Build Your Credit History After DACA
Building and maintaining a healthy credit score is vital to helping you access future loans. A credit score is essentially a measure of your credit worthiness. Credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies will pull copies of your credit report and score in order to decide whether to extend credit or how much to charge for your insurance premium. As you make future decisions to get a college loan, purchase a car and even buy a dream home, a good credit score is vital to getting the loan you need at a reasonable rate. Learn how to build your credit after DACA.
If you had an ITIN and have already rescinded its use after getting your new new Social Security number, you’ll also want to transfer your credit history. Your credit history is not automatically transferred from your ITIN to your SSN. You’ll need to contact all three credit bureaus and request them to transfer your credit history. (Note: If you have not already rescinded your ITIN, see Step 4 of Getting a Social Security Number with DACA.) Here’s how:
Write a Letter to All Three Credit Bureaus
Write the three main credit reporting agencies and ask them to transfer your credit history to your new SSN. Your letter should explain that you have a new SSN and would like to transfer your credit history from your ITIN to your SSN. Download a template here. The letter should be sent to:
Equifax Information Services
Trans Union Corp
Be sure to include a copy of your ITIN, Social Security card, Employment Authorization Card (work permit), and a recent utility bill or bank statement with your name and current address (or state ID/driver’s license if you have one). This will help to establish your identity and facilitate the transfer.
Check Your Free Credit Reports
The credit agencies should send you a confirmation that they made the changes within 2-4 weeks. However, if they respond with questions or requests for additional information, respond to them completely and promptly. After you receive confirmations that your credit history has been transferred by each agency, you should check your credit reports to confirm that all three credit reporting agencies have made the changes. You are entitled by federal law to a free credit report every twelve months. Access your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Check Your Free Credit Report
Provide your new SSN to financial institutions that you use and ask that your new SSN be applied to your accounts. For bank accounts, you should be able to make the change at your local branch. For credit card companies, call the customer service line to ask about the process.
Consider a Secured Credit Card
If you have a very limited credit history, you can build a stronger credit history by opening up a secured credit card and using it responsibly. A secured credit card works like a typical credit card except that it requires a security deposit. This security deposit acts as collateral for your purchases. If you pay the balance on time each month, your credit score will grow.