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Tips for Australians Planning Their Move to the U.S. in 2024

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Many people are still hoping to move to the U.S. in 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it’s to reunite with family, pursue a new job or enroll in school. Here are some tips to navigate the move if you find yourself making the leap in the next year.

Join me and Akinyi from Nova Credit for a chat about everything from sandwiches to social security. We're answering your questions and making your transition to the United States easier than ever.

So what are our tips for moving to America from Australia in 2021?

Josh (America Josh): Hi everyone. I'm America Josh, and welcome to tips for Australians planning their move to the US in 2021. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know lots of you have been considering a move to the US but have been forced to delay or cancel that move. Given the current environment between Coronavirus and recent executive policies restricting immigration, lots of you are pushing back timelines and some of you are at the very early stages and some of you are very close to moving. It's obviously difficult for everyone, but we thought that we could get together and make sure that you're ready to go as soon as the travel restrictions and all of these hurdles are lifted out of the way I've been in New York for almost four years from Adelaide, and I remember the excitement that you're all going through at the moment. So hold onto it. Don't lose it. It's just a little bit longer. I, when I first moved, did a lot of prepping, a lot of watching things like this, and realized when I got here that my biggest hurdle in New York city was ordering a sandwich at a bodega.

Turns out at some of the most ridiculous things are the bits that trip you up. so first tip for the night, a hero is a big roll, you're all welcome, that's the hot tip. That's what you've come here for! But that launched America Josh, and the idea that all of these big and small topics can, you know if you've got some answers to those things if you've got some tips and tricks, it can, it can really help you out.

So that's what brought us here tonight and we thought yeah, to make that transition even easier. And, we thought we'd take all the questions that you submitted. Some things that we know, and we compile that into a bit of a chat. And that leads me to introduce our wonderful guests at Akinyi from Nova Credit.

Thanks so much for coming on tonight and sharing your insights before we get started.

Akinyi, can you tell us a little bit about you and what Nova Credit is and maybe any hurdles that you had when, when you were moving to America?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Thanks for having me! So my name is and I lead marketing at a FinTech company called Nova Credit.. Fintech is basically just a fancy name for financial technology.

And, despite the American accent, don't let that fool you, I am also British. So one of the things that confused me about the States is the kind of alphabet soup of, health insurance policies and all the fun stuff that you'll get to experience when you move to the U S. And so now I'll just tell you a little bit about credit, and then we can get into answering the nitty gritty of what it's like to move to the U S and particularly what you should think about in 2021.

So Nova Credit is a cross-border credit bureau that partners with a wide array of financial institutions, which basically means that we can translate your credit history from Australia and how it moves with you. When you come to the States and help you get a head-start on life in the US and that will allow you to do apply for products and services here in the States.

And given our company's mission, we're very focused on newcomer related topics, and we want to help Australians have what they need to arrive and thrive in the US and we've been working with America, Josh for some months now to get that information across and help you as you make that move

Josh (America Josh): You have, and we've had good fun doing things like this!

Thanks again for joining us tonight. And I know you've got lots of tips and insights. I've spoken to a lot of Australians, like all the people that are on here tonight and who might've had plans to move in 2020.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): You know, given the fact that there are border closures, you know, immigration is in flux right now, a lot of things are confusing and hard to decipher.

So obviously thinking about you're delaying your, yeah, right now, it's understandable with all, all of the uncertainty in the world right now, it's really hard to make a decision, like moving up to a new country. But we also understand that a lot of people have a good reason to move. It might be, you know, they want to be reunited with a loved one.

They want to take on a new job or try something new. So while it's still hard to move in a global pandemic, we're still seeing some continued interest in Australians moving to the US every day. And so for those individuals, we recommend that you take the time this year to really plan all the details ahead of moving next year.

Josh (America Josh): Yeah, I agree. I think the people that have tuned in tonight, it's a, it's a great start. That's a fantastic way to sort of kick off that, getting ready and spending as much of the time that you've got right now to make sure you've connected with as many groups as possible attended as many of these events as you possibly can.

Obviously, there are lots and lots of things that you have to consider when you are doing a big move like Australia to the U S between housing and job planning and endless logistics and things.

Where do you start when planning a move to America?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): First and foremost, I would recommend that you start with your visa and your registration paperwork.

The U S visa process can be a bit intimidating and can take some time to make sense of. and so it's important that you first take the time to research different visa types. You want to triple check your visa eligibility, make sure you all have the right forms in place. And as you may have heard, the U S recently announced an executive policy that limits certain visa types that can be issued until the end of the year.

Now there's a silver lining in what is otherwise a kind of confusing process, the E3 visa, which is one of the most common types of visas for Australians moving to the US is not included in that list. And 20% of Australians in the US are on E3 visas. So you can, you can still come to work in the US if you have a bachelor's degree and a job offer at that, that uses this degree, but other popular types of visas among us, I'll see ex-pats or US include, you know, the F1 visa for students.

And that's also unaffected at this time.

Josh (America Josh): No, which is fantastic. And I think you're exactly right. That getting as much information as you can about visas is going to work to your advantage just right. Absolutely everything. I know. There's a lot of information out there and I would say it at America, Josh, and that is credit.

We've compiled all that into something that's a bit more, interactive, a bit easier to understand a bit easier to digest because you don't want to interpret the wrong information. You don't want to take that on. So making sure you sort of trust some particular group and make sure that you're looking at everything that they're talking about, it's going to help you in the long run.

I know we had a bunch of questions submitted about J1s and H-1Bs and when the restrictions will be lifted and also, around consulates and embassies and one that will be opened, unfortunately. We don't know. we don't want to speculate because it sort of might cause some confusion. There are no sort of firm dates, that the ones in H one BS it's currently until the end of the year, but there is a clause that says it will be reviewed at that point.

So we don't want to, we don't want to exactly say what might be and what might not be happening. and I apologize that we can't answer those questions, but as soon as we know anything will be on something like this and we'll be having another chat. With everyone, but before at people, yeah, we'll do move over on an eight, three or an

Do you have any extra advice for the people that are considering coming over on an ESTA or a tourist visa at the moment?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yes, I do. So it's really important that you track Australian policy very closely as well, particularly amidst COVID-19. So currently Australian and permanent residents cannot leave the country, but they can't apply online for an exemption.

If you meet certain criteria and the exemption application should take at least two weeks before your plant journey. So you won't really want to take a close look at Australia.

Josh (America Josh): No good call. And, I know for people who have not lived abroad for like the last 12 months, basically, you're going to have to find a reason to, to get that exemption to move.

So make sure you look at the department of home affairs. That's the department in Australia. That's really controlling a lot of this and make sure you read their site. They've got a great list of resources for, for Corona. so putting that out of the way, and we're fast forward to 2021, let's pretend that you're now eligible for a work phase or you've read through all of these documents.

What should you do after sorting out a visa?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah. So beyond your visa type, one of the things that you want to research when you move into the U S is social security numbers, which you also might see online. SSN and whether, whether or not applying for one is the right choice for you. And so social security numbers are similar to tax phone numbers in Australia.

They're typically really used. If you intend to work in the U S if you intend to get social security benefits, want to apply for certain financial services, they're typically issued a USS ends, as well as those who are authorized to work in the States. And it's free to apply for social security numbers.

So while most people are recommended to apply for one, some individuals are ineligible. In which case you should apply for something called an ITIN, which stands for individual tax, taxpayer identification number. It's an alphabet soup. So

Josh (America Josh): another alphabet. So, yeah.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): so I tend to issue to residents with, with foreign status and, those two forms of IDs are used for a number of important services from applying to credit to, opening a bank account.

So be sure to look into what makes the most sense for you. and then in addition to that, if you're in the process of applying for your visa, you should look into scheduling your appointment for your social security number, head of time, wildfire filling out your immigrant visa application. If you're not immigrant, you're going to have to go in person because you can't do it online while applying for the visa process.

And it's the U S hasn't penny terminology. So in the U S immigrant reasons are issue too. foreigners who intend to live permanently in the U S so let's say you might be coming to join your, your, your spouse, but not immigrant visas or for, foreigners who want to enter the UK temporary basis. So if you're coming for tourism, if you're coming temporarily to work for a few years or similar reasons, so if you're on a nonimmigrant visa at that second category, you unfortunately have to do it in person.

but if you find that you are eligible to visit an office, you should keep in mind that offices are limiting and persons service in the States because of COVID. So make sure to look up the latest office closure policy, when you officially arrive in the U S and you can typically find that on the us citizenship and immigration service UCS, if I want to add more acronyms to it,

Josh (America Josh): No, I, and it's important that language is really important when you're talking about a move.

especially now that so U S immigration does potentially look at social media and things, and it's, it's important to know that the visa as one of the visas, that where we're talking about tonight is a nonmember going phase that you are not planning to move. Permanently. If your planning is to come over and stay for a long time, that's fine.

But the limited term of two years and it is renewable, but it's each two years you have to basically say I'd like two more years, please. And it's yeah. It's important to make those differences just in your head. And when you arrive at the gate, just being aware of those things, because it does help just make things flow more smoothly.

and as you were saying, we're collecting like acronyms and collecting paperwork. it sounds like that's going to be pretty critical. Going down, count down these tracks.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): It's important to make copies of all that important paperwork, keep track of all the documents that you've filed. Keep copies of them, print out, print them out and make sure that you have them in different bags.

When you move, you don't want to misplace a bag and then find out, Oh God, that important. I, you know, I number document how to access digital copies as well. It's helped a lot of my friends. Who've moved to the States and myself included.

Josh (America Josh): Yeah, for sure. I remember walking through, I had like two folders and I was so ready to answer any question.

And for me, you know, being ready, I obviously had an air of being confident enough and afraid to answer anything that didn't get on asked one question. So I was, but I, you know, have a USB with a backup of it, have some photocopies, put it in your second bag in case you bag gets, just make sure you've taken care of all those things.

Cause it'll make your life in possibly easier. A few, if you've got them. So you've, okay.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): So for many newcomers, you know, housing is going to be top of mind, where do you go when you leave the airport? but it's hard to know what in your research.

So each city has really different norms for finding housing in New York, where Josh and I live. For example, it's really common for residents to rely on brokers, to scout, apartments, and paper crispies, and those fees can be pretty high. So you just want to be aware of the norms in whatever city you're relocating to.

one way to find apartments that perhaps have no fee or find a part, it might be suitable for you, or even find a roommate if you're like happened to be looking for one is to explore Facebook post, to get a sense of what the norm is in your city. Right. Do as much research research as you can on neighborhoods that yeah.

We're interested in. and while you prepare it for your move, make sure you have a really clear sense of your budget and what you're looking for. Particularly if you're going to have to take public transportation, for example, or if you're going to have to drive. so. Key other key questions you might want to consider, you know, is the neighborhood safe?

What's the commute like, are there grocery stores around, etc.?

Josh (America Josh): No. What about in terms of neighborhoods? like, do you have any tricks for exploring. Like neighborhoods. Cause I know I get the question a lot, around that kind of thing, when

Akinyi (Nova Credit): you're first moving to the States, it's, it's really preferable to start with short term leasing options and book them as far in advance.

So you have one less thing to worry about, or if you happen to have someone who's a friend, that you can. Stay with that makes it easier. I mean, when I was moving to the States from London September, I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend for a few weeks. And that helped me get my head around, you know, where, where did I want to live?

And yeah, I ended up realizing that, Hey, I prefer Brooklyn to Manhattan, for example, But that being said with short term options, it's often really hard to, to commit to a longterm lease without credit when you're still abroad. And if you don't have had experienced with all these different neighborhoods, and you're trying to make sense of names and locations, that can be really difficult.

So while you're still abroad, I recommend looking into those short term housing options. Called sublets or other rental services that will allow you to stick to those short term commitments, figuring it all out. And that way you can take the time to see the different neighborhoods I was explaining. I did at apartments in person, and really feel more confident in whatever you're committed to.

Josh (America Josh): I think it's a, you got to get used to the idea that short term is the best when you first move. And I, that was one that I didn't really think about. I'd been in my house in Australia for years, and therefore this idea of moving and not being in that place was sort of a bit strange, but there are like, there are websites like Zillow and StreetEasy, and even Airbnb has some really good reviews of neighborhoods.

they give you just a bit of a sense, because you know, you can read all the things in the world. these will all help you to get that first neighborhood, but you want to be able to have the ability, as you said, you might get to a borough in New York and realized that that's not the, not the bar for you.

Have you got any other tips relating to housing and finding a place to live?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): yes. So you really want to have your people work at home. In order, because especially in the biggest us cities housing stock can go really quickly. Is that the sooner you have your paperwork at hand, the faster you'll get into that dream apartment you've found.

So things that will be really important are, you know, proof of identification, your bank statements, proof of employment, and other information from your previous apartments. So for example, a letter from your, your former landlord, endorsing you as a tenant would also be really helpful.

Josh (America Josh): Okay. So visa, social security, short term housing, what's next.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Hm, well, you know, another thing that a lot of newcomers often wonder about, is mobile plans. And so most carriers offer prepaid plans that don't require credit score and allow you to pay for services upfront. But if you're going to go with it, Prepaid plan. It can be easier to see with that upon arrival in the States.

And that being said, you know, there's also postpaid plans. and those, I think they have better deals and also often include phones. So you can flip finance your phone over the course of several months. If you're going to opt for a postpaid plan, you're going to need a credit score. And so if you don't have friends, if you do have family and friends in the States, you can ask showing their family phone plan, but most are, most carriers will make you go with that prepaid option.

Josh (America Josh): Okay. Yep. That's good to know. It's fun. I mean, you're going to be defined because every single little thing I think that you do will need to be Googled and you need to, you got another credit and America, Josh, when you're looking for little tips and tricks that when you're over here, do you have any like apps?

Are there particular apps that you recommend people get before they move to America?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Google maps and city mapper for navigating your way around your city. If you're looking for food delivery, the common ones in the States are Postmates seamless door dash, depending on whatever city you are in, one might be more common than the other.

Yelp is a great way to find new restaurants and activities. you know, good old trusty Instagram, which I gather you have in Australia. Just kidding. You can browse by location and find out what's going on in your neighborhood. And I also recommend, downloading traffic education related apps like Lyft.

I'm like Uber ahead of time. If you don't have it on your phone already. So make your arrival from the airport a lot

Josh (America Josh): smoother. Right. That one is, so I had this grand plan. I see, you've got two backpacks and another bit of luggage and things. And I had this grand plan I'd mapped out, like which train to get to which bus to get to, like, don't do that for this time.

When you arrive, it's not worth it. Like, yes, it's expensive. It'll cost you like a new Yorker cost you 50, $60 to go from the airport to wherever you're staying. But like, It just throw your stuff in and make that first arrival like a calm one and enjoy it. You don't want to do that to right at the beginning.

Google maps, they want to know also is around apps. You might read about apps. Venmo is a good example of Venmo is really popular for texting effectively texting money to each other. it's a great app and everyone uses it here, but you possibly want yes. Find it on the Australian app store. So if you're finding that there are some apps that, like you, you can't work out why you can't find them.

You can only do that once you get here and you change your app stores, you go into the settings on your phone and you can change which app store you're looking for because some of marketed towards particular market. So that's just a tip because I know that I spent a long time trying to work out why I couldn't find Venmo.

And I. I realized that that was why. So, Google maps Citymapper were two of the ones that you mentioned, any other tips, like when you've arrived in this area, the city, like if you've got some tips for people that have just arrived with just landed.

Transportation when you first arrive in America

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah. I want to spend a little bit of time talking about transportation, especially because the U S is not the most public transportation, friendly country.

you know, apps are really important in navigation, but it's also really important to understand how public transportation works and what the availability is in your city. so apps like transit in New York and help you plan your commute and help you. Help guide you towards your destination. but, some like New York have really great public transit and you can live without a car.

I personally don't have a car in New York, but if you're in a city like Los Angeles, you might find it a lot harder. I find that you, you need to eat to secure some form of, another alternative form of transportation. And if you're planning to drive in the U S make sure that state that you're moving to and they're, department of motor vehicles, make sure to look up what they, what you'll require in order to be able to.

So in some States you may be able to use it international driver's permit to rent a car in others. but most of them will actually like you drive with your Australian driver's license. So that being said, just look it up and make sure, but to make sure that you can, you follow the rules. If you elect to use their Australian driver's license, just, be careful because you can't do that indefinitely.

Josh (America Josh): No, that one. So for all the Australians joining, we were talking about Facebook groups and things before, which are invaluable. The Australian community in the United States is really, really strong. we've got some awesome, some really large Facebook groups, for all sorts of cities all over the States do be careful when you read advice on there.

because you know, everyone's sort of learning as they go. And sometimes the advice, yeah, it's not super accurate. one of the, as Kenny was just talking about the. if you've arrived in, in most city or most States in the United States, you can drive, this is again, swiping, roll, but check the DMV, DMV yourself.

Yes, exactly. because most you can arrive and you can drive on your Australian license, let you do that. Cause you're just like a tourist, which you can, you know, go and rent a car. Once you've been in that. And for most, States it's between 30 and 90 days, once you've hit that, you've now become a resident of the state residency as a whole confusing mess.

But we'll talk about that later. but it means that you can no longer use your Australian license and you will be driving illegally as if you were driving without a license. So even though it worked for that first time, and in New York, I'm actually, I've got my learner's permit here. You have to actually sit the, the full written test with all the 16 year olds and, their moms and dads.

And then you have to do a practical test just like you did when you were 16 and a half, and then you get your, so you don't have to do the whole thing again, that's the same with every state, but there's going to be some, some things that you have to go through, which, I'm terrified about doing a reverse parallel on the wrong side of the road.

I'm not ready, not ready at all. Yeah. So make sure you look it up yourself. That is the, probably the best bit of advice that we can give you tonight is, you know, read as many of these resources, but then go to the sources and find the information for yourself. Read the official documentation, because it will save you from effectively committing a crime when you, when you arrived by accident and you might have the best intentions.alright. Mobile plans.

I've given you a lecture about getting a license. we've talked about apps. what, what do people need to look into next?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): the big, big question that we find comes up. not only I promise you because we're a financial technology company, but, is related to finance is right.

So a lot of newcomers are understandably concerned about moving and being left in the lurch when it comes to their finances. There's a lot of similarities here between Australia and the U S but there are also many really important differences. So you have to create a plan to ensure that you're financially stable and you always have access to funds throughout the course of your move.

Josh (America Josh): Okay. So you did mention that fund would FinTech, which I feel like I'd never heard of before now. It's like part of my everyday vernacular. so Nova is never credit is a FinTech. and the idea is that you can help. Effectively foreign credit scores. So even if Australians aren't familiar with the fact that they have a credit score in Australia, which I certainly wasn't, but the banks and the financial stuff, service industry keeps sort of a log of how they've interacted with you. As someone unfamiliar with the U S financial the street, like where do you recommend people start in? I'm getting fed up.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah. So I think the first question usually is around bank accounts. So if you're already using a multinational bank and Australia, so if you're using Citibank or HSBC, you may be able to transfer your Australian accounts to the U S or if you want to plan ahead of time, you can also look into opening an account even before you moved from Australia.

So you land on the ground and you're all set. so one of the ways to get around this is to ask your bank about changing to a us address and what the process is. It does differ by bank. if you don't have an international bank, you should really start researching your local bank options in the U S and even online bank options ahead of time.

And the good news is that most banks don't restrict access to it. To only us citizens. They do have different requirements in terms of ID, you know, some may require a social security number, but they're still really, there's still a lot of options to choose from. You want to consider when you're evaluating, which package, why do I choose look at deposit requirements, overdraft fees, intro bonuses, all that kind of stuff.

Josh (America Josh): No. And you actually touched on something that I realized, this is a tiny little segue to the side, but looking up local, locally, what's available to you in your state or your city is really important moving from Australia. And one of the big things that I realized is that in Australia, I feel like you can travel between States and yes, you know, my accent in from Adelaide is different from someone in Queensland, but fundamentally the sort of banks and the systems are all.

Basically the same, like you, you kind of can walk into a company bank or something. It feels very familiar in the United States. States are very different from each other. So what might be the most enormous organization in New York state might not even be a thing in New Jersey, let alone the West coast and you're looking at completely different names.

So just when you keeping in mind about where you want to move, have a look at what's local to. to your state or wherever you're intending to move. Cause it will help you finding out the biggest bank in LA is going to help you sort of get that settled more quickly. And on that, I'm going to hop on the paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, when you go to the bank for the first time, it's you know, have that photo that you walked through the airport with, with all of those documents and letters and employment status, and, visas and photocopies of your passport and things have all that on you take your passport as well, but that will, when you walk in and you've got that, and you can just pull, turn to a page and pull out that weird I, 94 document that you've got, That's going to help you because that makes you basically an easier candidate to apply for an account.

In many cases, even as a tourist, you can open accounts at banks in the States, but if you're causing, you know, if it's going to be a two hour fiasco with the person who you've arrived to talk to, they're probably just going to be like, you know, I can't be bothered, so yeah. Organize yourself, everything up, get ready and, yeah, go to the bank.

So a bank account relates to now Nova credit, has that fun word in it credit? it's huge credit history is a really important thing and it's something that I personally had. No idea just how much it involved at.

Can you give a bit of a snapshot about credit history, credit scores, and banking?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah, I think that in, in countries like Australia, or even in the UK where we're moved from, you know, credit might not be as important, but credit is really, really important when it comes to accessing finances in the U S credit is fundamental to applying for even the most basic things like my apartment lease.

Or a mobile phone, a credit card. All of those lenders will check your U S credit score to make a decision on whether you can have access to that product. and so when you arrive in the States, newcomers are typically considered you call credit invisible, which means that the system can't find you.

sorry. Even if you have great credit history in a foreign country, a lender can't access your credit data. And so most newcomers have to build their credit history again from stretch scratch. And that process can take three to five years. that means that you might not have the best rates. It means you might not be able to access certain products.

It's just really frustrating when you're starting to, trying to get your life started on the right foot. And so Nova credit is trying to help. Address this gap by making it easy to translate your international credit history into a U S equivalent report that is familiar to all those American lenders so that you don't need to start from scratch.

So you can use your Australian credit, for example, to access products and services in the U S we partner with financial service providers, American express, for example, who can then use that foreign credit history. To review your application and that service is free. So, we, our partners pay us, and you get access to services.

so met as I mentioned, American express.

Josh (America Josh): Yeah. The credit invisible was a term. Like I hadn't heard it before because, and that is the weird feeling because people from the States have normally had a credit score since they were like, Too. Cause you know, parents start up accounts and they build up and up and up.

So the concept that you like, I don't have a bad credit. I just don't have credit is a, a lot of the time. It's something that people don't, I don't really familiar with. so it's getting that first copy.

You can basically safely say that Nova Credit's primary role was getting that first card, getting you off the ground.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yes, we'll help you get started.

Josh (America Josh): Awesome. So, yeah, credit, not having credit, massive pain in the butt. Like you don't want that, especially, you don't want it for a long time, if you can avoid it. what's a good score. Like, can you explain sort of what you're aiming for when you.

What are you aiming for with a credit score?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yes. So a good credit score is actually used for more than just getting a credit card or a loan or an apartment rental credit score is in the States range from 300 to eight 50. There's a whole rubric it's. that that score range is used by lenders to evaluate if you're trustworthy. and businesses may insist to, upon seeing that you have good credit before they give you access to products and services.

So even some employers in fact, will run credit checks to see if you can be trusted with company finances or assets. So if you have a history of not being financially responsible, you may actually find it harder to work in the U S. and there are three main bureaus in there. So you had Experian, Equifax, trans union, and all three of them collect and maintain, information.

Yeah. About how you used credit in the past, help lenders report on it. Whether you're paying your bills on time, if you've ever defaulted on a loan and how much debt you owe.

Josh (America Josh): Okay. Yeah. And I know where, like, obviously this is like you work never credit and we're sort of talking a lot about credit. And I think the point we really need to get across is it's as fundamental as any part, it sort of the bit that is at the top of the pyramid, because the bottom of the pyramid, it's the foundation, because you need it to get the, like the nicer apartment that you want.

To aim for that sort of relies on having credit. And then I S like, if you need to rent a car, or if, yeah, as you said to get a job, like a new job that might involve some element of credit checks and things, so it really is just important, for everything. So once you here, do you like, w I know I read a lot of nonsense information about building up that score, quickly, like not too much.

Yeah. What was it like?

Some debt, not too much. Don't be over debt, pay off cards, don't pay off cards. Like, can you just sort of give people a bit of a summary of what, what the best practices are?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah. So I would say one of the best, one of the easiest ways rather to build up credit quickly in the U S is your credit card.

And that might seem a bit strange if you come from a place where you don't really use credit cards, but honestly, in the States. Many people have credit cards. It's something that's just really common in the culture. The important thing is to pay it off as soon as you can keep the, keep the ratio and that way you won't owe too much interest.

but partnership with American express. you can use your Australian credit score to open a sorry to apply for it. I'm an Amex personal credit card. And so we recommend that you first visit our site and see how your Australian score translates in the U S you'll see, kind of what your, what your equivalent score band is, what type of cards you might be eligible for.

And then when you're ready to apply, you can actually indicate in the actual application that you identify as a newcomer, Australian credit history, and then eligible applicants are shown the option to use their Australian credit report. That being said, you can also use never credit for other services, like apartment lease or student loan.

And when you're approved, you can start to build your us credit score, and gain access to a wider array of products in the future. And you can spend as much, or as little as you want again. it's your choice, but you'll ultimately still build your credit in the process. The best practices are to pay your bill on time every month, that use less than 30%.

And I didn't give in time. so for example, let's say you have a credit limit on your card 2000. Try not to let that go above 600 at nighttime. And if it gets close, you can pay it down again, right away, even if it's in the middle of the month, just to keep that ratio lower.

Josh (America Josh): Okay.

So can all the people watching they're all in Australia or the majority of them in Australia, can I do anything to stop sort of getting this ball rolling to start building my credit?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): It's not really. because most lenders will require that you have at least a U S address before you applied. But as soon as you are in the States, even if it's temporary address, you can get started.

Josh (America Josh): Okay, cool. That's a good, again, side segue to the fact that I need everyone to know that it feels like this whole problem of moving.

A lot of it's going to be like, you got chickens and eggs stacked on top of each other. And it's basically like, you can't get a bank account until we've got social security and you can't have social security until you've got an address and you can't have an address until you've got a bank account.

Like you will feel like you're sort of stuck in a little bit of a loop and that's normal. I think. Give yourself a break when you moved. Because one of the things that I sort of talk a lot about is that there's a lot of stresses. Like there's these big things we're talking about, you know, you're and you're thinking about building a credit score, and you're thinking about which, like reverse parallel park you have to do tomorrow.

And you've got all these, all these different things that even, you know, like I was talking about the beginning, like buying a sandwich can feel like, yeah. A completely overwhelming experience. So yeah. Give yourself a break. It's great that you're here and you're learning a few tips and tricks so that you've got he's up your sleeve, but it it's obviously, well, I wrote at the very beginning, because it will just involve you going through this process and, you know, you will be knocked back for a credit card the first time or potentially, you know, you talk, if you like, that's why we've got.

Never credit. Cause you don't have to go into the bank and be rejected. Like I was at the first, the first time, cause I never credit wasn't around. but yeah, like I think it's really important to know because the emotional part, like, especially with COVID, we've all been locked in our homes. You've probably had plans and I know you've had plans to move for six, 12, 24, your whole life you've planned to move and that's been delayed.

So there's a lot of stresses involved with moving even in the best of times. So. Take it slow. Make sure you're ready. You know, as we talked about at the start build that like catalog of information, build the catalog, like savings and things, be ready for a big transition. it all just sort of will make your life a happier time when you've arrived in like a New York winter, or if you've arrived to an LA summer.

And you've like, I had no idea it got so hot or cold. so, credit score, it's like 300 to eight 50. Is it like a, is there like, did they pick numbers out of a hat? Like, aye. So, cool. So what's a good score. Like if I'm wanting, so I'm, we're talking about cars went to him at houses, we're talking about all this kind of stuff.

What's a school that people should be aiming for.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Yeah. So, there are a range of things, you know, there's poor. There's fair. There's good. There's excellent. Pair credit is generally early as four of six, 30 to six 89. And a good score. Typically start with six 90. You can tell the truth. No, but generally speaking though, seven 20 and above is considered excellent.

And you're pretty much gonna get access to the best rates in the market at that,

Josh (America Josh): at that level. Okay. Cool. So, yeah, I mean, for that sort of seven 20, like I know yeah. That sort of credit, invisible thing at the beginning, you can't even find your credit score. And then one of the credit places will start to show you when you start to build and build and build.

I'm sure people will be. Checking the scores once they're over here. Is that something like, is that important or yeah. How do you do that?

Akinyi (Nova Credit): You can check your U S credit score for free with most major banks. If you have an existing account, you can also use online platforms like credit karma, and you can typically check your credit score as often as you want to.

one of the most common myths is that checking frequently negatively impacts your score. And that is really just a myth just because, but just because you can check your credit score whenever you want doesn't mean that you should, or that you need to, deciding when to check your credit score depends really on your personal circumstances.

So for many people, checking annually is enough. But some people prefer to check their credit scores monthly or weekly, particularly if they have a big purchase or an event coming up, like say you want to rent an apartment or you want to buy a house or even if you newly come to the country.

Josh (America Josh): Cool. yeah.

So it's worth sort of checking it, but yeah, that, that point about that. It's not it's okay to check your score with those apps. Like there's no downside. Important. Cause I know that's a very confusing one and you'll read if you Google, can I check my credit score? You'll be bombarded with information about like, no.

but yeah, you can, with those credit comes a good one. The bank's a good one. Yeah. so, That's credit. Any, what else have you got? What's

Akinyi (Nova Credit): next? Yeah. So I think that we talked about all the, like the endless checklist of things that you need to do. Right. But, I think one of the most important things to start with a life off on the right foot in the U S is really prioritize finding community.

no matter where you decide to live, there's so many ways that you can meet new people and try and meet as many as you can. And of course, there's communities like America, Josh, which you've

Josh (America Josh): already found.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): Josh has really great meetups in New York. I've been to a couple of myself.

Josh (America Josh): one day, one day, we'll be back to, you know, actually actually having made ups in person.

I can see you again.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): He has one day moved back to meet ups in person, but perhaps in the meantime trivia, et cetera, you can meet people digitally. Yep. but if you're a fan of the outdoors, you could find a hiking group or on Facebook or a meetup. If you're interested in sports, you can check out sports teams, your organizations like soft sports.

If you're into crafts, you know, you could drink a sketching class at a local center, or volunteer for something that you care about. Obviously, some of these are challenging as we noted during a pandemic, but many of those organizations are still creating online versions, right. Their services. So you can do some digging and still connect with new people.

and you know, in my opinion, one of the most exciting things to do is research and plan, and kind of imagine your life and what life is, especially in a year, that's kind of as uncertain as this. We hope that 2021 is a lot better. so, dive into it. There's tons out there. And, I hope that move is exciting.

Josh (America Josh): No. I agree. I mean, I think one of the crazy parts about moving is that you kind of assume that everyone needs sort of knows more than you or that, you know, people aren't interested in meeting a random new friend and like chatting to them, but I can promise you from running America, Josh now for little over three years, The one comment I get told every single time is that like, I was just, I didn't know who to reach out to, to make a friend, but turns out, sitting around a table.

I do dinner with new friends. So it's 10 people in New York have dinner together. And none of them know each other. the, the concept of everyone sitting next to each other and being like, I just wanted to meet someone randomly. And I, we made some fantastic connections and we've got new people living together and partner, didn't all sorts of things.

It's that sort of putting yourself out there and saying yesterday, cause it's, it's. Scary for everyone and connecting with communities, making sure you've reached out, get into a sports team, reach out to me. I'm always happy to, to meet people and have beers and coffees and things with you. If you're a, if you're a new arrivals, so don't be, that'd be afraid because everyone's just as afraid as you are basically is the big picture.

cool. Okay. If, if people have questions where what we'll do is like. We don't want to hold people up. We know that to know you're in Australia and it's now about eight 30. It's almost nine a club. so depending on where you are in Australia, so how do we get connected? Like, what are we what's what's what do we do from here?

If we want to connect up with Nova credit, or if you. Yep. What's next.

Akinyi (Nova Credit): if you want to, ask questions in particular, you can fill out the feedback form and we'll, we'll be sure to respond to those. if you want to check out nigger credit more generally just Google us new credit or go to Nova

on our website, we have tons of guides, tons of helpful resources beyond just the credit stuff. Just, you know, how do you make sense of the move? and of course, obviously America, Josh has always here.

Josh (America Josh): Excellent cog. I like this it's yeah, we will be sending out a feedback form, which just contains like, Hey, did this answer some of your questions?

What questions do you still have? I'm sure. Akini and I will, will be doing a few of these and working out ways that we can, like yeah. Help you out with with more, because there are plenty, more topics. And I know I just saw a comment, you know? Like health insurance is a big one that deserves, honestly, we just couldn't fit it into one thing.

Cause there is a lot to talk about and we want to make sure we get it right. So, you tell us what you thought and, connect, I'll ask you questions and we can, we can be make back here and do something digital again, but thank you very much for taking your time this afternoon and sharing some tips and tricks and yeah.

And I'll, Yep. See you all next time. I'm America, Josh, fill out your feedback forms and I'll see you all next time.

Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

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