Tradelines are a miracle. They do things that nothing else can. If tradelines were winches, they could raise the Titanic. That might sound like hyperbole, but where else can you find a literal answer to “how can I raise my credit score 100 points?” We’ve seen tradelines raise a score 50 points. We’ve seen 100, 150. If you want to get technical, we’ve seen tradelines raise a score 750 points, though the reports started as blank–but still, NA (or 0) to 750, is a 750 point raise. 

That said, if you add credit lines, the results are not entirely predictable. In that way tradelines are a bit like investing. Remember that famous catch phrase? 

Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Just because you buy an old tradeline, the same one as the customer who got 150 point raise, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. And, to be completely honest, there are times when you should not buy a tradeline. So when would that be?

Can I Improve My Credit Score?

The good news is that yes, you can always improve your credit score, but whether that happens quickly or not will depend on what’s on your reports. If you want to add a tradeline to boost your scores, you’ll first want to ask yourself if you have any of these things:

Late Payments: The fastest way to torpedo your credit is by missing a payment on an outstanding loan (credit card, mortgage, student, auto, etc). If you are currently late on something, or if you have very recent missed payments, tradelines will have minimal (if any) effect. 

At Boost Credit 101, it is our policy that we don’t add tradelines to reports that have missed payments in the last 6 months. There are exceptions to this, but those are special cases.

High utilization on credit cards: If you’re looking into seasoned credit lines for sale, and you have large balances on your cards, then tradelines will not do much. Even having one maxed out credit card can drop you 100 points or more. Always try to keep cards below the 30% mark, and below 10% is even better. 

Of course, if you’re paying the balance off then it doesn’t really matter. Even if you have excessive utilization of open trades in last 12 months, it makes no difference as long as you didn’t miss any payments. Past utilization has no bearing on current scores as long as the utilization is under control now.

These are the two things that will straight up negate most, if not all, benefits of purchasing tradelines

Without These Issues, How Soon Does Your Credit Score Improve with Tradelines?

–Advice on Credit Repair

In a very general sense, if you add tradelines, the score should improve in two weeks. At Boost Credit 101 our contract states that we have 60 days to place a tradeline–though it never takes that long. But are there other things that should give you pause before purchasing? Yes.

Do you have excessive negative marks? These marks can be: chargeoffs, collections, public records, Bankruptcies. If you have many of these, even adding premium trade lines with large limits and long histories won’t do much. 

But, good news, a good credit repair specialist can remove these, and you won’t even have to look into how to change your credit score illegally

If you’re wondering what that even looks like–there are people out there with illegal software who can remove negative marks. Our advice would be to not engage their services.

A good credit repair person/company shouldn’t take longer than 45-60 days.

A good indicator of a company you don’t want to deal with is them charging a monthly fee. These companies have a business model that puts a premium on taking longer, so they can charge you more fees.

Conclusion: If you have very recent late payments or highly utilized cards, here is our advice–let some time go by so you can get some good payment history. And if overutilization is the issue, it is better to pay down the cards than pay money to add a tradeline. Overall utilization is one thing tradelines help with, but having even one card maxed out will deep-six your credit.