The answer to this question depends on what kind of work you’ve done to prepare your credit. Like a lot of things that are used ineffectively, or not paying attention to details, you may not get the maximum benefits. If your New Year’s resolution, or any time you decide to make a change to your physical health, is to get in better shape, and you decide you’re going to the gym at least 3x/week to start, that’s a great goal, but if you’re going to the gym and then saying, “Well I went to the gym and now I can eat this entire bag of Doritos” you might not get the best results. Tradelines are just like this. If you just throw tradelines on hoping for a magical score in the upper 700’s, you might get it, but chances are unless you have a blank report, you won’t get that glorious score that can unlock all the pathways to those big dreams of yours. Dreams like owning your own house, getting a business loan, a car, or getting approved for those awesome credit cards so you can take advantage of the amazing bonuses they give out like candy to people with superior credit. Do you want $700 just for getting a credit card? (This is possible with the new Sapphire Preferred card with Chase if you can get approved). The first step is always understanding how something works.
1. How do tradelines work?
Tradelines are credit accounts that report to your credit bureaus. That’s it. There isn’t something secretive about what they are, but there is a bit of a secret as to how exactly they help factor into the FICO score (which we know somewhat how it’s calculated, but the fine details are a secret). If you are adding an Authorized User Tradeline, or more than one, it’s important to know how they affect your score. An AU tradeline is credit card data that you either rent or get from someone you trust. The different categories that they affect (in order of impact from high to low) are utilization, payment history, age, the total number of accounts. This is 4 out of 6 factors excluding inquiries and derogatory marks. This is why revolving credit makes up as much as 60% of your credit score. So how do you prepare yourself to get the incredible benefits tradelines can offer? Well, firstly:
2. Take a look at your credit reports and make sure everything is current:
If you have data on there that doesn’t belong to you, then that needs to be removed. Do you have accounts that you are currently late on? Those need to be made current. We get a lot of calls from people asking us do tradelines really work and we take a look at their reports and they have multiple late accounts on their reports. Think about it this way, if you are late on an account, and we add the same type of account, then how much is that going to help? It’s akin to someone giving you a car and you crash it and put it in your driveway and someone comes up to with a new car, keys in hand. How likely do you think that person will hand over the keys?
3. Remove the negatives
If you haven’t looked at your reports in some time, there is a likely something on there that is dragging you down that can be removed, like these:
Even having two negatives can make quite a difference in score. On this report the Trans Union has none:
The negatives keep the score lower, but they also provide a drag on tradelines when they get added, preventing the maximum benefit. So these need to be cleaned off as best as possible.
Do tradelines work to boost your credit score?
Many companies will take your money with the promise of getting things removed, but their business models are based on a monthly membership, and they will drag things out 6 months or even a year for something that takes 30-60 days max. Coming to us and asking “do credit tradelines work?” usually gets a “no” from us, not with reports the way they currently are. In this culture where we get instant gratification at the push of a button, people don’t want to hear that their goals may be a few months, or longer, away. But if you take our advice and be patient, we can always get you where you need to be.