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How Long After Getting My First Credit Account Will a Score Be Created?

Dear Experian,

I am an international student. It was very difficult for me to get a credit card application approved even after getting a job and getting a Social Security number. I applied for six cards and I was finally approved for one but I still do not have a credit score. How long will it take before I can actually see my credit score on the credit report? And how much of a negative impact will the six hard inquiries have on my credit score once it is generated?

- KLM

Dear KLM,

If you've just opened your first credit account, you probably won't have a credit score immediately. Accounts usually need to have a minimum of three months and perhaps as much as six months of activity before they can be used to calculate a credit score.

There are many different credit scoring companies, and how quickly a credit score can be calculated depends on the credit scoring formula being used and how quickly the information is reported by the lender.

For example, a VantageScore can often be calculated as soon as the account appears on the credit report, but the account must be at least six months old in order to generate a credit score from FICO. Other credit scoring formulas may have different time frames.

Accounts usually aren't reported until the end of the first billing cycle, when there is a payment to report. For that reason, it's a good idea to allow a month or two before checking your report to see if it is there.

If your new account does not yet appear on your credit report, you may want to check with your creditor to verify that they report to Experian and to ask when you can expect it to appear on your report. While most major credit companies do report to the three national credit reporting agencies, it's always a good idea to verify before opening an account to establish credit.

Using Your New Account to Build Credit

In the meantime, the most beneficial thing you can do for your credit scores is to manage your new credit card account responsibly.

The two most important factors in credit scoring are your payment history and your utilization rate. You should make all your payments on time and keep your balances low, ideally paying your balance in full each month. The longer your account is active and in good standing, the better for your credit scores.

Credit Scores Are Not Part of a Credit Report

Credit scores are a tool to help determine the risk of lending to a person. They are calculated using the information from your credit report, but they are not part of the credit report. When you get your credit report you will not see a credit score with it. You must request a credit score separately.

There are a number of ways to request your credit scores. Along with the number you should also receive an explanation of what the score means in terms of risk and a list of the risk factors that were generated with it.
The risk factors explain what from your credit report most affected the score you received. The factors empower you to take action to improve your scores over time by addressing the issues they describe.

How Multiple Inquiries May Affect You

While multiple inquiries made within a short amount of time can sometimes be viewed as a sign of risk, the good news is that any affect they have on your credit scores will be temporary and likely minimal.

Inquiries remain on your credit report for two years as a record of who has requested your credit information, but their impact begins to fade after only a few months.

Although you should be selective when applying for new credit going forward, the key to having strong credit is to be diligent in using your accounts responsibly. If you do that, you will be well on your way to achieving good credit scores.

Thank you for asking,
The "Ask Experian" Team

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