How To Add Tradelines To Your Credit Report

If you’ve read my other articles about boosting your credit score, you may have come across the idea of adding things like rent or utilities to your credit report. In the credit industry, any time on your credit report is called a tradeline, and adding them can be a great way to boost your score quickly.

I’ll outline the three most basic ways to add tradelines, and then I’ll get to two secret ways that most of the Credit Bureaus probably don’t want you to know about. All of them are great ways to increase your credit score, sometimes in as little as 30 days.

Most Conventional Ways to Add Tradelines

When you add a tradeline, the most common reason is to add tradelines is to increase your credit score. It basically works by changing your debt ratio. Your debt ratio is just how much you’ve borrowed (including credit card limits) and how much you’ve paid off.

If a person owes $500 on a credit card with a $1,000 limit, and they owe $15,500 on a car loan of $19,000, then their credit ratio is at 80%. They still owe $16,000 on a total of $20,000 in loans.

Now say that person adds another credit card with a $20,000 limit, their total borrowed goes to $40,000, but their usage stays at 16k–so their ratio drops to only 40%, and their credit score will jump.

Most Common Tradeline: Credit Cards

The most common way to add a tradeline to your credit is to add a new credit card. This can be risky if you’re already having trouble paying down your existing cards. I recently wrote an article on how many cards a person should have. If you have question, I probably answered them there.

Impact On Credit Score: High

This option can boost your credit almost instantly, and can give you a much need jump to your score.

Second Most Common Tradeline: Personal Loans

The single best way to pay down credit card balances is by taking a personal loan. Personal loans have much lower interest rates than credit cards, and they don’t have as much impact on your credit score. (Credit card usage is “weighted” in our debt ratio for calculating our credit scores.)

By taking out a personal loan, you could potentially pay off all your credit cards, see a huge jump in your credit score, and lower your monthly bills.

Impact On Credit Score: High

Third Most Common Tradeline: Become Authorized User

If you have the good fortune to know someone with great credit, who also has a credit card they don’t use, they can add you as an authorized user on that credit card account. The agreement you make with that person is largely up to you. But once you’re added to their credit card account, then their credit card limit will be added to your debt ratio.

Impact On Credit Score: High

This option is great if you can trust the other person. Keep in mind that if they start using that credit card, it will also affect your debt ratio.

Tradelines Credit Bureaus Don’t Tell You About

There have been two unconventional tradelines that the Big Three Bureaus don’t want everyone to know about. Why? Because you can add to your credit score without taking on more debt. 

Experian was the first company to expose this loophole, and they try to make you go through them to use it. But I’ve found ways to add utilities and even your monthly rent to your credit report without having to use Experian, or any of the Bureaus.

Adding Utilities to Your Credit Report

Conventional wisdom used to be that only borrowed money could be added to your credit score. But in recent years, consumer attorneys have argued that if payment history on loans is a factor, then all payment history should be taken into account.

After all, if a person misses a credit card payment because they had to keep the lights on, or pay their cell phone bill, that shouldn’t be held against them.

That’s why several companies, like Level Credit have sprung up. They will comb through your checking account, identify monthly payments you regularly make on time, and report them to the credit bureaus.

If you don’t want to use a third party, or give them access to your records, simply ask your utilities or cell phone provider to start reporting your payments. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you may find a free, easy way to boost your score.

Impact On Credit Score: Medium

Adding Your Rent to Your Credit Report

Just like adding your utilities, you can also add your largest expenditure to your credit report. This can be a real game changer for many people.

After all, many people pay more in rent than they do for all their other bills combined. Being able to add your rental payment history to your credit score could give you a massive boost.

Impact On Credit Score: Very High

There are several third parties that will offer to report your rent to the credit bureaus, and your landlord or property manager might even do it for you. There is almost always a fee associated with these services, but in my experience, it’s well worth it.

Bottom Line

Tradelines are how the Credit Bureaus have been keeping track of us for years. Using the methods I outlined above, you can start to dictate the narrative, yourself. These are tactics even used by credit repair companies; the best companies I’ve found recommend at least one of these methods.

I highly recommend taking the power into your own hands, and making the moves you need to increase your credit score.

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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