Will My U.S. Credit History Transfer to Canada?

Quick Answer

While your credit history will not transfer when you move to another country, there are some things you can do to help. Checking to see if your creditors operate in your new home and using your U.S. credit history with lenders can help you get started building new credit.

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Dear Experian,

I am a citizen of both the U.S. and Canada. I currently reside in the U.S., but I plan to move with my family back to Canada. Will my United States credit history transfer to Canada? Are there credit card companies that offer accounts that will transfer from the U.S. to Canada?

- JST

Dear JST,

Unfortunately, your U.S. credit history will not transfer to Canadian credit reporting companies when you move. Each country has its own unique credit reporting system with different laws regulating them, so the information isn't shared across borders.

After you move, you will need to build a credit history in Canada with creditors who report to Canadian credit reporting companies. It may be helpful to make copies of your credit reports from each of the credit reporting companies here in the U.S. so that you can show them to potential lenders for consideration.

Talk with your existing creditors. Some may operate in both the U.S. and Canada and might be able to transfer your current U.S. accounts to Canadian accounts, helping you establish a new credit history more quickly.

How Can Someone Who Has Recently Moved to the U.S. Begin Establishing Credit?

On the other hand, if you have recently moved to the United States from another country and do not yet have credit in your name, here are some steps you can take to begin building your new credit history:

  • Check if your old bank operates in the U.S. If the bank you used at home also operates internationally, they may be willing to transfer your account or approve you for a new line of credit here in the U.S. so you can begin establishing credit right away.
  • Open a secured credit card. If you don't qualify for a traditional credit card right away, you may still be able to begin building your credit with a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you make a deposit into a lender's savings account, and in return you receive a credit card with a credit limit typically equal to the deposited amount. Secured cards are easier to qualify for because the lender uses the deposit as collateral in the event you don't pay your bills.
  • Ask a family member to cosign. If you have a family member in the U.S. with a positive credit history, ask if they are willing to cosign for an account with you. Keep in mind that cosigners are equally responsible for the debt, so any missed payments or high balances will impact their credit as well as yours.
  • Become an authorized user. Ask a family member or close friend if they are willing to add you as an authorized user to their credit card account. Not all lenders report authorized user accounts, so always check with the lender first to make sure they report authorized-user accounts to the credit reporting companies.
  • Sign up for Experian Boost . This free service allows you to add your on-time utility, cellphone and streaming service payments to your Experian credit report. Experian Boost can be especially beneficial for those who have scores below 680 or those who have what is considered a "thin file" of fewer than five credit accounts on their credit report.
  • Create a credit file with Experian Go™. Consumers with no credit may now be able to establish a credit report within minutes and begin building their credit history right away with Experian Go™. Simply download the Experian app and enroll in Experian's free membership to get started.

Thanks for asking.

Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

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