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I am an international graduate student on an ITIN (I recieve fellowship and not assistantship so I am not eligible for SSN). I will be changing to a job that allows me to have an SSN next July.

Right now, I have several debit card and a few credit cards (Citi is unsecured, rest are secured). I intend to create a good credit record which I obviously can't do through a debit card.

My questions are:

  1. If I use my credit card on my ITIN and behave like a good guy (paying everything on time), will it create history for my SSN next year or will I have to start from scratch?

  2. I have an option of using a secured card v/s an unsecured one. Which one is better from the view of my credit history?

  • Secured credit cards are generally not the best deal. The total amount that can be charged is usually quite small, they often come with fees, and so on. They are usually offered to people with bad credit. If you can get a no-annuak-fee unsecured card, go for it, charge no more than 35% or so of the maximum credit allowed, and pay it off promptly each month. Don't worry about changing from a ITIN to s SSN; the credit bureaus will find you all right, and your credit history will follow you from ITIN to SSN. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 28 '12 at 3:40
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If I use my credit card on my ITIN and behave like a good guy (paying everything on time), will it create history for my SSN next year or will I have to start from scratch?

Yes, you'll keep your history, it will be reported on your SSN when you update your creditors with it.

I have an option of using a secured card v/s an unsecured one. Which one is better from the view of my credit history?

The one which you don't have to pay for. Consider the value of money you're using for the secured card, and all the fees and interest you expect to pay.

Unless you're planning on a mortgage in the next couple of years, there's no rush with the credit. It is definitely not worth paying money for.

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