If you’re looking to add trade lines to your credit report, it probably means you’re looking to improve your credit scores. And, you’re probably trying to do this for a very particular reason. For example, you’re probably trying to apply for some type of credit such as a credit card, a car loan, or a mortgage.
If this describes you, we are going to precisely answer the inquiry: how to add tradelines to credit reports.
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There are about four ways to add tradelines to credit reports.
There are essentially only a few ways to add trade lines to a credit report. First, you can become an authorized user to a pre-existing line of credit that will show up on your credit report. You can convert utility bills such as your rent or Netflix subscription into a trade line that reports to your credit report. You can also become a joint account holder on someone else’s account like a friend or family. And, of course, you can apply for a new line of credit. Let’s discuss each.
1. Become an authorized user to add tradelines to your credit report.
People have credit cards in their name, right now. And by law, those people can add others as authorized users to their credit card. When this happens, the history associated with that credit card appears on your credit report.
This can have an impact on increasing your credit score.
However, it can be tough to find someone willing to add you as an authorized user. You should first start with friends and family. You should explain that you’re not asking for actual use of the card but rather looking to have the history of their car report your credit report for credit score improvement purposes.
If they are unwilling to do so, you can pay companies to have you added as an authorized user.
2. Convert utility bills to add tradelines to credit reports.
There’s a new wave of options to add tradelines to credit reports. For example, you can now convert utility bills such as rent and Netflix subscriptions to the credit reporting bureaus. This can be great for someone with a thin or blank credit file to get a jump start on your credit report.
A quick Google search can show you a lot of options.
3. Become a joint account holder to add tradelines to credit report.
A less common way to add tradelines to a credit report is to become a joint account holder. Becoming a joint account holder is not as simple as adding someone as an authorized user. When you become a joint account holder, you’re effectively asking for an application to be approved to become an account holder along with the other primary account holder.
This is usually reserved for very close relationships, such as parents to children or spouse to spouse. This is much more sensitive than authorized users because the joint account holder has full rights and privileges as well as obligations on the account.
Despite all this, when you become an account holder as a joint account holder you’re effectively just an additional primary account holder. For that reason, the history associated with that account will show up on your report. And, if the history associated with that account is in good standing, it will positively affect your credit.
Here’s an example of Discover’s joint account holder application (which is similar to other banks).
4. Apply for credit to add tradelines to credit report.
Lastly, the most obvious way to add trade lines to a credit report is to apply for credit. Clearly, this is a cart-before-the-horse situation, because people who are looking to add tradelines to a credit report are usually looking to do so. After all, they weren’t approved when they applied for a line of credit. Even so, there are ways to increase your chances of getting approved for a line of credit. One of many of the examples is using Credit Karma.
Frequently Asked Questions about adding tradelines to credit reports:
Is it legal to add tradelines?
Whether tradelines are illegal is a fact-specific question (meaning, what are you doing specifically?). Of the four methods mentioned above, none of them are illegal. However, there are some shady players in the tradeline space that credit synthetic identities and fake tradelines. In those cases, you could be breaking the law. Stick to normal practices and you should be fine.
Does adding tradelines increase credit scores?
This depends. If you become a joint account holder, the balance carried can negatively impact your debt-to-credit ratio since, in that scenario, you would be obligated for the debt. In the case of applying for new credit, typically you see an initial dip in credit score and, after you make some payments on time, your scores go up. In the case of authorized users, it depends on the nature of the line; is it in good standing with no missed payments and a high limit together with a low balance? If so, then it will likely improve your credit score.
Do tradelines still work?
This question is typically referring to the practice of piggybacking credit. The quick answer is that tradelines still work, but you can read our longer answer, here.
What are the cons of using tradelines?
The primary con is that you could add the wrong tradeline and your scores could go down. Or, worse, you could work with an unqualified company and they could take your money without recourse. So, just make sure you stay informed on tradelines and make good decisions going forward.
How much do tradelines cost?
The prices to be added as an authorized user range quite widely, but ultimately, you can expect to pay many hundreds of dollars but under a thousand dollars per tradeline. You can always ask for discounts. Everything is a negotiation, they say. So, contact an expert and find out pricing for yourself.
Even though credit is confusing and it always feels like an uphill battle, there are a lot of options for those looking to add trade lines to credit reports. We’re hopeful that the tips above are helpful. Whether you’re going to become an authorized user, a joint account holder, apply for credit in your name, or convert utility payments into trade lines, we have one thing of advice: take action.
Credit seems to stay stagnant or get worse when people don’t take action. For that reason, that is our advice: take action.