Now that you know what credit is all about you might ask “what if I don’t have credit yet but I still want to start a business and need to borrow money?” The first thing you should do if you are not eligible for an SSN is apply for an ITIN. Learn more about the ITIN in the TAXES module.
The ITIN number allows you to open bank accounts, establish credit, and file a US tax return. The ITIN number does not authorize you for work in the US or make you eligible for Social Security benefits. It is worth the effort to take charge of your credit profile, as good credit will give you more freedom and flexibility in the long run. Make sure all of your good borrowing activity gets reported to the credit bureaus and recorded to your credit report using your SSN or ITIN.
Avoid payday loan companies and other high-interest, high-fee loans (often called predatory lenders). Do use reputable banks and credit card companies. You can look on the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) website for more information on trusted banks and credit card companies. The FDIC’s logo is also a symbol of governmental approval, and you will likely see it at a reputable bank or credit card company. If you are just starting out with your credit, there are two great products you can access to start building your credit history - Lending Circles and Secured Credit Cards.