No credit history despite having several open accounts



Dear Experian,

I recently tried to apply for a car loan. They told me I was denied because they could not find any of my credit history information. I have a few credit cards from department stores, so I’m not sure why this happened. What can I do to have my information updated?

-   BMR

Dear BMR,

The first step is to request a free copy of your credit report so that you can verify what information is or is not appearing. When adverse action is taken, such as having your application declined, you are entitled to a free report from the credit reporting company the lender used in making its decision. The lender must provide you with instructions to request your report.

You also can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the national credit reporting companies.

If you receive your report and do not see your accounts listed, or instead get a notice that the credit reporting company does not have a record on file for you, contact the department stores you have accounts with and verify that they report to at least one of the credit reporting companies. Creditors are not required to report account information, so it is possible that these particular lenders choose not to report your accounts.

If that is the case, you may simply not have a credit report. To begin establishing a credit history, apply for a traditional credit card through your bank or credit union. If you are unable to qualify based on a lack of credit history, you might request a secured credit card instead. You can also ask a family member or friend to add you to one or more of their accounts as an authorized user or to act as a cosigner or joint account holder on a new loan or credit card account.

As long as all payments are made as agreed, in time you will be able to build up a strong credit history and qualify for bigger purchases, such as a car loan, in the future.

Thanks for asking.

Rod Griffin
Director, Public Education

Our policies for Ask Experian:

The information contained in Ask Experian is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation. Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Posts reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived posts may not reflect current Experian policy. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future post.