Why do I have a credit report but no credit score?

First things first…you’re not guaranteed to have a credit score.  You have to earn a score.

In order to receive a FICO credit score, you must have a credit report with data that is active or current for at least six months. Those that may not receive a score are usually new to credit, an elderly person, or someone who decided not to use credit anymore and pays cash for everything.

Credit scores predict how you will pay your bills in the future and use information from your credit report to determine this.  If there hasn’t been any recent history on your credit report, a score cannot be calculated.

There can be several reasons why you didn’t receive a score. For example, you haven’t had recent activity on your accounts, or you have all new accounts that were just opened recently. There are many different credit scores used by credit grantors, which use different definitions of recent activity.  Since the FICO score is used the most often, I will use their requirements to calculate a score, as an example.

FICO Score Requirements

To receive a FICO score, your credit report must contain the following:

One undisputed account older than six months.

One undisputed account updated within the past six months.

No deceased indicator on the credit report.

This requirement can be fulfilled with one account that has been undisputed, opened for at least six months and has been updated in the last six months.

If you are new to credit it may take several months before you receive a score, as your oldest account becomes at least six months old.  If you haven’t been credit active but have credit cards, use one to create recent activity. If you haven’t used the card in several years, it may be considered inactive and you may be able to reactivate it. Otherwise, you have to open a new account, but don’t do so if you don’t need credit.  If you decide to open a new account, determine the type of account that will be the more useful, such as a bankcard instead of a retail credit card.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.

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