You just received your credit reports, but you don’t see any scores. What happened? Is it even possible?
There are a few reasons to why you might not have a credit score. Perhaps you’re young, or new to the country, or maybe you don’t have any recent credit activities. Since your credit scores are based on the information in your credit reports, you might not have enough activates or history for the bureaus to generate a score. You are not the only one; it is estimated that at least 45 million Americans don’t have credit scores.
But don’t be afraid. Here are five things you need to know if you don’t have credit scores.
1. You may still have credit reports.
The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion create your credit reports based on information supplied from credit lenders. Just because you don’t have a score doesn’t mean the bureaus haven’t collected information about you in their reports.
If you’ve opened an account in the past, you already have a credit report. But you will only see a score if your report has recent activities within the last 24 months.
It is important to review your reports even if you don’t have a score yet. Regular reviews can help you spot erroneous items or signs of identity theft. If you notice an account or credit inquiry you don’t recognize, dispute the error immediately. It negatively affects your score.
[Credit Glory can help you dispute errors with credit bureaus]
2. Having open accounts doesn’t mean you have scores
Active accounts are the main contributors to your scores. Most scoring models look for activities within the last 24 months. If you’ve had accounts in the past but is no longer in use, or if you have closed accounts in your report, there won’t be recent activity to generate a credit score.
Even if you have accounts with recent credit activity, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a credit score. Lenders are not required to report to any credit bureaus, some might only report to one bureau, two bureaus, or none at all. If you have an account that isn’t reported to a particular bureau, you won’t be able to see the activity in that bureau’s credit report at all. Hence the reason why sometimes you get different items and scores from different credit bureaus.
A good practice to build proper credit is to make sure your card issuer or lender reports to all three major bureaus. Future potential lenders won’t be able to see your healthy credit habits if your current lender won’t report your on-time payments to all three bureaus.
3. Your options are limited for credit
Without a credit score, it will be difficult to get credit. Potential lenders like to see that you have a history of paying back borrowed money on time. Which means having credit helps you get more credit.
If you don’t have a credit card, it is essential to use other forms of credit or loans to show your ability to manage debt and make on-time payments. Such as making on-time payments to your student loans.
If you aren’t approved for other forms of credit, you may look at secured cards as an option. These secured cards make payments just as a credit card would, but the difference is you pay up front with a deposit instead at the end of the month. Your credit limit is typically the amount of your deposit. With enough responsible use, you will typically get back your deposit after a certain period of time.
Another option is to ask someone you trust to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. This is known as credit piggybacking. When you are an authorized user, activity on that card appears on your report as if it is your card.
[See our authorized user guide here]
4. Not having a score doesn’t mean you have bad credit.
Not having a score means you haven’t needed to apply for credit yet, which isn’t a bad thing. It also isn’t an indicator that you have bad credit habits. Once you get your initial score, your credit habits will determine if it increases or decreases over time.
5. It will take time to build a score.
There are many factors that contribute to your score. Read our credit score article to see the breakdown. There is no set amount of time before you get a score, it depends on your credit history and habits.
Building a good credit means showing your ability to repay debts on time over a period of time. Once you get a loan or open a credit card account, your credit history will begin to build as you pay bills.
There are many reasons to not having a credit score. With consistent and responsible credit use, you will eventually get a score. Be patient, it’ll take some time.