American Express Makes Credit History Possible for Newcomers

International credit scores are now accessible for U.S. newcomers.

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American Express has teamed up with Nova Credit to do great things for people abroad. They are making it easier for U.S.-bound individuals to be more quickly approved for credit.

In the past, individuals who move to the States have to start all over when it comes to their credit score. Even if they had amazing finances in their homeland, credit history stops at the border. It can take up to five years for a newcomer to build up their credit again.

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American Express and Nova Credit will change that by translating international credit reports into a U.S.-equivalent credit report and score.

How Does AMEX’s Partnership With Nova Credit Work?

Nova Credit is a cross-border credit reporting startup that can access credit reports from Australia, Canada, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. More countries will be made available over time.

American Express’ partnership with Nova Credit means that immigrants and expats to the U.S.can apply for an Amex U.S. Personal Card and authorize Nova Credit to translate their international credit bureau data into understandable U.S. credit data. If approved and eligible for the American Express card, individuals will have instant access to their account. If they are not approved instantly, it can take seven to 14 business days to manually review the application.

There are a few things to know: You don’t need a social security number or ITIN number, but you do need a residential U.S. address to apply. Depending on the country you choose to leverage your credit history from, your foreign credit bureau report score may be impacted. Applying with the Credit Passport, powered by Nova Credit, will result in a hard inquiry (Mexico) or soft inquiry (Australia, Canada, India and United Kingdom).

Why This Service Is So Important

Think about all the things you use your credit score for. Would you be able to live where you live or drive the car you have if it were not for an established credit history? Newcomers to the States shouldn’t have to start over just because credit history is not as fluid and accessible as currency exchange. If you were a financially savvy person in London, then you should still be considered financially savvy when you change postal codes.

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American Express is the first payments company to offer this service, making it possible for immigrants and expats to buy a home, rent an apartment or own a car. The immediate benefits are amazing, but this partnership will most likely be the road for other great advances too.

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Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a personal finance editor and writer. He has worked in journalism and publishing for nearly two decades before becoming Slickdeals' Personal Finance and Credit Card Editor. Ryan's work has appeared in publications like USA TODAY, NBC News, Sapling and Techwalla. Find him online at

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