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Denied Because Lack of Credit History

Dear Experian,

I moved to the U.S. two years ago and have since applied three times for a department store card. Requests got denied because I apparently didn’t have a credit score. I also applied for a secured credit card which got approved, and I am slowly starting to build my credit score. Unfortunately, I already have four hard requests. How can I remove older requests that were denied due to the missing credit score?

– MPC

Dear MPC,

Credit scores are calculated using the information from your credit report. “You don’t have a credit score” is a common misstatement. In fact, having just moved to the U.S., the issue was that you didn’t have a credit report, so a score could not be calculated.

You don’t have a credit report until you have a credit account reported as belonging to you.

Opening a Secured Credit Card Account Can Help Build Credit

A secured credit card account is a good way to begin establishing a credit history, especially if the lender reports their secured accounts to Experian. In some instances, the lender may not initially report the secured account. However, they may convert it to a traditional, unsecured credit card account after you have demonstrated that you can use it responsibly.

When the account is reported to Experian, a credit report will be established for you and you will begin building a credit history that can then be used to calculate credit scores. Most credit scoring models require six months of payment history in order to generate a score, although some may be able to calculate a score in only three months.

Impact of Inquiries on Your Credit Scores

Inquiries are simply a record that you have applied for credit in the past. They remain in your credit report for two years, although some credit score calculations don’t include them after a year.

Inquiries provide a record of who has accessed your credit report, and cannot be removed sooner unless they were the result of fraud or identity theft. Based on your question, it sounds as if the inquiries may be deleted soon, if they haven’t been already.

If not, don’t worry too much. Inquiries only have a small impact on credit scores and that impact decreases over time. The positive credit history you are now building will soon outweigh any negative impact of the inquiries, if it doesn’t already.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team