The answer to your question is...
I wish I could give you a more definite answer, but most of the
resources I have found point in both directions on this question.
A bit of background first:
In the USA, your credit history is tied to a number of details about
you, including your name, current address, former addresses,
birthdate, and Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN is the lynchpin
to your credit history, since it is (supposedly) unique and identifies
nobody but you. The SSN differentiates between the 2 people named John
Smith who live at the same address.
Canada does not have a Social Security Number. They have a Social
Insurance Number (SIN) which serves much the same purpose on a credit
report. Since the USA and Canada are different countries with
different systems, the SSN and SIN are almost certainly different
numbers. So, if you have a John Smith born on January 1st, 1980 who
gives his address as 100 Broadway in New York City with the SSN
123-45-6789 and a John Smith born on January 1st, 1980 who gives his
address as 100 Main Street in Toronto with SIN 987654321, there is no
way for a US or Canadian credit bureau to instantly know whether or
not this is the same person.
The key word in the above paragraph is "instantly." With a bit of
work, an employer, credit bureau, bank, or other agency can figure out
that they ARE in fact the same person. My guess is that this depends
on the person or company who wants to obtain this information. Here
are some bits of information and advice that I have gathered on the
The Baptist Union of Western Canada provides advice for US pastors who
wish to work in Canada:
"In order for you to open a bank account in Canada, you will need
either a driver?s license or an SIN number. So, be prepared to keep
your money in a safe place for a while until you get one of these. It
is hard to remember sometimes, but Canada is another country, and your
SSN, credit history, bank account information, etc., from the US mean
noth-ing here. It is a bit difficult to get a credit card here for
this reason. We talked our bank into checking our credit history in
the US (we gave them a lot of information) in order to issue us a
MasterCard. They did not want to do it, but after some persuasion,
they did. After we got that first one, we were able to get others with
no problem. It is easy to get frustrated about all of this, especially
if you are used to taking your history with you from state to state in
the US and having it recognized."
It is also worthwhile to look at the experience that some Canadians
have had going to the USA (in the opposite direction that you are
intending to go). Regarding Canadians buying a house in the USA on
credit, About.com says:
"We've had Canadians buying homes in the US. If they have/had a
Canadian SSN# [SIN], adding that info to the credit request using
TRANS UNION, will bring up some Canadian history. Apparently TU has
reciprocation/an affiliate in Canada, and their credit can be pulled
that way. We have had no luck with EFX and XPN,though."
[ http://credit.about.com/cs/internationalcrd/a/060801.htm ]
This next About.com article references an Epinions article on Candians
getting US credit cards. It is most interesting because of the
comments it makes about companies with affiliates in both the USA and
" Apply only to reputable places, even if they offer a lower credit
limit or poorer reward program. It is very good to ask the credit
department in advance if they can verify your credit history. Some
very good places like American Express, Chase, Discover, TD Waterhouse
can do it for you right a way. They may even request your SIN and make
an immediate decision over the phone. But more likely, they will ask
you to apply first."
Why am I showing you two articles about moving in the opposite
direction than you intend to go? Because both of those articles point
out that many companies which offer credit in the USA also have
Canadian affiliates! The first article explains that the US credit
bureau TransUnion has a Canadian affiliate with which it shares data.
The second article points out that some of the larger and more
reputable international companies may also be willing to share
information with their US affiliates or to look up and import
somebody's credit history from the other country. If it works in one
direction, it most likely will work in the other direction as well.
The point is that somebody from the USA going to Canada probably has a
blank credit history when they cross the border. That blank history
means that obtaining credit may be very difficult at first. If the
person or company offering credit does not realize that the borrower
is originally from the USA, they may just see the empty credit
history. Some Canadian lenders and banks, however, appear willing to
look up an individual's US credit history via their SSN in order to do
a more thorough background check before offering credit.
I excluded results which included the words "repair" and "fix" because
I did not want to see the thousands of sites offering to repair
canada ssn sin "credit history " -repair -fix
I hope this helps you in your search. Please ask for clarification if needed.