While most negative information comes off your credit report after seven years, even the good accounts can disappear after 10 years if they've been closed and/or inactive. In addition, some scoring formulas can't generate a credit score if it's been awhile since any of your creditors reported to the bureaus.
That means some people who had robust credit files at one time could potentially find themselves with a thin file or no credit score if they close accounts and/or stop using credit.
If you have a history of credit but no longer have a score, make a small purchase on one of your existing accounts, and pay it off right away, says Barry Paperno, consumer affairs manager with myFICO.com.
That will give you the recent activity the scoring formula needs to assign you a score, he says.
If you're new to the credit game, it could take awhile to get a credit score, depending on the scoring model used to compute it. For a FICO score, your oldest account needs to be at least six months old. Using the VantageScore model, a consumer's credit report could be scored after the first month of paying on a credit account.