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Time is Necessary Before Credit Score Calculated

Dear Experian,

My husband and I recently purchased a used car. He makes an annual income of $63,000 and I am a full-time, unemployed student. Because he had zero credit and I had student loans on creating a small credit score, we were only able to sign jointly for the car. He was told being the co-signer would be a great way to start earning credit. He’s tried to get a credit card but continues to be denied for lack of credit. We’ve had the car now for four months and all payments have been on-time. We just ran his credit looking at refinancing the car to a lower interest rate and the account is there, but he still does not have a credit score. Our bank suggested contacting you to see how long it takes before he will begin earning a credit score.


Dear CJF,

The primary loan holder and cosigner share equal responsibility for the debt, and the loan will appear on both your credit report and hers. As a result, it will help him build a credit history. However, it takes time for that credit history to develop sufficiently to calculate credit scores.

Most credit scoring systems require approximately six months of history in order to calculate a score. So, you probably just need to give it some more time.

However, having only one account is still a very “thin file” and probably won’t result in high scores because you aren’t sufficiently demonstrating that you can manage risk.

We suggest that you talk to your bank or credit union and see if they will open a secured credit card account for you. That means you have to deposit money in a savings account to guarantee the amount you can charge on your credit card.

Use the card a little each month and pay it in full so that you aren’t paying finance charges and are keeping a low debt-to-credit limit ratio. Using a credit card responsibly can be the best type of credit reference to help build positive scores.

If you are unable to qualify for a secured card, it may be a good idea, to refrain from applying for credit cards or other types of credit until some more account history is added. Applying for a lot of new accounts gives the appearance that you are trying to suddenly take on a lot of new debt, which is a sign of risk.

The best thing to do now is sit back, relax and keep making those payments on time. Eventually he will have enough history to score. It just takes patience and consistent payments on that car loan.

Thanks for asking.
– The “Ask Experian” team