We provide a guide how to establish credit in Colombia for foreigners and how to build credit that is needed for establishing Internet and other services.
Getting established in Colombia’s credit reporting system is easy for foreigners once you have a visa and cedula extranjeria identification. Unfortunately, your credit score in our home country doesn’t doesn’t help with anything in Colombia, no matter how high it is.
Note the above photo is courtesy of Bancolombia.
Why Establish Credit in Colombia?
With relatively high interest rates for loans in Colombia it is unlikely that many foreigners establish credit to get a loan.
What is Colombia’s Credit Reporting System?
DataCrédito runs the credit reporting system used in Colombia. DataCrédito is a business unit of Experian Colombia S.A. and has 40 years of experience and manages the main credit information centers in Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.
How to Sign Up with DataCrédito?
This is easy, go to a DataCrédito office. And you simply need:
- Your cedula extranjeria.
- An enlarged photocopy of your cedula extranjeria.
Once you are in the credit reporting system in Colombia, you can check your credit report using Midatacredito and the first month is free.
How to Get to DataCrédito
The DataCrédito office in Medellín is located in El Poblado in the Colmena building on the main part of Avenida Poblado, which is also known as the Milla de Oro (Golden Mile).
The nearest Medellín metro station is Aguacatala on line A. But this is located about a 25-minute walk from the Colmena building where the DataCrédito office is located.
DataCrédito reportedly has at least four offices in Colombia listed below:
- Medellín – Colmbana building, El Poblado, Medellín; Hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 11:30 am and 2 pm to 3 pm.
- Bogotá – Transversal 55 # 98A-66, Local 215 and 216, Centro Comercial Iserra; Hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday: 9 am to 1 pm.
- Cali – Calle 22N # 6AN-24, Torre B, Office 301, Edificio Santa Monica Central; Hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 3 pm.
- Barranquilla – Calle 74 # 56-36, Office 706, Centro Empresarial Inverfin; Hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 11:30 am and 2 pm to 3 pm.
Ways to Build Your Credit Score in Colombia
There are several ways to build your credit score in Colombia.
- Enroll in a postpaid (postpago) cell phone plan in your name and pay your bill on time.
- Enroll in Internet or Triple-Play (Internet/TV/phone) services in your name and pay your bill on time.
- Apply for a store credit card and pay on time. These can be easier to obtain than credit cards.
- Apply for a credit card at a bank in Colombia and pay on time. A bank credit card can be more difficult to get until you are more established in Colombia.
Many foreigners do not see a reason to build a credit history in Colombia due to the high interest rates on loans. But you need to be in the credit reporting system to sign up for a postpaid cell phone plan or for Internet/TV/phone services at your home.
My Experience Establishing Credit in Colombia
Not long after I received my first cedula many years ago, I went to the DataCrédito office in Medellín to get established in the credit reporting system. This took only a few minutes.
Establishing credit wasn’t very important for me, as I paid for everything with cash or credit cards from the U.S. But a few years ago, I decided to get a postpaid cell phone plan from Claro. And this was easy to establish, as I was already in the credit reporting system.
Also, when we moved early this year to a new casa (house) in Sabaneta, I established Internet/TV/phone service in my name instead of my Colombian wife’s name as in the past. Claro ran a quick credit check and there was no problem establishing service in my name.
The Bottom Line: A Guide How to Establish Credit in Colombia
It is relatively easy to sign up to be in Colombia’s credit reporting system that permits you to start to establish credit in Colombia.
But most foreigners living in Colombia don’t get loans due to the high interest rates. Also, mortgages are extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain in Colombia.
However, credit is important for foreigners living in Colombia, as obtaining a postpaid cell phone plan or Internet or Triple-Play (Internet/TV/phone) services in your home normally requires being in Colombia’s DataCrédito credit reporting system.
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