Guiding consumers since 2009

Is your credit score valid internationally?

By Isabelle Coetzee

After years of building up your credit score in South Africa, you decide to move abroad. But does this mean your credit score follows you overseas, or do you have to start from the beginning?

Without a credit score abroad, you won’t be able to get decent rates for home loans or be approved for vehicle finance. We found out what happens to your credit score when you leave the country.

Tip: Find out more about your current credit score by clicking here.

Are credit scores international?

When you start taking out credit, you will start with a credit score of zero. As you accrue and slowly pay back your debt, your creditors will inform the local credit bureaus of your diligence and your credit score will improve. However, do the calculations of these credit bureaus have any bearing abroad?

According to Hardy Jonck, managing director at AgileWorks Information Systems, credit scores are local to a country and they are not transferrable abroad.

“However, for instance, South Africa has a FICO score from the same company that runs FICO scores in the United States of America. But their financial institutions will not consider your South African FICO score in their jurisdiction and will require you to build up your credit score from scratch,” says Jonck.

“Unfortunately, the world of compliance works with negative observations. So overseas financial institutions will want to make sure you don’t have tax liabilities or a criminal record. Other than that, they will only look at your local credit profile,” he explains.

READ MORE: The ultimate guide to understanding your credit score

What should you do if you move abroad?

Jonck believes the best way to build a foreign credit profile is to open a bank account, apply for a credit card with zero credit, pay money into it, and use the card to make purchases.

“Credit card companies share their payment profiles with credit bureaus and they will start tracking your behaviour. After a few months, see if you can apply for a small amount of credit. Then continue using it and paying it off promptly,” says Jonck

He adds that you should find out from the bank which other facilities you can start using that are tracked by local credit bureaus.

“The more visibility you get in the credit bureau, the better your FICO or other credit score can become – from unknown, to a person whose financial behaviour looks good,” says Jonck.

If you’d like to understand you local credit score better, click here.

Recent Articles

Featured Everything you should know about tax auto assessment

In 2019, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) launched a system, which was dubbed an “auto assessment”, to assist taxpayers with their annual tax returns. But what does this system entail, and how will it impact you?

What does it mean to be a registered Financial Services Provider?

You may have noticed that financial institutions state that they’re registered Financial Services Providers (FSP). But what does this actually mean, and how does this benefit you as a consumer?

Should the retirement age change?

Across the world, people are retiring later than they used to. However, retirement products are centred around set retirement ages at which point you’d be able to access your retirement savings. But how applicable is the current retirement age in South Africa?

Everything you need to know about wills

Death can leave a lot of confusion and chaos. What happens to your possessions when you die can have a profound effect on those you leave behind. But you can soften the impact by drawing up a will.

Deals

Get 30% off your gym membership with Absa student account

Price: Available on request
When: Daily
Where: Nationwide

Get 10% discount on Rentalcars.com

Price: Available on request
When: Daily
Where: Worldwide

Get up to R5 back in rewards points when buying fuel

Price: Available on request
When: Daily
Where: Nationwide


Latest Guide

Guide to debt rehabilitation solutions