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How To Build Credit in the USA

Tanya Freedman, CEO Connetics USA: Hi everybody, and welcome. Friday, so it must be Connetics USA weekly show, onwards and upwards. Everything that a healthcare worker needs to know about living and working in the United States. I am your host, Tanya Freedman, and today's topic is credit. A very big topic, very important topic. We're going to be talking about what is credit? We're going to talk about, as an international healthcare worker, how to establish credit, how to build it and how to manage it. So we're really excited today. Please join us and watch until the end of the show because we have a surprise. Our NCLEX Raffle, who we're going to be paying for the NCLEX scholarship for the exam cost. Please watch until the end of the show and your lucky name may be drawn. Today we have an expert panel of guests who are going to be joining us to talking about this important topic.

We have Blair. Hi, Blair, welcome. I'm on mute. Hi everybody. How are you? Hi, Blair, nice to see you again. Bye, Rod. Hi, Rod, welcome. Hi, Tanya. Good morning. How are you? Good morning. So we are really excited to get started this morning. Before we do, I just wanted to share with everybody to apply online USA. We have thousands of positions all over the United States and our recruiters are on call right now to speak to you about any positions or opportunities that you might be interested in across the United States.

So we're going to get started. Let's start off with introductions. Blair, who's no stranger to Onwards and Upwards. But Blair, do you want to go ahead and introduce yourself? Sure. For those who don't know me, my name is Blair Blanchard, and I am the community development officer in Vince relations for Advancial Federal Credit Union. I am actually located in Louisiana, about as south of Louisiana as you can get. But we have a fantastic program for people in your situation in order for you to gain access to financial products once you arrive into the United States. Thank you, Blair.

And we can't wait to pick your brains because there's a lot of information that nurses need to know about credit. I mean, I came from South Africa. We don't even know what the word credit meant. So we can't wait to find out more about Blair's perspective. Rod, do you want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

I'm Rod Griffin. I'm senior Director of Consumer Education advocacy for Experian. Most people know us as one of the big three credit reporting companies in the US. So we are all about credit and credit scores and all of the things that are so crucial to being able to get access to financial services. And that's what we hope to share. Okay, perfect. Thank you, Rod.

So if you have any questions for Blair or Ron and we have two genetics nurses who are going to be joining us in a minute as well. Sharing their experience about what is credit when they come to the United States and how to establish it, how to build it, how to manage it. So please put your questions into the chat and we'd be happy to get through as many questions as possible on this very important topic. I see Fernando has a question about IELTS. So, Fernando, we can speak to you about that. Denise is saying, I can't hear. So, Denise, I hope you can hear now. Louise is saying, so glad to be part of the Connetics growing family. Louise, we love that you're part of our family. And this is free information for our Connetics family and for nurses and health care workers around the world looking to come to United States.

Mac is saying, Hi. Denise is saying, Can I apply Connetics from Turkey as a Turkish nurse, Denise, all nurses are welcome. So please go ahead and apply to Connetics USA nursing recruitment agency and apply. And our team will be on hand. Lots of people online. Rosemary is saying hi. Louise is excited for today's topic. Eugene has a great question to start off with. So Eugene is asking, what is the importance of building credit? And I think there before we even ask that question, let's see what is credit?

Let's talk about the basics. What is credit? Okay, great. So the US. Banking system assigns their citizens and people here a credit score. And that credit score is basically your likeliness of being able to pay something back from what you have borrowed. So, as simple as we can put it, your credit score, the higher it is, the more likely you are able to balance good credit, healthy credit, unhealthy credit, and that you are able to those items back and have actually the understanding and the finances to back the money that you have borrowed. You're assigned essentially a credit score based on your credit report. And I said last time, your credit report is kind of like your medical history, your medical record. And from your medical record, you get a diagnosis. So your credit score is essentially your diagnosis. You want to make sure that your medical history is healthy as well. That way you have a better diagnosis if you even need one.

So if your credit report and your credit history is healthy and well balanced and well maintained, then your credit score will be as well. And there are things like such as good credit and healthy credit. And not all credit is bad credit. And so that's an understanding that a lot of people don't have, because just the word credit alone is very scary for some people. Yeah. And for those healthcare workers that are watching around the world, just to know that for many Americans, they don't understand what credit is. The importance rod is not in his head there how to establish it, how to manage it. A really important topic today.

We are joined now by Roqueza. Hi, Roqueza. Hello. Hi, everyone. Good evening or good morning. Good morning. Welcome. We are excited to have you on the show, but you want to go ahead and introduce yourself and give our viewers a little bit about your background. Hi, everyone. My name is Roqueza, and yes, I am a Connetics baby. I have been here in the US. For four years now. And first I was assigned in Florida. After my contract in Florida, I have become travel nurse. So I have been traveling all around the US as a PCU, as a Med Church Med liners, living the dream that everybody who's watching would love to be enjoying.

Roqueza, in terms of credit, what was the first time? Can you think back?  What was the first time you ever heard the word credit? At first, I have been hearing about it when I was in the Philippines for my sister, but I have not really had the grasp of what it's all about until I came here, because Connetics care of everything. So when I came here so Connetics is empty for us. When we came here on the first week, the credit card company came to our hospital and gave us a credit card. So really it was nothing that much. It was not such a big deal for me. But when I started to buy my first car, buy my house, that's when it hit me, oh, I need financial identity. I need this credit history. That's when things get really stuck in to me. Okay, I think rattle.

Maybe if you're not talking, put yourself on mute, because there seems to be a little bit of noise interference. Rod, before we talk about the intricacies of credit and the good and the bad credit and how to manage it and all of those important details, can you explain to our viewers just a little bit about what is a credit score and the three different bureaus and how they operate? Sure. And we talked about and Russia touched on it that credit is having a credit history is really the key to unlocking your financial access in our country. So building a credit report means that you have to have a credit account. Once you have a credit account, which is either a credit card or it could be a loan like Ruke, it sounds like she's really doing all the right things.

She has a car in the house that's about using credit well and building a credit history. There are three national credit reporting companies Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. And in the slide, I always explain the credit itself is really an agreement between you and a lender under a contract that specifies when you borrow money, how much you'll repay, repay all that you borrow, plus interest and fees. All the things we know about credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans today, when it comes to a credit report of billing a credit history, it could also involve things like streaming services for even Netflix or Hulu. It could be utility bills like natural gas, water, electricity. It could be your cell phone bill that helps you create and grow a credit history. That credit history is what lenders are going to look at to determine whether or not you will or the risk of repaying a debt as agreed. And they use credit scores to help analyze that information.

So another way I describe it is your credit report, if you're in school is like the paper you do in school, you're the one completing that information. The way you use credit and the way you manage it is your credit history becomes part of that credit report. A credit score is like the grade you receive. It's what the teacher who is like the bank applies. So they use credit scores to analyze the information and credit report to predict the likelihood that you'll repay that is agreed. It's pretty straightforward. Scores are typically a three digit number, usually 350 to 850. But some go higher than that. Some have different scales. There are lots of different credit scores, but you only have three credit reports. So I think the most important thing I could share today is that if you take care of your credit report, take care of your credit history, you're going to have good credit scores.

So worry about the credit report first and foremost. Make sure that you're paying those bills on time, keeping your credit card balances low, and your credit scores will reflect that you'll have good scores. So really pretty simple and to say, sometimes a lot harder to do. Okay, so that's really some common sense. Good advice is worry about your credit report, and your credit score will then take care of itself. Mike. Rod. Yes, absolutely true. And we're joined now by Ryan. Ryan is also an international nurse who has come from outside of the country. Do you want to give a little bit of your background, Ryan, and introduce yourself? Yes. I am Ryan, registered nurse here in Rhode Island. I came here in America, and I am a psychiatric nurse. Ryan, we seem to have a little bit of a WiFi issue there's, like a lag when you're speaking, and I don't know if you maybe want to log in and come back out.

Okay, I'll check that live, everybody. That's what happens when it's live. It's kind of fun. So hopefully Ryan will log back in and we can sort out his WiFi issue. Okay, so, Rod, you spoke about the difference between a credit report and a credit score request. Did you know about that when you first came here? The difference between a credit report and a credit score? You are mutrakaza. All right. No, I did not have any idea what the score is all about, because when I heard about the credit scoring, I thought, okay, I have a good credit history in the Philippines, so I think that should count.

But when I came here, I didn't know that I would be going back from. So really, I had no idea what that scoring was all about. Okay, so that raises a good question, which is coming from Mark, who says, will my credit score here in the UK be considered when I moved to the US? Blair no. Your credit score, whether good or bad, does not cross borders. Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, it does not translate over to the US, which can be I did, too. Experian is actually a British company, so I love that question. We're the world's largest information services provider. We actually operate in 40 different countries. And our former CEO of North America actually immigrated from the UK, worked in England, had obviously a very strong credit history in England, came here, he had to start all over again.

So our own employees, their credit reports don't transfer across national boundaries for lots of reasons. Laws are different, the content in them can be different. The way that people are identified can be different. For example, in the US, Social Security numbers are one key Identifier. In England and UK, they actually use voter roll registration. So that doesn't translate well. So your credit report exists for you in the country where you are living and working, but it won't travel with you across national boundaries. Yeah, unfortunately. So I think the good news about onwards and upwards for Mark and those nurses who are watching is that if you ask the question, at least when you get here, you know that it's not going to help you having a credit score in another country. And in fact, I came from South Africa. I was an immigrant myself. I came here 22 years ago. I'd never heard the term credit because we didn't well, in those days. I don't even know if it's changed in South Africa now.

But we didn't know anything about credit. I always tell the story. I went to go with my husband and my two little kids to buy a car, and everyone was all excited and the salesman was excited and we went I think it was Toyota. And we picked out the con, we picked out the color, and everyone was all above with happiness and our first kind, America. And the salesman came back with this long face afterwards and he was like, you don't have credit. And my husband and I looked at each other and were like, what is that? We never even heard the term before.

Ryan when you came to the United States, did you know about credit? Well, I heard that from my parents, from my family, about the credit. But I learned that when I came here in America that if you're going to purchase and if you're going to open the town, you really need to have credit score. And that's how you prove that you are worthy to purchase things here in America. You heard it? Yeah. Okay. So if you are watching from outside the United States now, this show is for you. This is why we do this, because we don't want you to come here like my husband and I did or Ryan did and get a bit of a shock, like, oh my gosh, what is all of this about? And for many, immigrants come here for many reasons, for professional reasons, family reasons, but one is financial. So to come here and think that it's going to be easy to prosper financially and you don't know what credit is, it can be very stressful.

Okay, so Jonathan is watching from the Philippines hoping for the NCLEX Scholarship. Jonathan, we hope you get the NCLEX scholarship, too. So please apply to and our team on our hand to speak to you and see if you would qualify for the NCLEX Scholarship. Okay, so Louise has a question, and this is a good question about moving on to the next segment, which is establishing credit. So does newly immigrant nurses are able to get a good credit limit upon arriving in the US. Even without credit history in the US. So, Blair, one of the things that nurses we hear all the time is like, how do I get started? Yes, this is probably one of my favorite things to talk about. I'm so sorry if you've been on here before, because you're going to hear me like a broken record, but you have to do your research and find a financial institution or a lender or a company that has a program specifically designed for people in your situation.

If you walk into any financial institution or bank excuse me, off the street and go in and say, hi, this is my situation, I would like a credit card. You're not going to get a very high limit if you are even able to get the credit card. And your APR is going to most likely be very astronomical. Same for a car loan, same for a mortgage, any lending type products that require credit. Your APR, which is your annual percentage rate, which is the interest that you're going to be paying back, is going to be extremely high because you will put into a tier of people with people that have a very low credit score, being that you do not have any credit.

So what you need to do is find a company, a bank, a credit union, an institution that has a program specifically designed, has a tier individualized for somebody in your situation and has pre approved limits for you guys. So, for example, at advance, our Inbound USA program grants all of the nurses.

And again, you have to be employed through one of our select employers, just like Connetics. But you are guaranteed a $2,500 limit on a credit card, and you are guaranteed a $30,000 limit on an auto loan from there, once you are here and have established residency in the United States, after two years, you are eligible for mortgages. You can get a mortgage earlier if you have enough money to put a down payment. And there are a couple of other requirements, but all of our loan products in that program are designed for people in your situation. They're not a bank trying to take advantage of you or chances are, a bank that may not even be able to do business with you because of their requirements. So the first step in getting started is absolutely doing your research, whether that's going through someone who partners with your company like us, or doing a simple Google search on financial institutions that have programs for immigrants and people relocating to the United States. Okay, great. So I think that answers a lot of people's questions of how to get started.

And I see we have a question from Blake, who's asking, which bank do you recommend when you come to the US with good benefits that can give high credit score? So I think Lee asked that Advance Shell is definitely one of Connetics preferred partners to help international nurses to start establishing credit because it is so difficult for an international person when you come here initially, and there are others as well, but just for you to know that advance is a great partner and does a fabulous job. But to Blake's question, and this question is for you, rod is saying that can give high credit scores.

Now, it's not the financial institution that gives the credit scores, right? Right. Credit reporting companies like Experian, we do the credit reports. There are other companies like FICO is a well known one, Vantage Score and others, and many large banks have their own scoring divisions. They create the algorithms, the formulas that are used to calculate the score. So there are several different players in that cycle. The credit reporting companies, we collect that information and store it. The credit scoring company, the lender asks for the report and they select which scores they want to use.

The scoring companies like FICO then create the algorithms that calculate the scores. And so those scores are based on the information in a report, particularly your account information, which is critical. So what kind of accounts do you have and what are the balances in those accounts? Are they paid on time, that kind of information? There may be, we hope not, but occasionally bankruptcy, public records, but the information of credit reports, all that related, that's what they're looking at. I would add a couple of things in terms of building credit. And I had a couple of slides that I'm all out of order, which usually happens.

Let me interrupt you. Sorry to cut you off, but before we talk about building credit, I just want to speak a little bit more about establishment. Just to get started. As an immigrant, can you explain just the difference between the different companies? I think we have a graphic about that as well. Why are there three different companies? Because that kind of adds a whole other of layer of confusion for an already confusing process. Yeah. So there are three credit reporting companies Experian, Transient, and Equifax, which is the three major companies. It's kind of like in the US.

We have or had three major car companies. We have four General Motors and Chrysler. And it's historical in part experience. When it was founded where I am here in Texas by a man named Jim Shelton, that grew into TRW, which eventually became Experian, and it kind of covered the western part of the United States. Trans Unions, based in Chicago. It kind of grew up the same way, but covered the middle of the country. And Equifax is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Southeast and kind of covered the eastern part over the course of about 100 years. So they all kind of came into being around the early 19 hundreds, and they eventually grew to be competitive on a national level.

So there are three national credit reporting companies. We all do basically the same thing, but we all do it a bit differently. And we compete on the quality of the work we do. So our credit reports that experience, we believe are more accurate, more complete, more thorough, and that's kind of what we all compete on. But that's why you have three different credit reports. It's a national system. It's voluntary. Lenders don't have to report to the credit reporting companies. Almost all of them do, but they don't have to. What the federal law says is if they choose to report what they have to do when they report, that information has to be accurate. It has to be updated, it has to be disputable, all of those sorts of things. Okay, thank you, Rod.

That's really helpful to kind of give just a background to the process. So Mark has a question. Is it advisable to apply for an American Express card while I'm here in the UK? So is that helpful? So, Raqueza and Ryan, before we talk about building credit or managing credit, a little bit about establishing credit, how did you go about that? So, Ruqueza, let's maybe start with you. How did you establish credit when you first arrived here? You're unmuted Ruqueza yes. Okay. Well, as I have said earlier, Connetics gave it to us when we arrived in the hospital during the orientation week. Two credit card companies were invited and gave everybody on credit cards. So it was for us because connectivity had it laid down at the table. It's very easy for us. I got two credit cards on the first week of my work, and then the hospital gave us a letter that we can show to the car company, like an assurance that we are part of the hospital so we can get a car. So most of my batch mates bought their first car on the first week. So it's not very easy for us. Okay, good. So it sounds like it wasn't too stressful, which is good. We love to hear that.

Blair, as to Mark's question, is it advisable to apply for an American Express credit card while I'm here in the UK? Is that advisable and does that help with credit? When you arrive in the United States, most credit card issuers are going to have the requirement that you have a US address. That's probably going to be the first requirement. I would also very much stress do not have your mindset on just an American Express card. I know that. There's American Express, there's Mastercard, there's Visa, there's Discover Card. There's A Ton. But you really, really need to do your research and you really need to focus on a card that does not have an astronomical APR for somebody in your situation. A card that has no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees are going to be huge for you guys.

So you don't want a foreign transaction fee. And then even a reward system is something that you would want to take advantage of. So for every purchase you get rewards, it can redeem cash back and also make sure that it's a card that you can use in a variety of places. Some businesses, some areas do not do business, they won't accept certain types of cards. So it's very important to not only do your research on a financial institution, but do your research on the type of credit card that you're using and more so than just what the Apr is, because like I said, you want to look at all of those fees, balance transfer fees, for transaction fees, annual fees, all of those sorts of things.

So honestly, I'm not familiar with American Express, other than that they're a credit card company. We offer a different card, but I would make sure that we aren't just focusing on the first card and don't fall for the scheme of what a company can promise you based on your first Google search. I mean, it takes understanding that, in all honesty, US citizens, again, don't fully comprehend because a lot of times people grab credit cards and apply for credit cards, any credit card they can get their hands on just to be able to open a line of credit to bail themselves out of debt by putting them into more debt. So your average American does not understand the banking system, much less how credit works, but it takes a lot of research and a lot of understanding. Thank you.

I agree with everything Blair said that I had one thing that might be beneficial. And I think Blair is absolutely right about not focusing on a single card provider. But one of the advantages potentially from establishing a credit history is that if you are working with an international bank, they may be able to transfer that account to the US operation when you move and then that would be potentially reported. So it could help establish a credit report. So that might be one advantage. But again, considering everything Blair said as well. Thank you, Rod. That's really interesting.

So, Mark, and for any other viewers that are watching that might have had that question about, like, an international credit card, I think that's very helpful information. Thank you for sharing that. Okay, so and Jensen is asking, how can we contact Advancial? Then? When can we apply for an advance shell service? This is Jansen from Qatar. Janssen, your Connetics representative will make an introduction to advance not at the right time when you are in the immigration and licensing process so that we can help you get started and establish credit before you even get here. We don't want you to be like me. When I came here, and I don't even know what it was. I didn't know how to apply for a card, and it was not a good situation.

Ryan, can you share with everybody before we talking about managing or building your credit, can you talk a little bit about how you established credit and maybe what somebody can learn from you? Okay. I came here in 2017, and then my family, they are the one who helped me and introduce me about credit score, credit history, and applying for credit cards. And then based on what they're saying and based on my research, I was able to establish a certain graph of what is it all about. So I started first with card from shop, and then my bank also open up my credit card.

In my bank, I really have no problem with the credit card because I always pay on time. Even though you have credit card. But they say I use it, and then it appears how much I spent. I just pay it on time. Because credit and debt and loans, why would I have to use it? Because in the Philippines, I am used to this cash based thing to develop and establish my credit. And I was able to have a good credit score. Actually, I was able to buy a house after a year, I called my bank. I think after a year in work, my co worker at CAN was being applied by my coworker because she bought a house. Congratulations, you are able to buy a house.

And then my coworker said, oh, you can also buy a house here a nurse. And I said, really? I just came here a year ago and said, don't worry, just ask your bank. If the bank don't allow you, it's pay, right? So it made me say, yeah, you know what? That's right. It just call the bank. If the bank would not allow me, then that's fine. I mean, nothing will be lost, right? So I called the bank the next day, and then the next day, can I apply for each loan? And then the bank said, Ask questions. Let me ask you, how long have you been working? I said a year. And how long have you been here in the US? Like a year. And then the bank said, oh, you should be at least two years here in America. You should be two years in your work. But anyway, we can still qualify.

And then I submitted, I think my pay staff. I submitted w two. And then after this they called. Hey, congratulations. Yeah, I started and then I said how much I needed. They give me a good amount. Wow. I was so excited. And then yeah, I was able to buy a house and I'm just here for like one year and six months. Wow, that is so inspirational. Ryan. What a great story. My mortgage interest was 5.7. That was in 2018. So I came here 2017, I got the house at 2018 October, and then after two years I refinanced my house like in 2020. And then from 30 years I make it to 15 years. And for a 1.5 interest rate, according to my bank, I am the lowest interest in their history.

Wow, it's so funny because from 30 years it was down now to 15 years. And my mortgage is now actually isn't it? From 30 years to 15 years it should be higher, but my mortgage becomes even lower because it's 1.5 interest rate and right. My credit score is more than 800. Wow. It's not funny. That's impressive. Ryan wow, that is a great success story. And I know there are so many healthcare workers outside and inside the United States that we're looking at you and thinking, wow, that is really inspirational. And lacked are really living the American dream. So thank you for sharing that story because not many nurses are able to accomplish that in such a short space of time.

That's more unusual and really speaks a lot to your financial habits. What I do is I work a lot. I work a lot because I love working. I like my job as a nurse. That's why I'm making good money. Secondly, I am really allergic to loans and debts. My only debt right now is my mortgage. Other than that, I pay everything. And then I try to have a notebook of my spending. Like everything, every detail, every month I try to make sure that I am on this budget. I have some splurge myself. I have now almost eleven credit cards, but I use it. But I pay it on time.

It's a different credit card, but I pay everything on time. Wow, well that's really impressive Ryan. And I think we've got to do another show on how to budget and do the financial plan and you got to come back and give us a bit more detail about that because I think that is really I love when you say you are allergic to death. Oh my goodness. Because for many international nurses when they come here and they see all the great shiny things that you can buy can really get themselves into financial debt. Rod that leads us to the next segment, which is really looking at building and managing your credit. Can you talk a little bit about this concept of good and bad debt? Sure. And Ryan has hit on the key to this whole discussion.

I think we all love the idea of being allergic to debt, and credit and debt are two different things, and that's what people don't understand. When we talk about credit, we tend to equate debt with it, but you can have credit and not have debt. So paying those bills off in full each month, but using credit to your advantage is really the key. So Ryan's unlocked the whole thing, but when it comes to establishing credit, there are a number of things you can do. We've talked about a few of them. Getting a card credit card is a good place to start, but if you're just coming to the country, haven't had any opportunity, the first step is creating a credit report.

And that can be challenging because you don't often have access to a credit account right away or someone who can co sign for you or someone who can add you as an authorized user. This is kind of the traditional ways today with Experian. One of the things we've done as a credit reporting company has launched a service called Experian Go. So once you're here, you can enroll in a free app. And if you do not have a credit report, we'll help you create one by identifying information. You take a selfie, a picture of an ID you may need to provide a Social Security number.

That might be a bit of a challenge, but we'll create a credit report for you right away. If you have an existing credit report or after you've created it, we then have a service called Experience Go or Experian Boost pardon me? That lets you add your positive cell phone payments, your positive utility payments, and your positive streaming service payments to your credit report. It's been out about three years now, and it's permission based. You can tell us what you want to include, what you don't, and really simple, it takes about 15 minutes.

We give you a free credit report and a free FICO Eight score when you start so you can see where you are. And we will capture up to 24 months or two years of information for each of the accounts you ask us to add. So it could be your Netflix bill, it could be a natural gas bill, for example, electricity bill. It could be your cell phone bill. So you could add three different accounts and add two years of history for each of them. And what we're seeing is that people, two out of three people will see an increase in their credit scores immediately and on average, about twelve to 13 points. If you are just starting out, you have lower scores. That even increases more. So people with what we call thin credit files, or fewer than five accounts, are seeing increases of up to 19 points on average. So, great way to get started. It's really about getting on the track and running. It's not to get you over the goal or over the score threshold. I was going to tell people, experience Boost isn't meant to give you those last few points to qualify for mortgage.

It's about getting those first few things in your credit history so you can get started in the race. And then it's about doing what Ryan's done. So, great tools to build credit history right out of the gate if you don't have access to traditional accounts. So fairly new in the marketplace. Okay, great. So those are two very important tools, and you heard it here. Onwards and Upwards. Rod I know we have a greater I just want to go over that again, because they're really two important tools, not even just for newly arrived people, but for people who are in the United States already. So I think we have a graphic of the credit Experian Boost, and let's just put that up the app. So just again, you want to give a quick recap of Experian and what that will help with. Sure. Experience Boost.

It was created because we were trying to find a way to help people who are what we call credit invisible, who have no credit history at all, establish a credit report for the first time so that they could begin that process of building their credit worthiness. And I think there's another slide that gives them statistics around why that's so important. We know that there are something in excess of 26 million people who are credit invisible in the US. It largely affects communities of color. And so trying to find ways to overcome those barriers to access and to help people achieve financial inclusion is what that's really all about.

And to do that, you have to have a credit report to get started. If you don't have a credit report or credit history, the banks aren't going to be able to qualify you for new accounts. You're not going to be able to access lower cost financial services. You won't be able to get a 1.5% interest rate. I couldn't get a 1.5% interest straight on my house. Call me afterwards to find out how you did that. Sorry. Before we finish on Experian Go, is that a product that a new immigrant nurse can use, Experian Boost? Yes. It may require a Social Security number, so that could be the tripping point. But once you have a Social Security number, you most definitely can. Okay, and then before we finish up on the segment ,

Let's just talk a little bit again about Experian Boost so that people can just understand the difference. So I know we have a graphic again on Experian Booster. Put that up again. And if you can just give a two second summary on this, because I just don't want people to get confused between the two. And go is what creates a credit report. Experian Boost, anybody can use if you have a cellphone account, a utility service account. So if you have a water bill, a natural gas bill, electricity bill, or if you have streaming services, you can add those to your credit report. You just go to Experian Boost and follow the instructions there, and you can tell us which of those accounts you want to add. It's important because historically, those kinds of organizations utility companies, cell phone companies, streaming service companies don't report positive information.

So if you don't pay your utility bill or you don't pay your streaming service bill, I'll send it to collections and it can hurt your credit score. We do about three years of research and just believed in the before we did the research that people who are paying those bills on time probably are better credit risk than it shows because they don't have very much credit history. And so helping people add that positive information shows what their true credit worthiness is, and that is proving to be very powerful. Okay, great. Thank you. I would like to add to this. I'm not an employee of Experian by any means, but advocate love it. Experience boost is a phenomenal tool. We recommend it all of the time. I use it personally, actually.

But your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. So you want to get as much acknowledgement and as much good payment history as possible. And if that involves your Netflix account or your water bill or your gas bill or your at and bill, allow that to do it and help you establish and even boost and maintain your credit. It's one of the best tools that there is out there to do this. Thank you, Blair. Blair, just to follow up on that, after opening a bank account and getting a credit card, making some on time payments, as Ryan said, we've got to be allergic to debt and make your payments on time, how many months does it take for an immigrant to get their first credit score?

All right, maybe you can answer that question. Yeah, and it depends. It gets kind of technical. But when you have your first credit card account, when it's reported to us, typically at the end of the first billing cycle. So when your first bill comes due and you pay that bill, we hope that gets reported to us. So that excuse me, shows that positive first payment. So you would have a credit report. But the scoring systems from FICO and others require typically three to six months of activity before that account is actually included in a score calculation. So it could take three to six months in many cases. That's another reason Experian Boost is so helpful, as we automatically have two years of payment information. So what we're seeing with people who actually are beginning to use Experian Go and then immediately add boost, they'll go terrible and get hung up on go, but they use Experian Go and they'll create the report and add the boost payments.

And they can start with no credit history at all in a matter of minutes. Have potentially a score of 680 on a FICO score, or 665, I think is the average. So from zero to not great score, but a starting point with experience, credit reports, and credit history. And you got to start somewhere. You got to start somewhere. But traditionally, it typically takes three to six months for scores to begin to calculate. However, within that three to six months, it starts from day one. So it is completely retroactive, essentially. So you want to make sure that from day one, you're starting with those healthy credit habits, and understanding your credit score is just a little bit of a delay until they get reported, but it doesn't mean the first three months don't matter. Absolutely. Thank you, Bless, for adding that.

That's an important point. So if you are joining the show now, please go to the Connetics USA website and download. We have two articles there. One is how to establish credits for the first time in the United States, and another one on how to build your credit. Raqueza, when you came to the United States, in the beginning, you mentioned that through Connetics had learned a lot about credit, and it wasn't as painful as it might be for some other people coming to the United States. What were the biggest mistakes you made in terms of building and managing your credit? Any advice?

All right, because at that time, I was having good scores like Ryan, and my score was 800 plus. So three years into working, that's the only time I started thinking of buying a car. So I bought a car, and after a few months, I bought a house. So big mistake. Don't buy a car and a house at the same year because it will certainly boost your score down. So do it like buy the car first. If you want to buy a car and then give it a year, then you buy another big purchase because it's certainly going to boost your car down if you are going to buy big purchases at the same year. Okay, so that's a great tip.

Rod, what advice would you give in terms of building your credit when you're making a big purchase, like a car or a home? Yeah. And it's slow and steady wins the race. It's all about being consistent, being allergic to debt, but make sure you're making those payments on time, keeping your balance as low as possible. Pay in full if you can. You don't carry a balance. And then think about the purchases you're going to make. Apply for a lot of credit cards all at once. Ruqueza said you don't want to buy a house and a car and a credit card and all those. You open a card all at the same time because you're taking on a lot of debt all at once.

So kind of plan your purchases, but don't get too hung up in the numbers. Make sure you're taking care of that credit report. If you're trying to figure out how to make your scores better when you get the number, you should also get a series of what we call risk factors, a list of risk factors that are affecting that score the most from your credit report. There are usually four, sometimes five, and they will tell you exactly what you need to work on in your credit history to make your scores better. So get those risk factors, look at the number, understand what that means in terms of risk for you in that particular scale, but then get the risk factors because they empower you to know what you need to do. The number is just a number unless you have information that helps you make changes that you need to change and changes to your credit report. So get the risk factors, that's also really important.

Well, that's a great tip for anyone who's trying to understand credit. It's very confusing and I see that there are a lot of questions coming in the chat about the specifics of how to do that. So thank you for sharing that. Ron, Ryan, I see there's quite a few questions for you in terms of the number of credit cards that you have. Mercy is saying, did I hear eleven credit cards? Rekha is saying I have two cards and my limit together is 7500. At the beginning, you need to buy a lot of things, especially when you rent a house. What I experience is that even though I paid all amount before due date, it is not getting reflected on there any recommendations?

So Ryan, do you want to share any of your advice in terms of credit cards? Okay. About credit card, how to book your credit score. So they say that you have different kinds of credit cards for different purposes. Well, I have credit cards for jewelry, credit cards for different credit cards, and then I usually get this now on my credit score, I usually get one of the high credit. I think it's just merely using it, paying it. Ryan, I'm so sorry. We seem to be having a little bit of a WiFi delay when you're speaking. I think what I heard you saying is paying on time, that's very important.

Yeah, paying your credit cards on time. Every credit card has a deadline, everybody. So you really need to make sure that you're mindful of those dates and paying on time, very good advice, very important. Ryan, thank you for sharing that. No sorry. Ricky has a second question. How can I increase my credit limit? I found that it's healthy to use below 30% of my credit limit, which is very low. Is that accurate? Blair? And what would your answer be to that? Absolutely. So credit utilization is a component of your credit score. You want to make sure that in your total lines of credit that you're using below 30%. I'm so sorry. My children are home. We all have coveted wonderful. If you have COVID, my goodness, I did not look like this yesterday, so I'll just say that.

But credit utilization is a huge component of the credit score, so you would want to definitely keep it under 30%. It's really about understanding the credit score. And I think Ryan is like a very rare case in this exception, but you want to make not all credit cards are made the same. They are not all equal. So when you've unlocked those healthy credit cards out there, that is great. And if you know how to use them, which Ryan has figured that out perfectly, but be careful whenever clicking on every single thing because another component of the credit score is how often you are applying for new credit. So we don't want to signal to Experian or Equifax or any of the bureaus that we are aggressive to be applying for new lines of credit because that can be seen as very risky. It could be seen as trying to obtain as much credit as you can in order to get yourself out of a hole or acquiring more debt to pay off debt. So we don't want too many hard hits on our credit report because that could bring our score down.

So don't try to apply for eleven cards the week you get here or apply for every card you can get your hands on. Just establish that credit, it's slow and steady wins the race. It's going to take some time and we have to go for the right cards and know how to use them in a very healthy way. So new credit is about 10% of your score. Payment history is the biggest component. That's 35%. Just make those payments on time. That's the easiest way to boost your score and to maintain your score. Once you get it to where you need the amounts you have that are owed, again, that's 30%. Length of credit history is 15%. That's going to be low for quite a few people. That 15% is actually really not in a healthy frame until you get to about 35, 40 or older when you're a US citizen.

And then the types of credit in you. So that's like a healthy mix of credit. Credit cards, auto loans, the different types of revolving credit, that's 10%. So there's a lot of components that make up your credit score, but we want to make sure that we're using them healthily. And again, remembering not all lines of credit and credit cards are the same, but a good rule of thumb is to stay below 30%. That's absolutely correct. Okay, so thank you for clarifying that, because that's kind of a technical thing, again, that you can't possibly know as a new immigrant. I'm just looking at the clock. I'm like, I don't know where the time went because this is such an important topic and there's so much to discuss and so many valuable tips and pointers that we're getting from this expert panel.

Ron, I know that just to finish off, we have a slide that talks about the ten top rules for managing your credit. Can you, real quick, in the next few minutes talk us through that and just summarize that graphic and what is needed in order to build and manage your credit? We're going to put that slide on the screen now for everybody, and we will be putting that in the chat as well. Sure. And a lot of what we talked about is here. The first thing you have to do is establish a credit report or credit history. Without that, you can't make any progress. You should always pay as agreed. And we talked about utilization rate, that balance to limit ratio, keeping that as low as possible. It's not about how many credit cards you have, it's about how you use the ones you do have.

Which gets us to number three. Having a credit card, not necessarily eleven, but one or two will do. And then use those cards to make a small purchase each month. Five or $10, $15 paid in full, don't carry any balance at all is ideal. And that will show that history. It will keep your balances low. And because it's a credit card, you decide how you're going to use it. You decide how much you're going to pay each month. You decide how much you're going to charge each month. So you can pay it in full or the minimum due or something in between. You can max out the card or charges too little. So if you're charging a little and paying in full, that helps builder scores a bit faster.

Be careful when you're thinking about closing accounts, because when you close an account, or particularly credit card account, you're going to lose the available credit limit that goes back to that utilization rate. The math will make your utilization rate go up and that will make your scores drop for a little while. Typically they bounce back up after a few months, but you're thinking about making a major purchase, it's better to leave accounts open, especially if it's in the next three to six months or so.

Be careful when you apply.  As Blair said, you don't want to have lots of accounts that you've applied for all at once. That's a sign of risk. Why are you taking on so much debt all at once? Time is essential. Credit scores are looking not only at where you are today. But what has been the history over time so you can catch up on late payments. Make sure that things are current. And the longer you're consistent and I always tell people credit is all about being dull and boring because the more consistent you are. The bigger the you're in in terms of paying things on time and not having a lot of debt. The better your scores are going to be. And then there are a couple of other common sense things, but we also ask people to share what, you know, what you learn, because the more we can help each other, the better. So that's kind of the one I was cap off with. Thank you, Rod.

So I think that really kind of ties everything together at the end of what are the different factors and the different rules for building and managing your credits. And that's not just for new immigrants, but really for anyone living in the United States and hoping to grow and as Ryan and Raqueza are, live the American dream.So, final words from the panel. Ruqueza, let's start with you. What would you say is your best advice to any new immigrant? Or can everybody hear me? Yes, we can hear you. Okay. I would just like to remind everybody that we should do not live beyond your means. Do not make a big purchase because everybody's doing it. Just plan your finances well and go with the flow, but do not go beyond what you cannot afford. So that's the best secret of all. I love Vetra Casa. Best secret of all. Thank you for sharing.

Rod, what would you say is your best advice, final piece of words of wisdom for anyone starting out on their credit journey. Yeah, being with Experian, I would say check your credit report, know what's in it, and use the tools that are available to establish it, because it's going to be a critical part of being able to achieve your financial goals and dreams. So get your credit report. You can get it free every week if you want, but I use that information to help you reach your goals and dreams. Make sure that it's there to work for you. Thank you. Thank you, Rod. And thank you for coming on Today and for educating so many people around the world who really know nothing about this topic. And it's such an important topic. And we will put that link into the chat as well as some information about experience boost and experience go. Just some great tools that have been shared on today's show.

Lee, what are your final words of advice? The pulls of wisdom about credit? This is my favorite topic, but educate yourself as much as you possibly can. Educate yourself on the financial institution that you're joining. Educate yourself on the types of credit cards that we learned today. Educate yourself on the different types of bureaus and exactly what makes up a credit score. And then again, educate yourself on exactly how to build that credit and then maintain it once you get it there, because there's no point in building a great credit and establishing credit if you don't have the understanding on how to maintain it. You always want to aim for really great credit and have a really healthy credit report. Like you said, you want to write a really good paper and get a really good grade and you want to be consistent with that.

I am totally fine with being the dull and boring person when it comes to credit. I talk about it in daily life and personal life. I am probably the most boring, but I have a very good understanding on how it works. And once you can fully grasp that, it makes making purchases much easier. You're much more strategic on when you're using your credit card, if you should be using your credit card, which makes it easier to budget. And again, live within your means. We used to say keeping up with the Joneses, but lately some people don't know what that means. So then we say keeping up with the Kardashians. But whoever you're trying to keep up with, don't live within your means. Stay focused on your goals.

Don't try to compete with the other people who look like they have it all together, because when you come to America, it's a very consumer based society. So all of the shiny things, like I mentioned earlier, the advertisements, everything that you're going to see, the credit card ads, it's going to be very enticing. But as long as you're educated and you're asking the right people the right questions, I think that you'll do really well. Thank you, Blair. And with advancial help, it really does make a huge difference. And we don't think you're boring at all. We know sometimes credit can seem like a little bit of a dry topic, I think, as Rod said. But it's such an important topic, so it's really important, as everybody has said, to educate yourself. And Carmen is saying in the chat, it's such a great thing that you're doing. He has such useful information. So, Carmen, I'm glad that you think that it's useful information and helpful.

Ryan, final words, any advice? You are mute. Ryan to educate yourself, you have to know how this credit score works. And then secondly, you have to really live within your means. And lastly, you have to know that credit score is a power, actually, that we are here in America, that credit score is a very important tool for you to save a lot of money. Like for me, I was able to get the lowest interest rate in mortgage, and that saves me, I think, even more $100,000 in the long run because of this credit. So credit score is very important. It's a prestige on your part that you have a high credit. Score that you can buy this in a low interest rate, and it shows a certain kind of yourself when you have a good credit score, it shows a part of who you are, that you are disciplined, and that you are a well responsible person. Yeah, I agree with you 100%, Ryan. And thank you for ending off that show on that note, because it really is, I think, the word that jumps out at me there is empowerment. Yes, educate yourself. And if you are learn how this works, it really empowers you as a person as well as in your general financial management and growth and prospering in the United States. So that was a great way to finish that off.

When I go to a store to open an account, like, I'm wearing a very simple clothes, and then the sales lady will be shocked, oh, you get the higher spread limit. And that feels really good. And that's what we want for everybody who's watching today, is to have that good feeling, like Ryan, like Ruqueza. And thank you so much to everybody today who's been watching and sharing their stories and their tips and pointers on it, how to establish it, and then how to build and manage it.

This has been a fun discussion. Everybody, before you leave, please stay on. And we're going to be sharing the raffle winner of the NCLEX Scholarship. And we say drum roll. So let's see who that is. The final. Congratulations to Ogizi James. Precious. Love that name, precious. Connetics USA is covering the cost of your NCLEX exam. So congrats. We are so honored to be part of your journey. And before you leave us, please make sure that you watch the shows that are coming up.

So we have on the Connetics College. The Connetics College we have Connetics College is every Monday. Everything that a nurse needs to know from a technical perspective. So on the 15th, we have aspire during an NCLEX class on Neurologic system review. And on the 22nd, we've got niners. Urban from niners. I met him when I was in the Philippines last week. So fun to meet Urban, who's going to be doing an OET class on the spot writing. So if you don't know anything about the Connetics College, please watch every Monday. And this is free information for nurses. Tell your friends.

We also have an upcoming onwards and upwards shows. On the 16th, we have the Lefora talk show Global Nursing clinical Differences in the ICU. If you are an ICU nurse, please watch this. On the 16 August, we did a poll and ICU is the first one that people wanted to hear about and the differences between working as an ICU nurse in the US and overseas. So, really important topic. On the 19th, we have our regular show, Immigration Q and A legal expert will be answering your question and answer session. On the 26th, we have a fun show on the cost of living in the United States. Many nurses don't realize that different states have different cost of living. So that's going to be an education on that.

Last but not least, Connetics Initiative, and that is that we have a free English scholarship, whether you're doing the IELTS, whether you're doing the OET, whether you're doing the Pearson Pte from the 1 August, the CGFNS have changed the rule, and you can do other English exams. And all Connetics USA nurses have a free English course that we provide for you. I saw Burt in the chat. Bert is one of our Connetics Nurses who failed the IELTS. I think it was six or seven times, came to Connetics, did our course, and he passed with an eight in speaking and a seven overall. Watch his hero interview for inspiration. We have a free NCLEXscholarship, so apply to Connetics USA and we see if you're eligible for the Connetics Scholarship.

Our $1,000 referral bonus is back. So from the first to the 31 August, if you have a nurse who has passed the NCLEX, please refer them only. This is $1,000 referral fee. Check it out on our website only if your friend or colleague has passed the NCLEX. And then back to Connetics initiatives. Watch and listen to our podcast, Nursing in America. We have a Direct Hire program every Friday, onwards and upwards. Every Monday, Connetics College. And if you are Medic, Medical Lab, Technologist, any Allied needs, please apply to Connetics USA and we would be happy to help you. So thank you, everybody, for joining us. This was such a fun show. Thank you to our panel for your expert advice, and we will be back next week with our next show. Onwards and Upwards, everybody. Thank you for joining us. Bye.