The most constant thing in the world is change. Sometimes drastic–think major life events, natural disasters, etc…and sometimes subtle and slow–think erosion, paint drying, etc. Credit is one of those things that change gradually over time, hopefully a slow steady rise to elite territory (760+) and staying there…but credit can also drop drastically if you miss a payment on your credit card, mortgage, etc.
You can get your credit to jump quickly, with tradelines, which are credit cards that report authorized users. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. “Piggybacking” is the official term, as you are using someone else’s account to benefit your FICO scores. They add you as an authorized user, their payment history and limit (and utilization) get reported on your bureaus. But if you’re going to become an authorized user on someone else’s card, how do you know what lender to pick, does it matter, should you care?
Let’s put it this way, tradelines can be expensive, over a thousand dollars in some cases, and sometimes far over that, so if you pay for an authorized user spot on someone else’s card, and you’re going to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars, you would probably want to know what you’re paying for, right?
That little aside…aside, if a seasoned credit line posts to 2/3 bureaus we consider that a success, and the lender doesn’t really matter that much, as long as it posts, but there are subtleties to different lenders, and we can break a few of those down and give them our very best qualified “NAY” or “YAY”!
Does Discover Report Authorized Users?
In a testament to how things change, when Boost Credit 101 started, Discover was considered a third-tier tradeline. They mostly didn’t post to three bureaus, and sometimes not even two. Now Discover is one of the best, though they do require images of the AU’s driver’s license and SS card (a W2 works in place of the SS card image). They post to 3 bureaus the most consistently. They are an upper-level bank, with slick advertising, that requires excellent credit to be approved for.
Does Capital One Report Authorized Users to Credit Bureaus?
Ah Capital One, those savvy marketers with Samuel L. Jackson played by Nick Fury asking “What’s in your wallet?” all the time. Capital One is the one major lender that has cards for approval across the widest ranges in credit score. Their Quicksilver requires “good” credit, and perhaps even the upper levels of “fair” (669 and down). They post consistently to all three bureaus.
Capital One: YAY!
Does American Express Report Authorized Users to Credit Bureaus?
American Express, the cadillac of credit cards. They have the most advanced
systems, the best customer service, and the unicorn of all tradelines: the Black card. You can’t even apply. You must be invited.
A year ago AmEx paired up with GQ for a sort of mini-documentary (more commercial) showing two well-dressed men eating and drinking in the most luxe Sydney establishments before flying to Los Angeles–one of the fellas even had an espresso martini. So you’d think that AmEx would be great for getting AU history, but they aren’t. They post fine to all three bureaus, but they don’t report their history.
One of the most valuable things about tradelines is that a 20 year old card goes on your report and affects your credit like it has been there since it opened, thus giving you 20 years added to your average history.
Since AmEx doesn’t report history, they are all but worthless as tradelines unless you just turned 18.
American Express: NAY (but you should get an approval for one when your score is good to excellent)
Does Merrick Bank Report Authorized Users?
Who knows? We’ve never heard of them, never seen them offered as tradelines.
Does Citibank Report Authorized Users?
Citibank is a conundrum. They do report AU history, but their systems are in dire need of upgrade, because either their software isn’t up to snuff or the human component of their customer service makes mistakes. They are the lines that require a bit of extra work to get posted, if they post. By this we mean a soft pull, where you put the address of the tradeline into an experian-powered login as your own and order the 3 reports. A great bank to do business with it seems. They have the largest variety of credit cards available.
Citibank: Toss Up