No Credit History Despite Having Several Open Accounts

A young couple admiring a new car
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 copy of your credit report annually from each of the national credit reporting companies. At any time, you can also request your free credit report from Experian, with free updated reports every 30 days on sign in.

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.
The "Ask Experian" team

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. 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 may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through April 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.