How to choose the right tradeline company for you
The world of tradelines can be a confusing and deceptive place if you’re not well-informed, which is why we’ve created this handy guide to help give you the answers you’re looking for.
Choosing the right tradeline company is just as important as choosing the right tradelines. In an industry rife with abuse, educating yourself is an important first step before making any important financial decisions. Luckily for you, we’ve covered all the bases and by the end of this article, you should have everything you need to feel confident in choosing the right tradeline broker for you.
To understand more about how tradelines work, check out our tradelines guide.
What is a tradeline company?
A tradeline company is an organization that is a broker of authorized user tradelines. They typically have staff on hand, and work together to help people buy and sell tradelines. Their services will usually come with a fee. A tradeline company could technically be considered a credit repair organization. They must be compliant with Federal laws and regulations.
There are several benefits to boosting your credit score, but doing it on your own can require the time, dedication, and patience that most of us just don’t have. This is where tradeline companies come in – in a pinch, you can buy access into being an authorized user on someone else’s account, which is like buying someone else’s credit temporarily. These are called authorized user tradelines, or “piggybacking credit.” By piggybacking on someone else’s credit with better credit than you, you can expect an increase on your credit score in much shorter time than it would take to raise your score on your own.
What are authorized user tradelines?
Authorized user tradelines, also known as seasoned tradelines, are a useful tool to help increase your credit score relatively quickly, if used properly.
Think of it this way: you may be struggling to get qualified for a loan, or perhaps you can’t get approved for a home rental, or a credit card, because of a poor credit score. Someone else with a higher credit score – either an individual you know personally, or through a tradeline company – is able to approve you as an authorized user on their credit card.
The authorized user (you) becomes an account holder on the friend or family member’s account, and in about 30 days your credit will be affected by the primary account holder’s payment history and debt utilization. The authorized user’s credit score is directly affected by the activity on the account by the primary account holder. If the primary account holder does not pay their bills on time, this will also lead to a lower credit score for the authorized user. An authorized user doesn’t have complete access to an account and cannot make changes themselves.
Sometimes this is called “piggybacking” and in the simplest terms, it is like buying your way into a higher credit score.
But hold on, because it’s not that simple…
There are risks associated with the practice, and while it can be a helpful tool in the short-term, there is no substitute for being responsible with your credit. That’s why we’re here to help walk you through the process.
For more information on authorized user tradelines, check out our guide here before reading on.
How is it possible to “piggyback” on someone else’s credit score?
In 1974, The Equal Opportunity Credit Act was implemented by Federal Reserve Regulation B. The result of that law and rule is that, effectively, it requires that if lenders report authorized user information for spouses of borrowers, they have to treat all authorized users on any account the same.
From the Federal Reserve website: https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2010/201023/201023pap.pdf
Initially, the practice was not for profit. Spouses and family members used it as a way to “piggyback” off of one another’s credit in instances where some members weren’t able to build a reliable credit history, for example. Eventually mortgage brokers used the concept to push consumers over the finish line in order to get them approved for loans.
As with all good things, someone at some point realized that the industry could be commercialized and turned for a profit. Larger corporations, such as Instant Credit Boosters, began to make a name for themselves, and the practice began to become more commonplace. After the 2008 housing bubble burst, many people were desperately in need of credit repair, and a handful of tradeline companies began to pop up.
In recent years, the industry has grown exponentially. There are potentially thousands of tradelines providers currently in operation – which can make choosing the right one a daunting process.
There’s a lot to consider with tradelines, and whether or not they are legal is chief among those considerations.
Is it better to become an authorized user through a friend or family, or through a professional tradelines company?
There are several ways to become an authorized user on someone’s account. One way is to go through a professional brokerage who provides this service for a profit. Another way is to become authorized by a family member or friend who is willing to share their good credit.
There are several advantages vs. disadvantages to using a private individual vs. a corporation.
Advantages to Using Friend/Family Members
- Friends and family typically won’t charge a fee (unless they’re jerks!)
- Other benefits have direct drawbacks, so not sure if we should consider them benefits or not. For example: You can certainly trust a family more than a stranger, but they may not know how to match you with the appropriate tradelines (or they may not have the “inventory” you need). This brings us to disadvantages…
Disadvantages to Using Friend/Family Members
- Friends and family don’t always understand how the process works.
- You might end up with the wrong tradeline for your needs.
- Credit activity by the primary account holder can affect the authorized user’s credit score. That means that if friends or family are late on their payments, make any unexpected purchases or suddenly have financial difficulties, your credit score could be affected negatively. Awkward!
- Mixing money and family/friends can be complicated, and it might not be worth risking irreparable damage to your relationship. Holiday dinners are painful enough already!
- You may not know someone who is willing to add you as an authorized user, or who has good enough credit to be able to help.
Advantages to Using Professional Broker
- Professional, legitimate organizations are bonded and insured.
- Professionals are compliant and knowledgeable of Federal laws and regulations, and can help you avoid making costly legal mistakes.
- Brokers have the knowledge and experience to help guide you to the right tradelines for you so you don’t waste time on the wrong tradelines.
- A trusted organization is more likely to deliver quality results faster and spare you the headache of figuring out the process on your own.
Disadvantages to Using Professional Broker
- They might not actually be a professional broker. There could be a potential to be deceived by a scam if proper research is not done ahead of time.
- A brokerage service comes with fees.
Why You’re Just Better Off With The Professionals
Using a tradelines broker could potentially cost more in the long run, but just like toilet paper and tattoos, there’s certain things that you just don’t buy on a budget. Tradelines are one of those.
At first glance, paying $200 for tradelines seems far more ideal than paying $500, but a “better” deal could be deceptive if it doesn’t deliver results. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers will often prey on vulnerability and lure potential consumers with outrageous savings, knowing full well that they’re kicking people while they’re down. Sometimes it is better to pay more initially so that you are ensured bonafide results.
As you can see, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages in using a professional tradeline company. Going with a trustworthy organization with the right knowledge can prevent you from making costly mistakes and help get you to where you need to be faster and more effectively.
What makes a good tradeline company?
Tradelines are only some aspects of a particular company worth considering before making a decision. Like every new purchase you make, the more the study you do gives you more peace of mind.
Different companies offer different types of tradelines. Make sure they can offer you a credit limit that will suit your needs. Professional organizations should be bonded and insured.
There are many things to consider when picking your tradeline company. Several characteristics for a tradeline firm which everyone should consider are:
Honesty & Transparency
The credit industry unfortunately is a place where vulnerable consumers are easily deceived. It is important to place your trust in the right place. A good company should have a plethora of educational resources for the consumer to consult. Staff should be knowledgeable of, and compliant with, any relevant laws pertaining to the credit repair industry. Never, ever deal with anyone who seems willing to compromise on integrity.
Beware of scammers posing as legitimate companies. See our section below on what not to look for.
Tradeline companies should never guarantee certain credit scores, but they should take time to understand what you want and how they can help you get it. A trustworthy company should have a professional advisor on staff to answer questions. Customer support should be responsive and readily available to break down the process and help put you at ease. Look for real people, with real experience.
Experience in the Industry
Experience and reputation are everything. How long have they been in business? An organization should never be discreet about their history. Look for someone who has been in the field long enough to have withstood the test of time. Most fraudulent companies are outed relatively quickly (I made this up, is this true?) – a reliable organization will preferably have several years of successful enterprise behind them.
Always check for reviews or first-hand testimonials. This is usually one of the most reliable ways to determine a company’s reputation, however, the practice of buying fake reviews is unfortunately becoming more and more common. Use your best judgment when scanning reviews – if an organization is only a year old but has thousands of five-star reviews, there’s a good chance some of those reviews were acquired in a deceptive manner.
Make sure you stay away from any tradeline websites that have no contact information. These results might indicate that the company is disreputable or fraudulent. The best companies are upfront about their experiences, processes and information. You shouldn’t have to hunt for this material.
Do they list a physical address listed for their building? Not all companies will have a physical location, however, if you’re wondering if a business actually exists or not, this might be a good first place to look. As a matter of fact, any contradictory or inaccurate information on the website should be a deal breaker. The website should appear professional, with quality content, and contain plenty of useful information.
The tradelines industry is as deceptive as it is powerful…
Red flags aren’t just for dating. There are many scammers out there posing as legitimate companies, as well as numerous other deceptive practices to look out for when choosing a tradeline company. The following criteria doesn’t necessarily mean that a company is fraudulent, but it may indicate that further research may be required since they may not be the most direct way to reach your goals.
Beware of “companies” that are brand new, have unbelievable “deals”, or don’t have real humans available to answer your questions and walk you through the process. But just because you’re dealing with a real human doesn’t always mean that you’re going to get real results. Sure, some guy named Greg in Milwaukee might have a killer deal on seasoned tradelines that seems too good to pass up, but how can you be guaranteed that he has your best interest in mind?
It’s true that people will try to sell literally anything under the sun on Craigslist, even credit tradelines. In fact, it used to be a common practice until Craigslist completely banned the sale of tradelines on the website. Any posts advertising the sale of tradelines are now flagged and taken down. Scammers have found ways to get around this, though, and occasionally you will still see ads pop up.
Listen – even if tradelines hadn’t been blacklisted by Craigslist, we forbid you from buying them from there anyways. There is no regulating agency that oversees Craigslist sales and if you lose your money in a scam, you are plain out of luck. If you are looking for some used furniture or maybe a second hand bicycle, Craigslist is a perfectly fine place to look. But we cannot stress enough that this is not a reliable place to purchase tradelines. In fact, you are almost certain to be scammed.
You may have heard this term before, and if you haven’t, you’ll probably hear it more often in coming years. To aggregate means to bring together and collect in one body; an aggregator is someone who aggregates (duh…). Website aggregators will commonly have titles like, “5 Best Tradelines Companies”, “Best Tradelines Companies of 2021”, or “Best Place to Buy Authorized User Tradelines.” The website itself is not providing the service that it is advertising – it is simply compiling lists of common search terms trying to funnel web activity towards certain websites or ad spots.
Some companies want to take traffic from sellers of tradelines in order to promote their own products and services or to sell YOU as a lead to tradeline companies. These companies may appear to provide valuable information, but ultimately, their goal is simply to drive traffic to the ads posted on their website. You may be able to glean some useful information from these websites, and even eventually find your way to a tradelines provider, but you could just be wasting your time when there are quicker, more reliable ways to reach your goals.
Where do I go from here?
Now that you’re an expert on where to buy tradelines, let’s get you started. The next step is to talk to one of our professional advisors today to get you on the right path to achieving your goals, without any risk or hassle. Call us or comment below with any questions.