Why a New Credit Card May Not Show on a Credit Report

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As soon as a credit card account starts to appear on your credit reports, you can use the card to create a great credit history and develop high credit scores. However, you may be surprised to discover that a new account isn't being listed on your credit report right away—and sometimes not at all.

A new credit card may not show up on your credit report due to a delay or an omission in credit reporting. Here's what you can do about it.

How Long Does It Take for a New Credit Card to Show on a Credit Report?

Let's say you found the perfect credit card. You submitted an application online and were instantly approved. When the card arrives about a week later, you follow the activation instructions and make a few charges. With all that activity, the account should be appearing on your credit reports by that point, right? Not necessarily.

It's up to the credit card company to send information about the account to the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. When the bureaus receive account information, they will begin to include it in your credit reports. Each month thereafter, the credit card company will update the bureaus with the most recent information about your balance and payment activity.

But this process can take time at first. Each credit card company sets its own due dates and payment cycles, and updates the bureaus at different times of the month. That includes when it first notifies the bureaus that you've been issued a new credit card.

Depending on the credit card company, you can expect the credit card to appear on your credit report 30 to 60 days after the date it was granted, depending on when the card's billing cycle ends. You may have to contact your credit card issuer to learn your billing cycle's end date.

Reasons Why an Account May Not Be Appearing

While a delay in a new account showing up on a credit report can often be chalked up to a card issuer's timeline in furnishing your account information to the credit bureaus, there are a few other potential explanations. For example:

  • Identification mix-up: It's possible that your name and Social Security number were not entered correctly when you applied for the credit card. In that case, the account is not being associated with your credit file, so it won't be connected to you.
  • The company doesn't participate in the credit reporting process: There is no law that requires a creditor to send information to the credit reporting bureaus. Most credit card companies do, but a few choose to work with only one or two of the bureaus, or even opt out entirely. It's often wise to check with a card issuer to make sure you understand their credit reporting process before you apply for the card.
  • Tech glitch: Although uncommon, a technical issue may prevent an account from being shown on your credit report, even if the lender is providing the information to the bureaus. For example, this could happen because two credit card companies are in the process of merging. In such situations, the account may be absent from your credit report until after the consolidation is complete. The good news: The omission is short and temporary, so there's nothing you have to do except wait.
  • It's under a different company name: It's also possible your new credit card is on your report after all, but isn't appearing as you'd expect so you're overlooking it. Maybe you opened a retail credit card and are looking for it to show up under the department store's name. Instead, look for the date the account was issued and the credit limit. You may see that it's being listed under the name of the bank that manages the store's account. Mystery solved!

What to Do if Your Credit Card Is Still Not Showing Up

Don't panic if the credit card you opened is not appearing on your Experian credit report. It may be on the other two or just one, so pull your credit reports from the other credit reporting bureaus and read them over. Hopefully it will be on at least one of them. You can get your credit reports from all three credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com or through Experian.

Not there? Your credit card issuer may not send your account activity to any of the bureaus. In the future, select an issuer carefully to be sure it will appear on all three of your credit reports. If necessary, call the company to find out before you apply.

In the event you do spot issues, such as identification errors, take action to rectify the problem. Call the credit card company and update your identification information. To make sure lenders get the full picture of your payment history, you'll want all your accounts to show up on your credit report and factor into your credit scores.

Having a long history of on-time payments in your credit file will help your credit rating rise. So if your credit card isn't showing up, consider adding other types of information to your credit report. By signing up for Experian Boost®ø, you can have your utility and cellphone bills added to your credit report at no extra cost to you—with the likely benefit of a credit score increase. It makes sense to have those timely payments work in your favor!