Zero Credit Score: Definition, Benefits, Drawback & More

Table of contents
zero credit score
Organize, Pay, and Build Your Credit Profile
Consolidate bills and BNPL payments, effortlessly manage your budget, and avoid overdraft fees. Join Cushion now and build your credit history with the payments you're already making!
Sign up for Free

Is it even possible to have a zero credit score? Before we get into what a zero credit score is and what it means for you to have one, let’s first address this question. Technically, no one can have a zero credit score. The lowest possible score is 300, but no consumer currently has that score, says Experian.

A zero credit score just means you don’t have a credit score, and it may be due to various reasons. This article will help you understand how you can have a zero credit score, what it signifies, and its effects on your financial health.

what is a zero credit score

What Does a Zero Credit Score Mean?

Many people confuse a zero credit score with having the lowest possible credit score, but that’s not the case. A zero credit score indicates that you don’t have any credit score at all because there isn’t enough credit history for the credit bureaus to calculate one for you. This situation is often referred to as being “credit invisible,” which means that there is insufficient information in your credit file to generate a score.

Turn Daily Expenses into Credit Profile Wins
Consolidate bills and BNPL payments, effortlessly manage your budget, and avoid overdraft fees. Join Cushion now and build your credit history with the payments you’re already making.
Track Payments

Why Is My Credit Score Zero?

If you found that your credit report shows a “0” credit score, there could be a few reasons behind it. Here are some common reasons why your credit score might be zero.

No recorded credit history

This is the most common reason for not having a credit score. If you’ve never opened a credit card, taken out a loan, or had any utility bills or rent in your name, there’s no data available to base a score on.

A credit score is essentially a numerical representation of your creditworthiness based on your past credit and financial behavior. Without any such data, credit bureaus and lenders cannot assess your creditworthiness and, therefore, cannot generate a credit score for you.

Aged credit data

When it comes to generating a credit score, one important factor that is taken into consideration is credit activity. However, if you haven’t used credit in the past six months or more, your credit activity might be considered too old to generate a score.

This means that lenders may not have enough recent data to evaluate your creditworthiness and may be hesitant to approve you for credit. Therefore, it’s important to maintain regular credit activity to ensure that your credit score remains active and up-to-date.

0 credit score

Recent entry into credit activity

If you have just started using credit, it is possible that there may not be enough information available to calculate a credit score. Credit scores are calculated based on a variety of factors, including payment history, length of credit history, credit utilization, and types of credit used. If you have not yet established a credit history, it may take some time for credit bureaus to gather enough information to generate a score.

how credit score is calculated

Errors or misreporting

An incorrect credit report can sometimes result in a zero credit score if, for instance, you’re mistakenly marked as deceased or mixed up with another consumer. In fact, a third of Americans have discovered inaccuracies in their credit reports.

Credit bureaus may not perfectly match your social security number, which can lead to someone else’s accounts being added to your credit file. Errors like these underscore the importance of monitoring your credit report regularly.

Is a Zero Credit Score Good?

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) credit scoring model, credit scores fall into one of the following ranges:

fico credit scoring model

As you can see, the higher your credit score, the better. However, if you have no credit, your score is zero. While this isn’t an ideal credit score, having no credit score can have some benefits.

For one, having a zero credit score means that you don’t have any negative credit history. This gives you a clean slate to start building good credit. Additionally, starting from scratch means that you have the potential to build a good credit score, which is much easier than repairing a poor one.

However, there are also some drawbacks to having a zero credit score. It can be challenging to get approved for loans, rentals, and credit cards with a zero credit score. If you do get approved for credit, you may face higher interest rates or less favorable terms due to the lack of a credit history. Furthermore, everyday financial transactions and verifications that require credit checks can become more complicated without a credit score.

Tips to Improve Your “0” Credit Score

To move from being credit invisible to establishing a good credit score, consider the following strategies:

  1. Apply for a secured credit card: Secured credit cards require a cash deposit that serves as your credit limit. By using it responsibly and paying off the balance each month on time, you can begin to build your credit history.
  2. Become an authorized user: Being added as an authorized user on a family member’s credit card can help you piggyback off their credit history.
  3. Take out a credit-builder loan: These loans are designed specifically for building credit. The money you borrow is held in a bank account while you make payments and build credit.
  4. Check your credit reports regularly: Ensure there are no errors or inaccuracies that could affect your credit status. Always dispute any discrepancies with the credit bureaus to maintain your credit health.
  5. Report alternative payments: Some services report your rent and utility payments to credit bureaus, which can help establish your credit history.

Cushion is an app designed to help you build your credit history with bills, subscriptions, or Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payments you are already making. It simplifies the organization and tracking of your bills and automatically reports your successful payments to credit bureaus each month. This not only contributes to building a positive credit history but also turns routine payments into significant opportunities for credit improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to build your credit score from zero?

Building a credit score can be a lengthy process, and the timeline may differ based on the credit scoring system utilized and the speed at which your lender reports information. Usually, it takes around three to six months of account activity before the data can be used to generate a FICO score.

Can you pass a credit check with no credit history?

Yes, you can pass a credit check without a credit history, but it can be challenging. A credit history typically reflects a borrower’s ability to manage and repay debt. Without a credit report, lenders have no way to assess creditworthiness. This can lead to either denial of credit or less favorable terms.

How can I start a small business with a zero credit score?

Starting a small business with a zero credit score can be difficult, but it’s definitely possible. Explore alternative financing options such as microloans from nonprofit organizations, crowdfunding platforms, or securing investments from family and friends. Also, consider building your credit by applying for a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card, as these actions can help establish a credit history over time.

Summary

Being credit invisible is not a permanent state. By understanding what a zero credit score is and how credit-building works, you can establish a credit history that will gradually lead to a credit score. Starting with tools designed for credit building can set you on a path toward financial credibility, opening up new opportunities for loans, lower security deposits, and more favorable terms on various financial products.

Last Updated on May 05, 2024
Found this helpful?
Dig deeper into your finances by starting a Free Trial with Cushion.
Get started
Cushion is your go-to app for organizing, paying, and building your credit profile with your existing bills, subscriptions, and Buy Now Pay Later.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this website is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Consult with a financial professional for personalized guidance regarding your specific situation.

Get the credit you deserve for payments you're already making.

Your credit profile will thank you.
Get started