After I wrote an article about how to raise your credit in 30 days, I got some questions about one of the tactics I recommend. Called “tradelines,” the strategy involves adding new accounts or existing monthly bills to your credit score.

I detailed how this can be done on your own, or by hiring a credit repair company in a new article, and I wanted to spell out a few more things about tradelines.

Here are some of the common questions about tradelines, and when you should use them.

Are Tradelines Legal?

Absolutely. They are the way the Big Three Credit Bureaus have been assigning numbers to us for decades; it’s about time we all learned how to make them work for us.

There is nothing illegal about using tradelines, as long as you follow all the other Fairness in Credit laws. And don’t worry. I’ll get to how to avoid those, too.

What Are Tradelines, Anyway?

Tradelines are simply the active items on your credit report. It’s an industry term to differentiate between the “good” things and the “bad” things on your report.

A Credit Repair Company Wants Me to Add Tradelines; Should I?

That’s a tricky question. I don’t like to give blanket advice, because what might be perfect for one person’s financial situation could be catastrophic for another person.

In general, if you’re using one of the credit repair companies I’ve recommended, you can be sure you’re working with a trustworthy expert who can guide you through the process. 

Also remember, though, as I wrote in my article about how to avoid scams, never let a credit repair company pressure you into anything. It’s against the law for them to make any action a condition of their service. If they say they won’t work with you unless you add a tradeline, terminate the contract and report them.

Should I Add a Tradeline I Don’t Know About?

Never! That’s one of the biggest red-flags in the credit industry. If any person or company wants you to add a tradeline for an account you didn’t sign up for, or for a service you’ve never heard of, walk away and report them. There are exceptions though:

  • Becoming an authorized user on an account when you already personally know the person, and they are aware of the activity.
  • Adding a new credit card through a company you know and trust.
  • Adding a line of credit through a reputable merchant, such as a department store, car company, or other company.

Can I Add Tradelines On My Own?

You can, or you can hire a service to do it for you. There are pros and cons to each approach. If you are looking to get your score up in a hurry, and don’t want to mess around with the learning curve, I do recommend a credit repair company to do the work for you.

About the author Greg Lorenzo

Greg is a financial expert who has been advising his audience on loans for over 10 years. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area, and he is passionate about helping people get the best possible deal on their loans. Greg is an expert in negotiating loans, and he has a proven track record of getting his clients the best possible terms. He is also a strong advocate for financial literacy, and he regularly gives workshops and seminars on the topic.

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