I have always heard about evil credit card companies preying on vunerable college students. I find that quite interesting, considering I've found it impossible to get a credit card! Even more infuriating, I've had an extremely difficult time getting information on WHY I can't get a credit card. I currently make a reasonable salary and I have never had any debts so I don't see why I'm less appropriate for an unsecured card than some 18 year old.

Every time I try to get a credit report from the free annual credit report sites, they all tell me for some complicated reason they can't give me one. One of them I ended up pursuing further by faxing them more proofs of identification (social security card + proof of address), and I was still told something about not having enough credit card history to give me a report. I forget if they gave me more options, by that point I was too frustrated to pursue it further (mistake I know). And of course now I've used up my free reports.

I was also declined a credit card by Bank of America where I have my accounts. I was then later told that if I get declined a credit card I have the right to request the reason why, but when I called Bank of America I got some complicated answer around this.

Yes, I realized I should have pursued this more aggressively, and I will in the future. I ended up just settling for a secured credit card with an annual fee just so I can establish some credit.

I have currently been in the work force for about a year, and I am trying to get more financial independence and my bad credit or no credit is a hindrance to that. I would really like to know exactly what creditors think of me though. I remember a few years ago my Dad telling me that some health bill from when I was 17 was being held against me, but he was trying to fix it since that was illegal since I was a minor. I want to make sure that this was cleared up and that there are no other things being held against me, but I'm having a really hard time just getting good information.

5 Answers 5


While I have never been in your exact situation, it appears you are going about fixing the problem in a reasonable way.

In another question, you asked about secured credit cards, and I would encourage you to make good use of that card; paying it off fully and on time, etc., in order to build up the good side of your credit.

It may indeed be true that you do not have enough of a credit history for them to provide a report. I do not know the ins and outs of credit reporting and how the law applies in either the US or Canada, but suspect that the companies are becoming leery about issuing a credit report on a point-poor curve (i.e. providing a score from limited data).

Be persistent and polite; suggest you pursue with Bank of America further. If you deal with a local branch, make an appointment there instead of just phoning a service centre. A front-line teller may not be able to help you, but a more senior staffer should certainly be able to explain - or to find out the explanation for why you were turned down.

Good Luck


Why are you having trouble getting your credit report? The only site you should go to for a credit report is annualcreditreport.com.

Here's my advice. Ditch BofA. Join a credit union. Check your credit report to see if there is any mistake that could lower your eligibility. Talk to someone from the credit union regarding a credit card. If they deny it, they'll give you a reason why. Work towards fixing the 'why'.

I've been with BofA, I've been with credit unions. There is a ocean of difference as to how you are treated.

  • +10 Realized this and switched exclusively to credit unions a decade ago...and never looked back. Credit unions are so much better than banks. Jan 25, 2018 at 18:50

If your parents are willing, and have good credit, they could add you as an "Authorized User" to one or more of their credit cards. They don't even need to give you access to their account, but just listing you as an authorized user could accelerate your ability to obtain a credit card in the future.


Another thought here: Perhaps your two problems here are actually two aspects of the same problem. Maybe you do have bad credit--from identity theft. They're having a problem with verifying who you are because you are not your identity thief.

Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and give them whatever they need in the way of ID to get to the bottom of this. I rather suspect you're not going to like what you see.


Not having a credit card is a good thing.

The reason 18-year olds are desired so much by the credit sharks is that they typically have a clean slate and their parents are already loaded up on debt, so they look to hook you in. And then if they are your 'first' credit card, that means a lot for some people (many years later).

And I agree with MoneyCone, btw.

You can build your credit history over time by paying your utilities, rent, cell phone, and other monthly bills on time each month. You don't need credit card debt to build a good credit report.

If you were a landlord, which potential tenant would you want: Tenant A: Plenty of credit cards, middle to high credit utilization ratio, some missed payments, some late payments. Tenant B: No credit cards, no missed or late payments.

  • 2
    Generally speaking, on-time monthly payments for services like telephone, electric, water, cable, Internet, etc. are not reported by most utility companies. See blog.credit.com/2013/10/… Speaking from experience, they haven't for me. Feb 20, 2016 at 20:48
  • You are 100% correct. It's when you don't pay and it goes to collections and becomes debt that it's reported. That's yet another reason the whole system is screwed up. You get zero credit (no pun intended) for doing what you should be doing, but the minute you slip up, it's reported. On the other hand, you can likely use your landlord as a reference for having paid your rent on time or early. Not sure where utilities stand on something like that.
    – Waddler
    Mar 10, 2016 at 16:42

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