Q: I’ve just turned 18 and want to establish a credit rating. How do I go about establishing my first FICO score?
A: Your FICO credit scores – like all credit scores – are based on the underlying data and information that is contained in your credit files with the “Big 3” credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
According to Fair Isaac, the company that created the three-digit FICO scores (which range from 300 to 850 points), in order to have a FICO score generated for you, your credit history must contain at least three things:
• a minimum of one credit account that has been open for six months or longer
• at least one account that is “undisputed” and that has been reported to a credit bureau during the past six months
• an absence of any notation in your credit files that you are “deceased” or that an account you are associated with belongs to a deceased person
Some Issues Are Out of Your Control
Note that if you recently began establishing a credit history, there could be delays in you being assigned a credit score.
Additionally, there are several factors outside of your control that may impact your ability to have a credit score generated.
For example, assume you opened a credit card account six months ago.
You may not yet have a FICO credit score because it’s possible that the credit card company took two or three months to actually report your account to the credit bureaus.
Additionally, there’s a good chance that you will not have a credit score if you have ever been listed as a co-signer or authorized user on a credit report, and the person with whom you were a co-signer/authorized user has died.
In such a case, that person’s credit history would note that they are deceased.
Additionally, the account you shared with that person would also reflect that it belonged to a deceased individual, which could impact you.