Declination for young adult may be result of federal law but won’t hurt scores

Dear Experian,

My daughter applied for a student credit card but was turned down due to insufficient income and excessive obligation. She had no previous credit history. Does this create a credit history, and is it now adversely affected?



Dear JTL,

Your daughter’s application may have been declined as a result of federal law rather than lack of a credit history, although both issues probably played a part.

The federal CARD Act prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from being granted credit unless they have a cosigner or can prove that they have sufficient income to manage the debt. The declination letter was likely generated in reference to the fact that she does not have enough income and the debt would represent an excessive obligation as a result.

If she did not have a credit report, applying for credit would have created one if the credit card company requested a credit history to help with their decision. The identifying information entered by that company would be captured by the credit reporting company along with the date and the identity of the company which inquired. She would then have a credit report with that credit reporting company consisting of her ID information and one inquiry.

To find out if she has a report with the other credit reporting companies, she can make a request at

If credit reports exist they will be provided to her for free once every 12 months. If not, she will get a message stating there is no record on file for her.

A credit file on record could be evidence of credit fraud or identity theft if she in fact has never had credit in her name. She will be able to take steps to stop fraudulent activity if her credit reports indicate she is being victimized.

If there is no evidence of fraud, or no credit report on file, you or another adult may need to cosign for her in order to meet the requirements of the CARD Act.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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