A Credit Score is Born: Starting Score for an 18 Year old.


New information recently popped up in my son, JumpStart Jack’s, USAA account. JS Jack’s credit tile had displayed the invalid credit score of 4 since his 18th birthday.  Credit scores range from 300 to 850, but googling led to no reliable information about what to expect from the first credit score for an 18 year old.

After his birthday, clicking on the USAA links only led to errors, no information, and frustration.  Other services like Discover and Creditkarma.com had the same frustrating lack of results.

Recently the updated tile pictured below appeared.  It had taken about 70 days after his 18th birthday for the credit monitoring tile to properly report his first credit score.

Clicking on the tile led to this graphic, which pegs his starting score as 742 and in the green “very good” range.

The 0 factors helping and 0 factors hurting detail isn’t the most informative.

Under “account alerts” 2 new accounts with dates were displayed, which are his authorized user AMEX Delta and his new Discover-it for Students card.


After the success on USAA, I decided to check Discover’s free service, and logged into JS Jack’s account.  The Discover credit monitoring service had previously displayed a message that his score was unavailable.  I was pleased to see Discover now had a score displayed.  Discover had a slightly higher score of 757 “very dependable” rating.

The green up arrow shows positive factors and lists “no missed payments” which is kind of funny considering his first credit card is so new, he hasn’t had a chance to miss a payment yet.

The negative red down arrow is also kind of funny.  I would sum it up similar to Little Red Riding Hood’s porridge:

  • Limited accounts bad.
  • Lots of accounts bad.
  • Moderate amount of accounts just right.

JS Jack needs some more accounts to move up into the moderate number of accounts just right range.


After the success with USAA and Discover, I went to check Creditkarma.com.  Creditkarma.com was previously the most frustrating site. After going through all the account creating tasks, it gave an error screen, gave no score, and didn’t create an account.

During the account creation process, Creditkarma.com requested a new step, this time.  The website required me to download the mobile ap, and submit a picture of JS Jack’s driver’s license.  After this step, another successful updated credit score popped up.  The score was the lowest yet at 710 which is the blue “good” range.

Creditkarma.com has more detailed information than the other sites.

I was pleased to see 3 open accounts and an average card age of 8 months.  His oldest account at almost 2 years must be the authorized user card on my AMEX Starwood.  Average account age is a factor in credit scores.  JS Jack hasn’t even been 18 for 3 months, so an average account age of 8 months sounds promising.

Another tab stated JS Jack had made 4 out of 4 payments on time.  I do not know what this is referencing. I have made the payments on my AMEX accounts, and the first month hasn’t even closed on his new Discover card yet.

It listed 2 credit report pulls which correspond with his rejection with Bank of America and acceptance with Discover card.

Creditkarma.com also has a feature where it advertises/recommends credit cards.  AMEX’s everyday card was suggested and displayed a “fair” rating as his chance of approval.

Future monitoring

JS Jack’s starting scores seem high to me, and 710 to 757 seems like a wide range.  He doesn’t have much income and has no history. On the other hand, he also doesn’t have any blemishes and hasn’t made any mistakes.  It will be interesting to see how fast his score changes after a few months of making payments on time.  One important goal of JumpStartfromScratch is to build a healthy credit score for my kids before college graduation.  We finally have a starting point and continue to track the progress.

Posted in credit score, updates.

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