Navigating the sometimes-complex United States financial system can be daunting when you’re just starting out. NerdWallet has gathered resources to help new immigrants find housing, open bank accounts and build credit so they can ground themselves in their new home.
For many people, a good credit score is necessary to rent an apartment, get a job or buy a car. But the credit system can be a Catch-22: Building a history hinges on having access, but being denied access often means you have no record of the activity you want to build upon. That’s why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to make sure credit reporting is fair for all Americans, including immigrant communities.
One way to build up a credit report is to use a credit card and pay the balance off every month. But new immigrants may not be able to qualify for an account based on their income. They may need a co-signer or be an authorized user on a friend or family member’s account to establish a credit score.
Another challenge is filing taxes for the first time. The process can be confusing and intimidating for anyone, but it’s even harder for people who don’t understand the language or cultural nuances. That’s why it’s important for immigrants to have access to affordable financial services and to develop their own understanding of personal finance concepts. They also need to know how to avoid scams and fraud. new immigrant finance