Why Don't I Have a Credit Score?

Frustrated woman checking credit score on computer
© JGI/Jamie Grill / Creative RF / Getty

You're following wise advice by checking your credit to be sure to see where you stand, but if you haven't had much experience with credit, you may not have a credit score. Don't worry. You didn't do anything wrong and you're not alone. More than 50 million adults don't have a FICO score, according to a 2015 FICO report. This commonly happens to people who haven't established credit histories, especially young adults.

It can also happen if all your credit accounts remain dormant for several months.

Two Reasons You May Not Have a Credit Score

Understanding how credit scores are calculated can help you better understand why you don't have a score. Credit scores are numerical summary of information in your credit report. The scores are used to gauge your creditworthiness. Higher credit scores indicate that you're likely to repay credit obligations based on how you've handled credit in the past.

Credit scores are based on information in your credit report, which is a compilation of your credit accounts including credit cards, loans, and any negative records like debt collection or lawsuit judgment. If you've never had any of these types of accounts, that explains why you don't have a credit score - you don't have a credit history to score.

Say you recently opened your first credit card, but you've only had it for a few months.

You may not have a credit score either. The FICO score needs you to have at least one account that's been active within the past six months.

You might have several accounts that you haven't used in several months, years even. In that case, you wouldn't have a credit scores, despite having a credit history, because all of your accounts have been inactive for so long.

How to Check Your Credit History

You can check a recent copy of your credit report to see how much credit history you have. If you've never had a credit account, you may not be able to access your credit report either. After all, there can be no credit report without some type of credit history.

You have credit scores based on each of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It's possible to have a credit score with one bureau and not the others if the account(s) you have open do not report your history to all three credit bureaus.

How to Establish Your Credit Score

To get approved for most credit cards and loans, you need to have a credit score. You have a few options for getting a credit card when you're just starting out with credit:

  • Your local bank to apply for a credit card
  • A student credit cards, if you're a student
  • Retail store credit cards
  • A secured credit card, which requires a deposit for approval
  • Get a joint credit card with a friend or relative
  • Become an authorized user to a friend or relative's existing credit cards

After you've opened a credit account (that reports to at least one of the major credit bureaus) and you've used it for six months, you should be able to order your credit score.

Be sure to manage your credit wisely to build a good credit score.