You’ve probably heard the term “tradeline” before, or you may have seen it on your credit report. And you wonder, what does it mean? Can a tradeline help build your credit?
Yes. A Tradeline can help boost your credit score and increase your chances of getting approved on loans or credit cards.
What is a Tradeline?
A tradeline is a record of your key activities as a borrower on a certain credit account that’s reported to the credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Examples of tradelines are car loans, home loans, and credit cards.
The record includes the following information:
- Name and address of the creditor
- Type of credit
- Partial account number
- Current status of the credit
- The date the account was opened or closed, if applicable
- Original credit or loan amount
- Payment history
- Current balance
Credit reporting agencies use tradelines to calculate your credit score. Each credit bureau has its own process to follow, which means your credit score may not be exactly the same but could be similar among all three agencies.
These are the benefits of a positive tradeline:
- You’ll have higher chances of getting approved for a credit card or loan
- Loans will have lower interest rates
- You’ll find a rental property easily
- You’ll have more employment opportunities
- You will get better car insurance rates
How Does Tradeline Work?
It all starts with credit. When you become a young adult, you start to build your credit. At first, you’ll have no credit report. But as you apply and get approved for a line of credit, you start to establish it. It doesn’t matter whether you take an unsecured loan, which is credit given based on trust, or a secured loan, which is credit given based on collateral. Both of them will yield a tradeline.
As your credit account is created, your creditor will report your payment history and your behavior as a borrower to the major credit bureaus, which will lead to the creation of your credit report.
Aside from the primary data points of the credit account, a tradeline also includes account milestones, such as the payment status. Timely payments, for instance, will appear on your tradeline and so are any missed or late payments. A closed account will also reflect on your credit report and will be part of the respective tradeline for as long as seven years. A favorable tradeline means better chances of getting higher credit scores. However, other factors are also considered, including the types of tradelines, number of tradelines, and payment history.
Tradeline Credit Secrets: How Can You Get a Tradeline?
1. Become an Authorized User
You can boost your credit score without buying tradelines by becoming an authorized user on a relative or close friend’s credit card account, provided that the account has a positive payment history. Some people think that it’s similar to purchasing a tradeline, but it’s not.
2. Buy a Tradeline
Buying one from tradeline companies means you need to pay a fee and you don’t know the primary account holder. Is it legal? Some lenders may consider this as a form of deception and may even put you at risk of getting involved in fraudulent activities.
Our conclusion is that it’s better to skip buying a tradeline if you can help it. It’s not illegal technically (at least for now), but it may undermine your honesty. Your credit report shows your behavior as a borrower. Creditors check it to determine whether you should be granted a loan or not. Buying a tradeline, if not handled correctly or if purchased from a shady third-party company, may be considered as a false representation of your creditworthiness to lenders.
However, if you still choose to buy a tradeline, do your due diligence and look for the most reputable tradeline companies. Here are three companies that have good reviews from previous customers.
- Tradeline Supply Company. It was founded in 2017 and is known for its online and automated system for buying tradelines.
- BoostCredit101. It’s based in Denver, Colorado, and has a five-star rating on Google and a B-rating on Angie’s List.
- Credit Pro. It’s been around since 2007 and has worked with several individuals and businesses over the years.
How to Become an Authorized User to Improve Your Tradeline?
Becoming an authorized user of a credit card is one way to have a positive tradeline and improve your credit score. It’s a method that can be more effective if you were to become an authorized user in a credit account with a responsible primary user.
Ask a relative or a friend who has a credit account if you can become an authorized user. They don’t have to worry—that’s in name only. You’re not putting their credit at risk here. They don’t have to give you access to their credit card or allow you to make purchases; you’ll only benefit from their good credit standing to boost your score.
The person you need to make this request should be using only a small portion of their credit limit. It’s also crucial to make sure that they have a clean payment history.
You also need to know if the credit card issuer is reporting authorized users to credit agencies so that the account will appear as a tradeline in your credit report.
It’s not enough for you to be listed as an authorized user only. Creditors also need to know that you’re managing your finances responsibly by checking your other credit accounts.
You have to make an informed decision first before asking someone if you can become an authorized user on their credit account. Always remember that choosing the wrong one can do more harm than good to your credit score.
How to Improve Your Credit Score Without Buying a Tradeline?
Having a positive tradeline and keeping it that way for good means developing healthy borrowing habits. Although buying a tradeline from tradeline companies is an option, do carefully note our point above on some of the risks involved. It’s always better to improve your credit score on your own. Here are some proven and tested strategies on how to give your credit score a boost.
1. Make Timely Payments
Credits give weight to your payment history. So, if you’re still trying to build your credit or if you’re repairing it, the first rule you need to follow is to make timely payments.
2. Keep Your Credit Balances Low
Even if you have a high credit limit, it’s not recommended to max out your credit cards. The credit utilization ratio will significantly impact your credit score. Therefore, it’s better to keep your balances lower than 30%.
3. Check Your Credit Report
You also need to be vigilant and make sure that your credit report contains accurate information. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year. If you notice any error, file a dispute right away before it causes damage to your credit score
4. Keep Old Accounts Open
It may not seem like a good idea to keep old accounts open, but the age of your credit lines can actually help improve your credit score. Don’t close the account, especially if it doesn’t have an annual fee.
How to Read the Tradeline on Your Credit Report?
You’ll find a section called tradeline summary on your credit report. It details the count and type of all tradelines under your name, as well as active accounts and credit lines.
There are three types of tradeline, as follow:
- Revolving tradeline – accounts where the balance is carried over month to month or paid in full
- Installment Tradelines – credit accounts that are paid off in installments, such as a car loan or mortgage
- Open Tradelines – credit accounts that are a mix of the first two types of tradelines
The tradeline summary also includes the following details:
- The number of tradelines per type
- The highest amount owed on a specific tradeline at any given time
- The maximum balance available for a type of tradeline
- The amount currently owed
- The amount owed that is past due
- Payment made per month
- Percentage of the remaining available credit
The payment history for each tradeline can date as far back as 48 months. Timely payments are represented by a green checkmark on the corresponding month. Meanwhile, late payments are categorized according to how long they’ve been late such as 30, 60, 90, or 120 days.
What Do Lenders Look At?
Lenders check your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. They pay close attention to tradelines to get an idea if you’re making timely payments or if you have missed a lot. Tradelines allow lenders to assess your credit risk as a borrower, which affects their decision as to whether to approve your loan or not.
Can You Delete a Tradeline from Your Credit Report?
You’re probably wondering how long do tradelines stay on your credit. Tradelines may stay on your credit report for years, but they can also be removed after 60 days. Positive tradelines can stay on your credit report for 10 years, while negative ones will be removed after 7 years.
If there’s an incorrect or fraudulent tradeline in your credit report, you can file a dispute with the respective credit bureaus and have the error investigated and removed.
If you have authorized user tradelines (when a family or friend added you or you purchased one), it will appear on your credit report between six months to one year. You will no longer find this specific tradeline on your credit report if the primary cardholder removed you as an authorized user of the credit card.
What are the Common Mistakes When Buying Tradelines?
1. Not Knowing What Tradelines Are
Before buying a tradeline, you need to know how it works. If you don’t, you can easily be swayed by unscrupulous individuals who just want your money and have no plans of offering you the appropriate tradeline for your needs. You may end up purchasing a tradeline that’s not suitable for your particular situation.
2. Using Tradelines Incorrectly
Incorrect usage of tradelines may cause more harm than good to your credit report. If you’re new to tradelines, talk to a professional first before making a purchase.
3. Thinking that an Expensive Tradeline Means It’s a Premium Tradeline
Tradelines can cost up to thousands of dollars but that doesn’t necessarily mean that expensive ones are top quality tradelines. You need to consider other factors when buying tradelines, such as the age, credit limit, and utilization ratio of the original user.
4. Quantity Over Quality
Some people think that buying several tradelines is more effective than buying a few quality ones. This isn’t true. Always remember that legitimate and high-quality tradelines from a trustworthy company will benefit you more when it comes to improving your credit report.
How to Avoid Tradeline Scammers?
- Never do business with anyone who doesn’t have a brand, business, physical store, or website.
- Find a company that has been in the industry for at least five years.
- Check review sites and the Better Business Bureau.
- Never work with a company that’s more focused on getting you to buy an expensive tradeline rather than discussing your credit issues and objectives first.
- Do your research. Don’t choose the first tradeline company you come across with.
Everyone wants to have a good credit score, but there are cases when it’s not that simple. Whether you lack credit history, or you’re trying to rebuild your credit, keeping a positive tradeline is important. Even though you can always buy a tradeline to boost your credit score, there are better options that you can choose from, such as becoming an authorized user in a credit account of good standing, paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, checking your credit report for inaccuracies or fraudulent activities, and keeping old accounts open.
What has been your experience with a tradeline? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!