are tradelines legal

01 Aug 2021

Are tradelines legal or illegal? Moral or immoral?

Are tradelines legal or illegal? Moral or immoral? The internet suggests that it is a well-settled principle that adding authorized user tradelines to your credit report to help boost your score isn’t illegal.  You can search for “are tradelines legal” and find many opinions.

We are not giving legal advice, but merely pointing out the consensus on the internet.  Even an FTC spokesman Frank Dorman said:  “What I’ve gathered from attorneys here is that it is legal, however, the agency is not saying that it is legal technically.”

A company selling the tradelines could violate the Credit Repair Organization Act by demanding upfront fees, for example.  However, that doesn’t speak to the legality of adding authorized user tradelines.

  • If you are looking for legal advice, consult with an attorney.
  • If you are conducting curious internet searches, allow the following sources to help:

Fair Isaac Corp., creator of the well-known FICO credit score, had announced last year it would end the practice…” of piggybacking “…but during Congressional testimony Tuesday, acknowledged it had changed its mind “

– Jeremy M. Simon, Staff Reporter

After consulting with the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, Fair Isaac has decided to include consideration of authorized user trade lines present on the credit report

– Thomas J. Quinn

Vice President of Scoring Solutions, Fair Isaac Corp.

This is possible because creditors generally have followed a practice of furnishing to credit bureaus information about all authorized users, whether or not the authorized user is a spouse, without indicating which authorized users are spouses and which are not.  This practice does not violate Reg. B

– Robert B. Avery, Kenneth P. Brevoort, and Glenn B. Canner

Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs

Federal Reserve Board, Washington, D.C.

Are tradelines legal?

This is where the concept starts to cause friction on the opinion-net.  People often make good cases for and against the morality of the practice.  Of course, the main point is that you are manipulating the credit system.

This seemingly sensible contention is the focus of this blog.  The manipulation argument, as we call it, presupposes that the credit system is flawless, or even functional, in the first place… In fact, it is a made-up system by a private corporation; it’s not divine.

More importantly, it is this imperfect system that scores authorized user tradelines in their scoring model and it is the law that allows it. What is left to argue?

Let’s take one hypothetical example:

“Joe” lost his job and fell behind on some payments.  Under the new FICO model, called FICO ’08, credit scores are hurt the most by recent late payments.

A few months later, Joe got a new job making 6 figures.  His ability to repay a loan obviously increased and his risk of default dramatically decreased.

However, the FICO model, or any model for that matter, does not take this significant fact into consideration.  Now Joe is left with poor credit and a 6 figures salary.

Not only is Joe suffering, but so is the economy.  A flawed credit system prevented a consumer from purchasing a product.

  • The real estate agent loses.
  • The loan officer loses.
  • The banks lose.

…yet, the credit bureaus and credit scoring companies got their money when Joe’s credit was pulled.

Secondly, the credit bureaus and credit scoring companies are simply one thing… companies.  They are private corporations, who stand to financially benefit by judging you.  Their job is to appeal to creditors and provide an alleged risk assessment of you.  This is supposed to allow creditors to lend at lower risks of default.

Did you notice that I didn’t say that their job was to ensure that your credit file is accurate?

So, are tradelines legal or not?

This is a question for the lawyers, not the internet.

Are tradelines moral?  The answer is really up to you.

Ideological positions can certainly change.  However, the impact that tradelines can have on your credit score is undeniable.

If you are looking to boost your score quickly, you should consider buying tradelines.  Here at Superior Tradelines, LLC, we will help determine if you are in a position to benefit from adding seasoned tradelines.

37 thoughts on “Are tradelines legal or illegal? Moral or immoral?”

  1. This is the biggest scam I have ever heard of. What happens when the person you add to your user history defaults on their card or has further missed payments or financial problems won’t it effect the person with good credit who added him. And If that person you added takes out a car loan and defaults won’t the debt buyer or car agency sue that person for fraud and try to go after the person with good credit. This whole thing is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    1. Darrin, I am not sure too many people would take you seriously, after insulting us so aggressively and ignorantly (I don’t mean that in a rude, colloquial way, but in the true sense of the word: “lacking knowledge or awareness in general…”). I won’t judge you, though. Maybe you were ripped off by some company and you’re taking your frustration out publically. I don’t claim to know anything about you, which is a good way to be in life.

      Just so we’re on the same page, “scam” means “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation.” Fraud is a crime. So, I am not quit sure how you came to your incorrect conclusion, especially with all of the unanswered questions you posed; that is, without knowledge. Also, I don’t mind your misunderstanding, but when you make public declarations that someone is breaking the law (when they’re not), that’s called defamation. So, a little bit of caution and respect is probably appropriate, here. I certainly would not walk into your store and call you names or suggest that you’re breaking the law.

      Nevertheless, I’d be happy to answer your questions.

      1) Will an authorized user’s credit behavior (good or bad) affect the primary account holder’s credit report and score? No. It is a mischaracterization to believe that you’re taking information, putting it in a bag and shaking it to mix it all together. Accurately, what is happening is this: The primary account holder adds the authorized user at the bank. The bank reports information about that account to the credit bureaus. Nothing from the authorized user is being report. Only information from the primary account holder (for only that specific account) is being reported. Its a one-way street.

      2) Is a primary account holder liable for the future acts of an authorized user? No. Why would they be? Suppose a person with no credit applies for a credit card. They get approved. Because of that approval, they now have a credit score. They pay on time. They build up their credit score. Pull out an auto loan and default. Is the initial credit card company liable? The credit bureaus? Your question is misguided. The person who defaults is liable. The purpose of increasing credit scores is not to default; that’s a horrible outlook on life, which should be condemned.

      The idea that the process of authorized user tradelines is a “nightmare waiting to happen” can apply to anything. Bleach is a well respected cleaning product, but a “nightmare waiting to happen” if a child drinks it. Cars have revolutionized the western world, but are “nightmare[s] waiting to happen” when they’re used to mow down people in Europe. So, sure… I agree with you. If you abuse authorized user tradelines, they are, indeed, nightmares waiting to happen. Since we don’t, they’re not as far as we are concerned.

      With all of that aside, Darrin, you’re probably on our site because you’re researching credit related issues. Since we have more pages of information than all other tradeline companies combined, you see that we take client concerns seriously and answer their questions. In that regard, if you have any questions about your credit situation, we consult you for free and perform credit report analysis for free. By all means, take us up on that…

      1. This is absolutely credit deception that lends itself to credit fraud.

        An authorized user is an actual shared user of a credit card account. It’s a real financial relationship. Strangers selling their financial data to strangers to falsely boost their score is credit fraud. A 500-score individual that purchases someone else’s credit history to make themselves appear to be a 700-score individual is credit fraud. When the fake 700-score uses their fake credit profile to further obtain credit, the bank is underwriting a false credit score and false credit profile when determining if they should issue credit. Therein lies the undermining and fraud.

        1. You’re partly correct and partly incorrect.
          There was a shift from authorized users to credit profile numbers.
          First of all, the law permits authorized users under the equal opportunity credit act. If it were limited to only those within a family, it wouldn’t be very equal, would it?
          If your score increases as a result of being an authorized user, that is a real (not a fake) credit score. The system is designed to accept this designation and resulting effects.
          Someone with a 500 credit score could not boost their credit score to 700 with authorized user accounts. That’s just simply impossible, so the hypothetical attached to it is not worth addressing.
          You are 100% correct that if you’re using a fake credit report (i.e., a fake social security number), that is 100% fraud. However, the banks are under no illusion of the nature of an authorized user, because it specifically says “authorized user” right on the account. In some situations, underwriters will disregard the account entirely. There are situations, unlike what you’re saying, where even federal loan agencies practice underwriting procedures that allow the authorized user if it represents the borrower’s creditworthiness.
          For fraud to occur, a bank must be tricked. The designation of “AU” undermines your entire argument.

      1. The world needs more positivity 🙂

        If you’d like to elaborate on your opinion, I’d be happy to discuss it with you. I have helped about 30,000 people since we started in 2010. I’d be happy to do the same for you.


    2. Also the person receiving the trade line as an authorized user on a credit card is just receiving the benefit of the individual authorizing them as a user. The authorized individual doesn’t actually get a credit card or access to the sellers credit line, they just benefit from the good pay history, credit account age, and the credit amount from the original credit holder. It would be dumb to authorize a stranger and give a stranger an actual credit card in their name from your account. The buyer of the trade line never actually has access to purchase anything. Nothing that the authorized user does such as missed payments on their credit accounts will ever show up on the original account of the individual that made you an authorized user. His good credit accounts that he authorized you as a user shows up on your account but your bad irresponsible credit use will never appear on his credit report because he’s authorizing you, you are not authorizing him to use your credit. Get it??

  2. If an authorized user’s credit has some collections or judgements etc… would tradelines still boost their score,and if so how long is recommended to remain an authorized user ?

    1. Yes, your score will go up, but… from what to what? Right? If you had a 700 and a collection or judgment brought it down to 500 and the tradeline brought it up to 575, that’s amazing, right? 75 point boost? Well, even so, you can’t get approved at 575 (for anything that I know of). So, it’s best to do a measured approach between credit repair (or debt settlement) and tradelines. to find out more.

  3. So i just have one question, is it necessary for the person or persons looking to reboot their credit and get up from under some debt. Is bankruptcy a good option. From what I know bankruptcy is a weapon that once used takes a long time to recover. Why is it some folks think good company credit is exclusive and you can have good personal credit as well. So overall my question is, is bankruptcy the way to go?

    1. It’s such a good question and the answer depends on a lot of things. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to invoke the power of bankruptcy for a $5,000.00 charged off credit card. You’d want to reserve that extraordinary right massive debt for which you are unlikely to recover (like failed businesses, significantly upsidedown mortgage, etc.).

      Here’s a tip, though: Do what you started with; a goal. Say “I want X, how do I get there?” rather than “Will Y get me to X?” because you should focus on your goal, rather than wasting time ruling out the things that won’t work. You should ask experts to solve your problems, rather than asking experts to approve or deny the solutions you’ve discovered. Then, ask 5 more until you hear good ideas.

      But, since you asked specifically about bankruptcy and tradelines, I wanted to point you to here, here and here.

  4. What would happen if the original good credit person ended up defaulting, say through some major change in life circumstances? Would the second person (the non-using tradeline recipient) then become equally liable for the credit card debts?

    1. Great question. The answer to your specific question is “no,” but I’d like to go a bit further than that. First of all, the authorized user is NOT liable for the debt. In fact, take the opposite scenario, suppose an authorized user racked up debt (assuming he or she had the card to do that), the primary account holder would be liable for the debt and the authorized user would not be liable for the debt. So, the risk you mentioned actually applies in reverse. The primary user is at risk of an authorized user’s behavior (which is why the authorized user does not actually get the card, here).

      However, that’s not the end of the story. The purpose of adding an authorized user for credit purposes is to make the history of the account to report to the authorized user’s credit report and, therefore, impact the authorized user’s credit score. So, if the primary card has high limit, low balance and perfect payment history, the authorized user’s credit report and score will be positively impacts. I think this is what you were trying to ask: What if the primary account turned negative, such as missed payments, maxed out account, etc.? I think you were asking whether the authorized user’s credit would be negatively affected, and the answer is “yes.”

      Now, I suppose the risk exists in a non-business relationship (friends, family, etc.), but with us, the primary account holder is paid handsomely to keep their account in good standing.

      Let’s suppose, wildly, that a wealthy card holder – who has a history of getting paid to keep his or her account in good standing – somehow missed a payment. The good news for the authorized user is that it is very easy to dispute off your credit report an authorized user account. The primary account cannot dispute it off, because it is, indeed, his or her account.

      So, to recap: 1) An authorized user is never responsible for the debt on the primary account 2) A primary account holder could mess up his or her account and negatively affect the authorized user’s credit score and 3) if that happened, the authorized user can dispute the account off his or her credit report.

      Hope that helps!


  5. Are you hiring if so can an employee work remotely from home? I have worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. I have been in the commercial collection industry since 2007 and am very interested in pursuing a career in this arena of financial services.

  6. Hello , I was able to raise my credit scores increased excellently through the help of some people i was recommended to, contact them if you require any credit repair issue, their services are fast and legit. you will be grateful

  7. GREAT BLOG 100% guaranted to post on credit report!! Seasoned accounts no missed payments high limit. Money back guaranteed to post*! Website coming soon!!

    1. Barry, shoot us an email to kate@superiortradelines and
      Send a resume or a write up about your experience or interest in the industry.
      Please include your contact information.
      Also, tell us why you think you’d fit with us or this industry.
      Look forward to speaking with you.

  8. what happens to the authorized user credit score once the union has ended between primary and authorized user accounts?

    1. Hey Cecil,

      We just wrote a blog which you can read if you click here about what happens to credit scores after the authorized user tradelines.

      Although you can see that scores drop, there’s also more to it. It depends on what you mean by “once the union has ended.” If you are completely removed (and the authorized user tradelines disappears from your credit report), the blog post referenced above has your answer. However, if you merely remove the authorized user at the bank (and you do not remove the authorized user account from the credit bureaus), the impact of the tradeline will remain and slowly diminish over time. To learn more about that, click here and watch the view titled “How long do tradelines last?”

      I hope that was helpful.


  9. My wife and I are the the market for a house. We have done everything to get her credit up to par but it seems as the her credit score won’t get any hire. Would obtaining a Tradeline help with a boost that we so need? Also how can we verify we are using a legitimate source to get a trade line?

  10. Ronnie,

    Thanks for reaching out to us!

    It is certainly possible that adding tradelines could enhance your wife’s credit scores. The only way to find out would be if I could review a recent copy of her credit reports to determine what factors would achieve enhancement. You mentioned that you’re working on her credit but the numbers just won’t go up any farther. I’d like to try and pinpoint the exact reason and figure out if we can assist.

    As for legitimacy, we have a great article about what to look for in a tradeline company:

    I’d love to be able to help you out in achieving your credit goals. If you would like to discuss this in greater detail feel free to email me at, or call me at 321-799-6155.

    Thanks in advance!

  11. Why as primary holders , do we get the authorized users mail ( those that have been added) . Such items as their credit card applications, parking violations for cities , credit reports etc. So much mail us received on these people. Why is that ?

  12. What will a score of 850, pay history 100%, utilization is 2% of $42,000.00, and age is 7.5 years old, with 6 acts and 0 derogatory marks… do for a credit score of someone with 523? If I added them.

    1. No idea. Although you were detailed, there’s still too much detail missing. Also, just so you know, you’re 850 credit score is not a relevant factor; you’re not actually transferring score points to the authorized user. The most relevant factor is what’s in the authorized user’s credit report; i.e., why is there credit score a 523. Is it a lack of credit? Is it too many negative items? Undoubtedly, their score would increase, but why they’re a 523 would tell you how much their score would increase. If they have relatively no credit history, you will see tremendous gains in score. If they have a lot of negatives, you will see a slight (and maybe insignificant) increase in score.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *