How to Establish a Credit History in the United States

A doctor wearing a white coat and stethoscope sits at a desk

Many physicians and dentists come from around the globe to study in the U.S. thanks to its prestigious educational institutions. While some go back to their country of origin after their education, or somewhere else altogether, many seek to stay in the U.S. long-term and establish their career.

Additionally, many doctors receive their training somewhere besides the U.S. and then move to the U.S. to set up their practice. In fact, there are over 240,000 foreign-trained doctors in the U.S., roughly a quarter of the doctor population.

Together, this results in two large streams of doctors who want to stay in America long-term and seek a visa and potentially citizenship. Thankfully, there are a number of programs available, including the J-1, O1, and H1B visas. These visas help doctors and doctors-in-training stay temporarily and often serve as an important milestone on the way to citizenship or long-term residence. They also help people on their way to establishing a permanent presence in the U.S.

If you want to establish a permanent presence in the U.S., or you’re part of an institution helping students and residents with the same, establishing a positive credit history in the U.S. can be an important part of the process. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration looks favorably on applicants who have a good credit score. To help you get started, here are two simple ways to establish a positive credit history in the U.S.

1. Open and Responsibly Use a Credit Card

Credit cards are one of the fastest ways to help people build a credit history, as they are relatively easy to get and require monthly minimum payments. As you make each payment, you will build a credit history that allows credit institutions to see how responsibly you utilize the cards. That history can then qualify you for other borrowing opportunities, such as personal loans or car loans, to continue to build your credit.

Of course, it is important to responsibly use the cards when you open them so you don’t end up with crippling high-interest debt. Here are three ways to responsibly use a credit card so you can build your credit without ending up buried in high-interest debt:

  • Select the card that’s right for you. For example, you might start with a card with a lower borrowing limit if you fear you might overspend. You might also choose a card with benefits that fit your lifestyle, such as cards that reward travel or purchases at restaurants or supermarkets.
  • Decide on the right and wrong times to use the card. For example, to avoid unintentionally overspending, you might start by using your credit card to pay for set expenses only, such as monthly cable or internet bills. Avoid using it for unnecessary luxury expenses and be careful using it for impulse purchases.
  • Always pay off the credit card balance as fast as possible. If you can’t pay it off in full, pay as much as you can to minimize interest payments.

2. Take Out a Low-Interest Personal Loan

This method has a couple of advantages over credit cards. For one, the personal loan amount is set to correspond to a specific need and is often immediately used to pay for that purchase, such as for tuition or known living expenses. This means that the borrower has no opportunity to overspend or overborrow like they do with a credit card.

Additionally, personal loans typically carry lower interest rates than credit cards and get paid off with a set monthly payment over a specific period of time. This makes managing your payments easier and more predictable. When it comes to establishing your credit history, low-interest personal loans allow you to show that, over a period of months and years, you consistently make payments on time.

At Doc2Doc Lending, we specialize in working with medical professionals. We have a program designed for physicians and dentists in training and practicing doctors. This could be an excellent fit for larger expenses to get paid while the immigrating medical professional receives their education.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, or how we can help you with your finances as a new or training medical professional, contact us here.

Sources Cited

Recent Blogs
3 blue chevrons

Are you a resident physician facing the financial challenges of transitioning from medical school to residency? Our physicians understand the anxieties and uncertainties of this pivotal time in your career.

3 blue chevrons

You’ll often hear a lot about credit scores and how important they are to your financial future. But do you know what a credit score is, exactly, and what goes

3 blue chevrons

As you get ready to begin your residency, you’ve got a lot to prepare. Don’t worry; we’ve got a list of things to keep in mind as you prepare to

3 blue chevrons

In your first year of residency, you’ll be very busy. You know that you’ll be working long hours. But what else can you expect? We have some lessons from doctors

3 blue chevrons

Congratulations! You’ve gone through years of grueling training, sleepless nights, and innumerable tests to finally become a doctor. As you begin this new chapter in your life, one issue that

3 blue chevrons

Doctors, caring for patients is your first responsibility. But to achieve that properly, you must manage your time and resources well. This kind of planning is crucial in 2024. So,

Please select listing to show.