Recent Graduate May Not Have a Credit Report

Dear Experian,

What should I do if I cannot be found in your system? I am trying to obtain a credit report since I have just graduated college and would like to start building credit.


Dear AGB,

You do not have a credit history until you have established a credit account. If you have never had a credit account you will not have a credit file with Experian.

Once you establish credit, such as a credit card or loan, the creditor will begin reporting your payment history to the credit reporting companies. A credit file will then be established for you, and you will be able to request a copy of your report.

Not all creditors report account information. That can be an important consideration when deciding where to open an account. However, most national banking companies report their accounts to all three national credit reporting companies.

It can be difficult to obtain your first account if you have never had credit. Often, applying for a small loan or low-limit credit card at a bank or credit union where you already have a checking or savings account is a good place to start.

If you are unable to obtain a traditional credit card, consider applying for a secured card. A secured card is linked to a checking or savings account. The credit limit is usually a percentage of the savings account balance. If you manage the secured account well, the lender may convert the account to a traditional, unsecured credit card account.

Another suggestion would be to apply for a card with your favorite retailer. Sometimes these are easier to qualify for and can help build your credit history until you can qualify for other accounts.

Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team