What Does it Mean to Have a “Thin” Credit File or “No Credit File”?

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on January 11, 2010

in Credit Cards, Credit Scores


If you have been told that you have a “thin” credit file, “no credit file” or “no credit score,” it is likely due to one of three causes:

1) You’ve Never Had Credit

This would be the case if you’ve never had a traditional credit account, such as a car loan or credit card. Or perhaps you opened one many years ago, but you’ve long since stop using it and your entire credit history has been dormant for many years.

2) You’ve Just Recently Established Credit

Another possibility: you may have actually had credit extended to you, but it was established so recently that the account is not yet being reported by your creditor nor tracked by the bureaus. Sometimes, it can take as long as four to six months for newly-opened accounts to be reported to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, according to the bureaus.

3) Someone Thinks You’re Dead

I’m not kidding. Read on for an explanation below.

If you recently opened a credit account, it couldn’t hurt to contact your creditor to make sure they have, indeed, reported your newly-opened account. But frankly, there’s not much you can do besides wait for the information to start being supplied by the credit furnisher and monitored by the bureau. Try not to worry too much about it at this point; it should happen soon.

If Your Thin File Isn’t Due To a Lack of Credit, Check Your Pulse ….

There’s another circumstance, however, in which you should be concerned about having “no credit file” or no credit score. It’s when you have, in fact, opened a credit account or multiple accounts, but you’re not showing up on the credit bureaus’ records. The likely problem? Somebody probably believes that you’re dead. No, seriously.

The “Master Death Index”

The Social Security Administration supplies something called a “Master Death Index” to credit bureaus, other businesses and government agencies. If your social security number somehow winds up on that list, you are presumed to be deceased. Obviously, that makes it pretty tough to get a Visa card. Even if you have multiple credit accounts, if one of them suddenly includes a notation that references you as a person who is dead, that can literally kill your whole credit file. If you suspect that this has happened to you, contact the Social Security Administration (http://www.ssa.gov) to get help fixing the problem.

Who Typically Has a “Thin” Credit File?

And who fits into the category of having a “thin” credit file? Traditionally, young adults, immigrants, and women who have not had credit in their own name all fit the classic profile of individuals with “thin” credit files.

Fortunately, all these individuals can boost their credit rating by adding positive information to their credit files. This can be an especially valuable step for those trying to establish credit, those who’ve been told you have a “thin” credit file, or anyone who may have been denied credit simply because you have “no credit file” at all.

This Article Answered The Following Money Questions:

  • no credit bureau file
  • what does a thin credit file mean
  • what does thin file mean
  • thin credit file
  • what does no credit file mean
  • thin file credit

Previous post:

Next post: