Let's assume the context where a woman approaches a bank to secure a loan for her bold but lucrative business idea but she gets turned down because she doesn't have anything for collateral and her financial record (bank transactions, any previous smaller loans, the CIBIL Score for the requested loan amount and so on) is next to nothing.

Overall, the banks don't have anything to proceed with other than the business idea itself.

My question is that is there a phrase to describe her lack of financial record?

I understand that the question sounded particularly vague but the context would help you better understand it.

Edit: "Credit Score" or "CIBIL Score" does fit the context very much. But what I wish to have is a phrase or an idiom. So I have changed the tags now. Sorry for the discrepancy.


7 Answers 7


This person is lacking a useful credit history, which is the record of her debts and repayments over time. It's not necessarily that she has a poor record, just that she doesn't have much of a record at all. An oft-repeated piece of financial advice is to keep longstanding but unused credit cards active, as they contribute to a person's credit history over time - having no record isn't much better than having a bad record.


The concept of credit score may apply here:

A credit score is a number between 300–850 that depicts a consumer's creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better a borrower looks to potential lenders. A credit score is based on credit history: number of open accounts, total levels of debt, and repayment history, and other factors. Lenders use credit scores to evaluate the probability that an individual will repay loans in a timely manner.



While the other answers correctly identify a credit history or rating as an important concept, the body describes a history with simply insufficient information for the lender to make a decision. In this case, the credit history is called thin (as in, a hypothetical file folder has very little inside it):

A “thin file” refers to the credit report of someone with little or no credit history. Consumers who are just starting out and may never have taken out a loan or had a credit card are said to have thin files.



Not a single word, but the bank could say

We are sorry, but you have a poor credit rating

Lexico has

credit rating

1 An estimate of the ability of a person or organization to fulfil their financial commitments, based on previous dealings.
Obtaining financing with a lackluster credit rating is beyond challenging.

In a specific situation where the client is already unable to pay their debts, a single word could be

We are sorry, but you are insolvent

Lexico has


1 Unable to pay debts owed.
Accordingly the company was insolvent and unable to pay its debts.


A person with a bad financial record, i.e., a history of not repaying their debts, could be called a deadbeat. If she can't pay her debts, then she's insolvent or bankrupt (with the latter term usually implying a legal status).

However, if she hasn't taken any previous loans for the credit bureaus to evaluate, then she simply has no credit history.


In finance terms - i.e. the terminology the bank would use - you might talk about the woman having a poor covenant or having poor covenant strength (in BrE anyway):

In property you often hear the word covenant strength when people talk about a tenant or the quality of an investment property or real estate loan.

Cambridge Finance

A landlord may seek to withhold consent on the grounds that the proposed assignee or undertenant is a poor covenant.


This is slightly different to a poor credit rating. A poor credit rating means some algorithm has come up with a lower number than desired. A poor covenant implies that a human has done some analysis and come up with an opinion.

"Poor covenant" is mostly (but not exclusively) used in property lending or corporate lending.


There are people who, for whatever reason, simply prefer to deal in cash whenever possible

I once spoke with a mobile home salesman about people who would come on the lot to buy a home who had essentially no useful financial history - no credit cards, no checking or savings accounts, etc. He said he often had trouble getting these people's loan applications approved even with the home as collateral and a large cash down payment, simply because of their lack of documented financial responsibility history.

As he was telling me the story, the term he used for them was financial ghosts, because according to the financial system they just don't exist.

  • 'Financial ghosts' that would sound good in a narration. Thanks.
    – Naruto
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 16:27

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