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My nephew lives in Hong Kong and has been there and Tokyo for 15 years. He just pulled his credit report (Credit Karma) and there is nothing on there since 9 years ago when he paid off student loans.

None of his credit card companies are reporting on him. This leads to a middling score. He is looking into buying a house and moving back in the next year, so a more accurate score and report would be helpful.

Any suggestions? Is there an international credit bureau?

Mara
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He is looking into buying a house and moving back in the next year, so a more accurate score and report would be helpful.

Does he want to buy a house to move back into, or is he willing to rent for a while when he first comes back? (Since any stuff he wants to bring back will need to be shipped back, my guess would be that he's probably not going to have furnishings for a house initially, anyway, so renting someplace furnished might be desirable anyway.) If he's willing to rent for a while when he moves back, he may have time after he moves back to re-establish credit before he buys.

Any suggestions? Is there an international credit bureau?

No, there isn't an 'international' credit bureau. Each country has it's own requirements for credit reporting, so generally, credit reporting is only done in the country that the credit was issued in.

Is his transfer back going to be facilitate by an employer (either a new one here in the US, or his current employer, if he's going to continue working for the same company)? If so, whoever is helping him with the transfer may have some suggestions. If he's doing this on his own, does he know anyone else who's moved back to the US?

Does he have any credit cards now? If so, do the issuers of those credit cards also issue cards in the US? Issuers like Citibank, HSBC and American Express, that have presence both in the US and overseas may be able to report to a US credit bureau, even if the card was issued internationally, if they are requested to do so. Or they may be able to issue him a US based card based on their experience with him as a customer overseas.

Otherwise, he may want to see if there is an issuer that will issue him a credit card that will report in the US even though he's living overseas. I would suggest trying large issuers with presence both overseas and in the US, or an issuer that focuses on military personnel, like Pentagon Federal or USAA, as they are more likely to have processes in place to deal with people living overseas and still wanting to have credit reported in the US.

Another alternative is to find a mortgage lender who is willing to work with an 'alternative' credit history that will find a foreign credit report acceptable.

AJ
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Thanks so much for the thoughtful response, AJ. I know he has a credit card with HSBC so will suggest he ask them to report to US credit bureaus on his history.

He has mutual funds here in the US so maybe those can be taken into account by a potential lender.

I will look into some of the other things you suggest.

Mara
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Maraith,

You wrote, He has mutual funds here in the US so maybe those can be taken into account by a potential lender.

Those won't help his credit score. The funds hold assets and don't extend credit. However, the lender may look at them when considering his ability to pay the mortgage.

Alternately he could liquidate the funds for the down payment. But I suspect lenders won't lower their rates once you get the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio below 80%.

- Joel
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