What Credit Score Do You Start With?

ByG. Dautovic
December 23, 2021

“What credit score do you start with?” This is a question that a lot of people have when it comes to understanding their credit score and whether or not they are going to be able to secure any lending options in the future.  

In this guide, we will reveal everything you need to know about your starting credit score, as well as the steps you can take to build on it. So, continue reading to discover everything you need to know. 

What Is Your Starting Credit Score?

We all begin with no credit score. If you consider that your credit score is generated based on your ability to pay back the money you have borrowed and all of the data within your credit report, it makes sense that you would not have any sort of score until you have enough information on your account.  

If you do not have an established credit history, your score won’t simply appear or be good just because you’ve turned eighteen. Unfortunately, it does not work like that. A lot of people assume that they will have a good credit score because they have not taken out any credit yet. But if you have not taken out any credit, you don’t have a credit history, which makes it impossible to score well because you have not shown that you will pay back your bills on time.

What Score Does Your Credit Start With?

Once you have established credit, your first credit score could range anywhere from 500 to 700, depending on your initial financial performance. The age of your credit profile is the only connection between your first credit score and the scoring metrics at this point.

You must also consider that this element is only worth about 15 percent of your full credit score. Therefore, if you build up good habits quickly, you can start increasing your score. Still, you need to temper your expectations when it comes to shooting for excellent credit scores right away.

Does Your Credit Score Start at 0?

Your credit score does not start at zero. A lot of people assume that their credit score is going to start at 0, but this is not the case. In fact, the lowest possible score that you can have is 300.

Furthermore, while there is no credit score to be drawn upon and little to no payment history to speak of, you haven’t done anything to damage your credit score, either. You do need to prove your creditworthiness, but you’re not going to start from zero.

Factors Influencing Credit Score & How To Improve It

Now that you have a good understanding of your credit score starting point, it makes sense to start looking into building your credit. After all, it is not about where you start but more about where you end up.

There are a lot of different factors that can influence your credit score, but here are some of the most important ones:

Make Sure Your Details Are Up to Date - If your details are not up to date or accurate, this could be a big red flag, so the first place to begin is by making sure your details are up to date. 

Obtain a Credit Card, but Don’t Go Overboard - while credit cards are the default way to build credit, and you want to get one as soon as you are able to (once you’ve turned 18), don’t overdo it with getting more. While you definitely want to have a card you can use to go into debt and then pay it off to build your credit score, every time you get a new credit card, you’ll get a hard pull from the credit card issuers which can damage your credit score.

Pay Your Debts on Time - You need to make sure that you make the minimum payments on your account each time. If you don’t, this will be logged as a late payment. If you then miss another payment, you will be marked as missing payments. This will definitely hurt your credit score, just as paying everything off on time will improve it.

Be Mindful of Financial Associations - If you have a joint bank account with someone, and they have defaulted on their accounts, you could end up being punished because of their poor financial performance, so keep this in mind.

Consider Your Debt Ratio - If you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, and you have spent the entire $1,000, your debt ratio is going to be 100 percent. You should make a dedicated effort to get your debt ratio down to about 30% or less.

How Long Your Accounts Have Been Open For - The longer your accounts have been open, without you applying for new credit, the better. If you make a new application, this will show on your account as a “hard pull,” indicating that you rely on credit and probably affecting your credit score negatively.

Your Highest Credit Limit - Finally, if a creditor agrees to set a credit card with a high limit for you, this indicates that they trust you. Therefore, the higher your credit limit, the better it can reflect on your score. This is why you get offered a low limit to begin with - you had no credit history to show that you can pay your debts off on time.

FAQ

What is my credit score if I have never borrowed money?

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There is no way to tell 100% accurately. The lowest possible FICO score you can get is 300, with the highest being 850. You’re unlikely to have either of these when you start. With no credit history, you can expect to be closer to the lower end of the spectrum, but you won’t have the lowest possible credit rating, either. 

What credit score does an 18-year-old start with?

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Most people find that their first credit score tends to be around the 500s. For example, a 580 credit score can be pretty typical for someone just starting to build their score through their first credit card. This is because they do not have any credit history for lenders to draw their opinions on.

How long does it take to get a 700 credit score?

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It will take approximately six months of credit activity for you to generate sufficient history for a FICO credit score, which is used for the vast majority of lending decisions today. FICO credit scores start at 300, and they can be as high as 850. Getting to 700 will mostly depend on what you start with, but don’t expect it to happen within a few months.

Does credit build before 18?

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No, you will need to be 18+ to start building credit. This is because you need to be at least 18 to have a credit card or get out a loan, which are the traditional ways that people use to start building their credit

What's the highest credit score?

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The highest credit score number that you can possibly get in terms of FICO credit scores is 850. 

How fast can you build credit?

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There is no quick fix when it comes to building credit. It will simply take around six months for you to see any real impact. However, there are a number of things you can do to boost your credit rating, including paying off all of your credit cards, joining the electoral roll, and making sure that all of your personal information is up to date. 

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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