I am a student on a F1 Visa in the US.
Being a non US Citizen and on a student Visa, I am unauthorized to work off campus, and so I am restricted to work upto 20 hours a week on a hourly wage and have no fixed monthly income.
I have a SSN through my on campus job and have been working on-campus for 6 months now, depositing my pay cheques monthly to my account at Chase.
I would like to establish credit history - have heard it's useful to gain employment and makes it easy to rent an apartment?
When trying to apply for credit cards, the forms from the banks assume you are working on a monthly salary or a guaranteed number of hours - hence I have not applied for any cards till now as I am likely to be turned down.
I tried to pull my credit report through CreditKarma but they could not locate my record, asking me to check if I entered everything correctly.
Is it safe to assume that this implies I have no history whatsoever?
I have approached a local credit union that suggested that I take out a cash-secured loan.
Is taking out a secured loan the only way for me?
If so, I have a few questions:
The minimum loan they give out is $250
The rep there recommended that a larger loan amount is more favourable to my history.
In that case maybe a $1k would be a good balance?
Should I take out $1k as a single loan or four $250 loans? Would this decision matter?
What loan term should I select? A year, two years, ..?
This CU can give me a rate of 4%, but I was wondering if there are other CUs that have better rates for a rank newbie like myself?
Am I making a right decision by taking out this cash-secured loan?
Would it make much better sense to wait till I get a job (then I would have a fixed monthly salary and can apply for a regular CC directly)
This is going to cost me a lot of money and effort and I wanted to be sure that this route is really worth it.