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Car Subscriptions Clear Roadblocks for Visa Holders With Thin Credit

Car Subscriptions Clear Roadblocks for Visa Holders With Thin Credit

June 29, 2022

Car Subscriptions Clear Roadblocks for Visa Holders With Thin Credit

Every year, hundreds of thousands of international workers and students come to the U.S. on temporary visas to contribute their talents to America’s institutions and take part in the country’s culture. 

But the adventure will not be without complications for many, particularly when it comes to establishing and building strong U.S. credit — which is necessary for most large purchases, like a car or a house. Even if one has strong credit in his or her home country, it won’t transfer stateside. 

This dilemma means many visa holders with ample income but thin credit need creative ways to get behind the wheel. Car subscriptions may be the answer. 

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Visa Holders Face Unfair Odds at Car Dealerships

Many U.S. work and student visas can last up to six years, so you may need a car to get around during that period. But leasing and purchasing a car both require a credit check from the dealership in order to determine the driver’s eligibility. So, what does this mean for international people on work or student visas in the U.S. who are looking to get behind the wheel? If you’re new to the country and have thin credit because of it, the approval process usually becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

Additionally, lenders can penalize thin credit with bloated interest rates, often resulting in higher costs for noncitizens. This means that if you do get approved for a car loan, you’ll be left paying more than would a U.S. citizen with established credit, even if you have more liquidity than that citizen.

While the path to purchasing or leasing may be bleak, having the cash on hand to afford a car is not unusual for individuals with particular U.S. work visas. H-1B and L1 visas are for specialized workers and executives coming to the U.S., typically offering a skill set in high demand. 

These visas go to employees often earning robust salaries, leaving international workers in the U.S. with cash to spend but without the credit to access purchasing opportunities. This means that high-earning top-level engineers, consultants, designers, developers, programmers, and analysts — many of whom are coming stateside to work for American tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and IBM — might be left at a loss for how to get a car. 

Car Subscriptions Democratize Mobility

For people coming to the U.S. on work or student visas, the obstacle of lacking established credit complicates the prospect of buying or leasing a car. But if you’re looking to get behind the wheel, vehicle subscription services offer a unique solution. 

The car subscription model takes a familiar structure and applies it to vehicles. People use subscriptions to access all kinds of goods and media in exchange for a monthly amount. Similarly, car subscriptions give members access to a vehicle in exchange for a monthly payment.

Unlike when purchasing a car, you’re not borrowing money with a subscription, so the financial approval process is far simpler. Additionally, unlike with leasing or purchasing, the minimum time commitment with a subscription is often as low as just a few months, offering drivers enhanced flexibility and control over their financial futures. This could be particularly favorable if you’re going to leave the country in a few years and don’t want to worry about the penalties of breaking a lease or the hassle of selling your car. 

But the real advantage of a car subscription service for international customers is the alternative route to a credit check. With a subscription, the path to getting a car is democratized, providing access to anyone who can pay. For the California-based car subscription service Autonomy, which offers drivers access to Tesla Model 3s, this means running a liquidity check as an alternative way to obtain eligibility.

An Autonomy Subscription Gives You the Keys to a Tesla Model 3 

Many international workers come to America to contribute to our country’s tech giants, and Autonomy enables expats to interact with another noteworthy American tech company: Tesla. Leading the charge on advancing electric vehicle technology, Tesla has succeeded in packaging clean energy in sleek, sexy designs, making it the top-selling EV manufacturer in the country. And with Autonomy’s ability to run a liquidity check as an alternative to a credit check for prospective drivers, the service offers access to Tesla vehicles for people who may have slim credit. 

In addition to doing away with the need for a credit check, an EV subscription, such as one from Autonomy, also does away with gasoline for the customer, cutting costs and simplifying the car return process. While living in the U.S., you can contribute to the global goals of lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality worldwide while saving money and time that would otherwise be spent at a gas station.

On top of foregoing gas, EVs such as Teslas offer an alternative design to combustion engine cars that results in reduced maintenance needs. For the routine maintenance a Tesla does require, an Autonomy Tesla subscription includes that servicing. Subscribers also avoid paying for other headaches, including title, registration, and roadside assistance (limitations apply), which are all included in the Autonomy subscription’s monthly fee. 

The Autonomy app provides a fully digital way to initiate and manage your vehicle subscription, so you won’t get bogged down in paperwork or negotiations. The online application can be done in as little time as 10 minutes, and you can get your car just a few days later in California, while supplies last. With just a three-month minimum subscription term and 28 days’ notice to return, Autonomy offers flexibility for drivers to chart their own course. 

Driving an electric vehicle is an innovative decision, no matter what country you call home. By sidestepping the standard credit check, a subscription puts the keys in your hands without penalizing you for having slim or little to no credit. Car subscription services such as Autonomy are beginning to decrease the unfair disadvantage that visa holders face when it comes to accessing mobility and participating in global change.

Picture of Baylor Knobloch

Baylor Knobloch

Baylor is an experienced storyteller working as a writer and editor for Sharp Pen with a background in journalism and media production. When not crafting tech communications, she writes and edits for online publications In The Know and Humor Darling. Baylor earned her BA at Brown University.

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