The Challenges of International Credit Reports

Sometimes a landlord needs to screen potential tenants who happen to be foreign nationals. However, it makes a difference whether the applicant is an individual or a business.

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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Sometimes a landlord needs to screen potential tenants who happen to be foreign nationals. However, it makes a difference whether the applicant is an individual or a business. Fortunately, in either case, we have ways of addressing the challenges of international credit reports for the good of all concerned.

For individual foreign national lease applicants, a landlord faces the following issues:

  • Each country has its own policies concerning credit ratings.
  • Credit data may not be accessible outside of government circles in some countries.
  • Information collected by U.S. based credit bureaus collect concerns business dealings within the U.S. rather than abroad.
  • An applicant who is fairly new to the United States will not appear to have much, if any, credit despite an excellent history in the motherland.

However, when it comes to individual international customers, there is no need to despair. The following options can help:

  • For those with a Social Security Number, running the standard report as usual can offer insight into what credit events have transpired stateside.
  • A copy of an offer letter from the applicant's U.S. employer provides a reasonable way to verify income.
  • A review of prior monthly bank statements can reveal patterns of responsible or irresponsible financial behavior.

For a foreign business entity, the way is far simpler.

  • Foreign entities readily appear on an international credit report offered by U.S. based reporting bureaus.
  • However, the availability of the report will depend upon the country of origin of the business entity.
  • Luckily, credit reports on companies are widely available throughout much of the world.

It really pays to process the applications of foreign nationals--individuals or businesses--in a uniform and fair manner. By understanding the limits and challenges of international credit reports, a landlord has an opportunity to gain a profitable tenant.


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