What Is a Tradeline on Your Credit Report?
Tradelines are the credit industry's term for the accounts listed on your credit report. Your individual credit cards and loans are included on your credit report as separate tradelines. A new tradeline is also created when an account is sold to a new creditor or lender and when you receive a new credit card number after reporting your credit card lost or stolen.
Information Reported for Credit Report Tradelines
Each tradeline includes the history for that account ––unless part of the history has aged off your credit report because of the credit reporting time limit.
- Credit or lender's name
- A partial account number
- The type of account
- Date the account was opened
- Date of last activity
- Current balance
- Credit limit or loan amount
- Amount of the last payment
- Date the account was last updated
- Payment history
- Current account status
- Any delinquencies in the past seven years
Affect on Your Credit Score
The tradelines on your credit report are used to calculate your credit score. If you've been responsible with each tradeline, i.e. made your payments on time and kept your balances low, you'll have a good credit score.
Your credit report must have at least one tradeline that's been open and active in the past six months for the credit scoring calculation to generate a credit score for you.
The number of tradelines you have open can affect your credit score.
For example, having too many or too few tradelines can hurt your credit score.
Unfortunately, credit scoring companies haven't given any information about the specific number of tradelines you should have to have excellent credit. To achieve and maintain the best credit score, you should open and close accounts only as you need, keep your accounts in good standing, and keep your debt balances low.
Having a good credit score doesn't guarantee your applications will be approved. You have a credit application denied for opening too many tradelines opened in the past 24 months or if it's too soon since your last opened tradeline.
Credit bureaus are allowed to include tradelines on your credit report as long as the information is accurate, complete, and within the credit reporting time limit. That applies to negative and delinquent accounts that actually belong to you.
Open tradelines with positive information will remain on your credit report indefinitely. Closed tradelines with positive information will stay on your credit report based on each credit bureau's internal reporting guidelines. Closed tradelines with negative information will fall off your credit report within 7 to 10 years.
Tradelines you don't recognize could be a sign of identity theft. You can dispute these accounts with the credit bureaus then place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report to prevent future accounts from being opened in your name.
How Is Information Collected
Creditors and lenders you have accounts with will provide tradeline information to the credit bureaus based on their agreement with the credit bureaus to provide information about borrower accounts.
Each month or so, businesses update your account information with the credit bureaus so the most recent information shows for each of your tradelines.
You can take a look at the tradelines by ordering a copy of your credit report. Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the major credit bureaus. You can order this free credit report by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. You should review your credit report thoroughly to be sure all the information reported about you is accurate. If you spot errors on your credit report, you can have them removed by writing to the credit bureau.
Because of variations in how lenders and credit card issuers report your accounts, tradelines may have slight differences across your three credit reports. Some tradelines may appear on only one of your three credit reports. By law, all the information regarding your tradelines should be complete and accurate.
Can You Buy New Tradelines for Your Credit Report?
If you want to improve your credit score, you may be interested in ways to add new tradelines to your credit report. The best way to do this is to naturally open new accounts and build a positive history for that account. Secured credit cards store credit cards, and credit builder loans are the best options for getting new accounts when you're just starting out with credit or you have damaged credit.
There are companies to sell access to tradelines, charging hundreds of dollars to add your name to someone's existing tradeline. Companies promote "seasoned tradelines," which refers to accounts that have been open for several years and have no delinquencies.
Once you're added to the tradeline, usually as an authorized user on someone's credit card, the account appears on your credit report long enough to boost your credit score and you can apply for credit on your own.
Some credit card issuers also report the nature of your relationship to the primary account holder to the credit bureaus. Lenders may take this relationship into consideration when you're applying for credit.
Buying tradelines doesn't always work. Credit scoring companies have altered their formulas to exclude accounts where the authorized user does not have a relationship with the primary account holder. Rather than going through a company and paying hundreds of dollars for a tradeline, you can ask a relative or friend to make you an authorized user on one of their positive accounts. Do your due diligence. Companies that sell tradelines may operate as a scam or provide temporary or unreliable results.