Q: I am trying to apply for a loan and the lender is unable to pull the score. Why is this happening and how do I fix it?

A: There are two reasons why a lender may be unable to pull your credit score. The first reason may be because your credit history isn’t long enough or you don’t have a credit history at all. If this is the case, there are a couple ways for you to start building credit:

  •  If you have a limited credit history, you may be eligible for a credit card that caters to people with average credit. If you are new to the U.S., the Capital One® Cash Rewards for Newcomers is a particularly good choice as it was designed to help those new to the U.S. establish credit and earn cash back.
  • There are also special cards that cater specifically to students.
  • If you have absolutely no credit history, one of the best ways to start building your credit is to get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require you to provide a cash collateral deposit which becomes the line of credit for that account. Use your secured card as you would a debit card, and pay it off at the end of each month to start building your credit.
  • Another good idea is to sign up for a credit monitoring service. With a service like the top-rated Identity Guard or PrivacyGuard, you can stay on top of your credit with frequent updates on your credit scores and credit reports. Compare all of the top credit monitoring services here and get your scores for free by signing up for a free trial.

The other reason lenders are unable to pull your credit score may be due to a credit freeze. A credit freeze makes it so that no new creditors will be able to access your credit report for any reason and any new accounts that you try to open will simply not be opened. Only you can request a credit freeze; however, if someone, like an identity thief, has all of your personal information, they may be able to request a credit freeze on your behalf.

If you are in fact a victim of identity theft, there are several steps you need to take right away. Better yet, identity theft protection services offer strong assistance in the case that your identity is stolen. If you are worried about becoming a victim of identity theft, visit our identity theft protection comparison page, where we review each service in detail. Note that many of these services also offer 30-day free trials and double as credit monitoring services as well, allowing you to view your credit scores and reports.