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 ineligible for a SSN is apply for an ITIN. You can complete your ITIN application through the Internal Revenue Service by filling out form W-7 - Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This number does not authorize work in the US or give you eligibility for Social Security benefits, but it does allow you to open bank accounts, establish credit, and file a US tax return.
While this may seem like a hurdle, it is well worth the effort to take charge of your US 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.
Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face a number of challenges, but building credit doesn’t have to be one of them. Avoid predatory lenders, such as payday loan companies and other high-interest, high-fee loans, and seek out legitimate banks and credit card companies. If you are just starting out with your credit there are two great products that you can access to start building your credit history.