falls in state of New York. It’s only 1.5 hours by car. That day I visited over 5 different banks and they had usually two requirements.
The company is officially registered in NY state as a domestic or foreign LLC
You as a person can prove your personal US address
Sometimes they wanted SSN
I was desperate because in less than a week I was going back to Europe and definitely wanted to have prepared US company for some business including bank account.
Finally, I visited Key Bank and talked to the nice bank clerk and she told me that they only want to that the company is registered in NY. I was happy and tell her I’ll be back when my LLC is registered in NY. During the way back to Toronto I checked Niagara Falls.
After arriving I immediately registered my WY LLC in state NY as a foreign LLC. We will talk about this topic, what is domestic and what is a foreign LLC in a different post. A few days later I visited that bank branch again and successfully opened checking bank account and apply for my first debit business card!
This story might sound crazy and it is. But trust me I heard many similar crazy stories from other entrepreneurs that it wasn’t easy for them to open bank account.
Before you want to open bank for you US business have prepared this:
form business entity such a LLC or another different type of company
have physical address for your company in US
have already ITIN number for your company
visit banks in person in the same state where your company is registered
bring personal IDs such a passport or driver’s licence
bring articles of organization
I hope this article will help you to avoid the same struggle that I had!
I also found this company. They should be able to open a bank account for your US company when you are not US resident. They claim it is possible online and you don’t have to be even in person in the US. However, I don’t have personal experience with them so search more by yourself.