Everyone should have good credit

Category: Credit Education

Minimum Requirements for a FICO Score

While many consumers fret over having low credit scores, others, including many seniors and young adults, face a less discussed challenge: Having no FICO score at all. Many of these folks, especially those with long credit histories, are clueless as to why they have no score.  Hopefully this post will explain why.

In order to have a FICO score, you must meet these three requirements:

  • Have no death certificate or death notation in your credit file;
  • Have at least one account in your credit file that’s a minimum of 6 months old;
  • Have at least one account in your credit file that has been updated in the last 6 months.

These criteria make it easy to see why college students or retirees who’ve paid off their mortgages, cars and other debts long ago have no scores. Remember that even positive tradelines can be removed from your report after 10 years.

Test your Credit Knowledge

The Consumer Federation of America has created a 21-question “Credit Score Quiz” designed to test your knowledge about credit at

The quiz is sponsored by VantageScore, the credit score created by the Big Three credit bureaus, so a number of the questions and answers go to the great lengths making it clear that the FICO score is not the only credit score out there.

My only issue with this is that someone totally new to the credit world would leave the quiz without being responsibly informed that FICO is the only score that will count for nearly every important credit decision. Notwithstanding that, I think the quiz is a good basic education resource about personal credit and I encourage you to give it a spin.

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