Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness. Checking your credit score is an important part of maintaining good financial health, which is why it’s frustrating if you can’t find your credit score and you’re not sure why.
Whether you’re just beginning your credit journey or your credit score has suddenly disappeared, we’ll go over the most common reasons why your credit score might not be showing up and what you can do to fix it.
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If you’re trying to check your credit score but nothing’s coming up, there are four possible explanations.
1. You’re looking at your credit report
If you can’t see your credit score, it’s possible you’re just looking in the wrong place.
One prevalent credit myth is that credit scores are included in your credit reports. The truth is that credit scores and credit reports are entirely separate products, and your credit report usually won’t include your credit score.
You usually won’t see your score in the free credit reports provided by the three credit bureaus (e.g., on AnnualCreditReport.com). 1 If your credit report is the only place you’ve tried to look up your credit score, try checking elsewhere before you conclude there’s anything wrong.
Where should you actually check your credit score?
Good places to look up your credit score include:
- Your bank’s website: If you have a bank account or a credit card, they might have a lookup service in their online portal that will display one of your FICO credit scores. Sign in to your account to check.
- A credit monitoring service: There are several popular credit monitoring websites, such as CreditKarma, that will provide you with your credit score (most often your VantageScore, an alternate scoring model). Their full credit monitoring services will probably cost money, but you may be able to check your score for free.
- A credit bureau or FICO’s website: FICO’s website features a credit monitoring service which will show your score with every credit bureau, although this costs money. The bureaus themselves (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) also offer your scores separately. Their services may either be paid or free.
2. You’ve never had a credit score
If you’re checking your credit score for the first time, you’re looking in the right place, and you’re getting results like “credit score unavailable,” then it’s possible that you have no credit score at all. In this case, you’re considered “unscorable” or “credit invisible.”
If you haven’t gotten a credit score yet, it probably means one of the following things:
- You don’t have any credit accounts: If you haven’t yet opened your first credit account (e.g., because you’re young or a recent immigrant), then you won’t have a credit score. This is because FICO and VantageScore calculate your credit score based on your credit activity in the US.
- You’ve only recently started using credit: If you only just opened your first credit account, your lender may not have reported your account to the credit bureaus yet. Even if they have, FICO won’t generate a score for you until your account is at least 6 months old. 2 VantageScore will generate a score after just one month, but their scoring model is less popular than FICO’s.
- Your creditor isn’t reporting your credit account activity: Most lenders report credit accounts to the major credit reporting agencies, but some only report to one bureau or none at all. If you’re checking your score with a credit bureau none of your lenders reports to, then you won’t see a credit score.
3. You haven’t used credit in a while
If you previously had a credit score but you can no longer find it through your score provider, it could be because you’re no longer considered scorable by FICO or VantageScore. This generally happens when your credit report only lists closed or old accounts.
To generate a score, most credit scoring models require that one or more of your accounts be active within the past 6 months. Any credit activity that occurred before this time is considered “stale” information and may not be factored into the calculation of your credit score. 3
4. There’s been an error
If you’ve been using credit for more than 6 months and your lender has been reporting your activity to the credit bureaus, then you should be able to access your score from FICO, Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or a third-party score provider.
If your credit score isn’t showing up, then it could be due to an error (either a technical glitch or a credit reporting mistake).
Contact your score provider directly by phone or mail if you think there’s been an error. You can contact the major credit reporting agencies using the links below:
What to do if you don’t have a credit score
If it turns out your score isn’t showing up because you don’t have one, don’t panic. You won’t be penalized for not having a score.
However, having one can certainly make your life easier. For instance, if you don’t have a credit score, you may need a cosigner to take out a loan or get an apartment, and utility, cable, or phone companies may ask you to pay a deposit before they offer you their products and services.
Moreover, having good credit comes with various benefits. For example, you’ll have more options when applying for different types of credit and get lower interest rates because lenders will be able to see that you’re a trustworthy borrower.
If you decide you want a credit score, then you’ll need to start building credit. There are credit hacks that’ll allow you to obtain your score more quickly, but at its core, credit-building is really very simple. You just have to:
- Get a credit account: The first step is obviously to get a credit account (i.e., a credit card). Start by picking a card from our list of credit cards for no credit, which you’ll be able to qualify for even though you don’t have a credit score yet. You should also consider getting a credit-builder loan, which is specifically designed for people who are just starting out and want to establish a positive credit history.
- Make regular payments: Once you’ve gotten access to a line of credit, all you have to do is use it regularly and make sure you always pay your bills on time. This will build your payment history, which is the most important component in the calculation of your credit score.
Follow those steps and in six months or less, your credit score should finally appear and you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits of having good credit.