Tradelines 101 [Infographic]
If you’re new to tradelines, have no fear. At Tradeline Supply Company, LLC, we provide free educational content so you can empower yourself to make smart financial choices. Keep reading for a crash course on tradelines that will help you get up to speed without getting in over your head.
What Are Tradelines and How Do They Work?
A tradeline is simply any account that appears in your credit file, including mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards. Tradelines are important because your credit report depends entirely on how you manage your tradelines, and maintaining a positive credit record is essential for financial success.
There are many ways to add tradelines to your credit record, such as opening a credit card or getting a loan. The best way to build a positive credit file long-term is to open your own primary tradelines and keep them in good standing by always making payments on time.
However, when you open new accounts, especially if you have a limited credit history, they will have no age and often they will have low credit limits, which could actually hurt your credit score temporarily. As an alternative, you could add an authorized user tradeline to your credit file.
Authorized User Tradelines
An authorized user tradeline, or AU tradeline, is an account on which you are listed as an authorized user, which means you are not liable for any charges incurred on the account. As an example, sometimes parents will add their children as authorized users of their credit cards.
When you are added as an authorized user, often the full history of the account appears in your credit record. This is because credit records usually do not show the date the AU was added to the account. So, as soon as you are added as an AU, your credit report may show years of history associated with the account. This is why obtaining an AU tradeline through a friend or family member is a common way for people to start establishing a credit file.
Being added as an AU on someone else’s credit card can also come with risks, depending on how the primary user has managed their tradeline. If the AU tradeline has negative marks such as high utilization or late payments, this could have an undesirable impact on your credit file. In addition, not everyone has the opportunity to be added as an AU to a friend or family member’s credit tradeline.
However, new innovations have created equal opportunities for those who may not have the same privilege. Now, high-quality AU tradelines can be purchased at affordable prices, allowing anyone to benefit from access to tradelines.
How to Choose a Tradeline
If you plan to buy tradelines, you need to examine your own credit report and consider whether adding a tradeline could work for you. A tradeline needs to be superior in quality to what is already in your credit file for a positive change to occur. Everyone’s credit file is unique, so adding AU tradelines will have a different effect on each individual.
If you purchase tradelines from a reputable business, they should have low utilization and a perfect payment history. Therefore, the only remaining factors to consider are:
- the credit limit of the card
- the age of the card, also known as the “seasoning.”
An AU tradeline with a high limit can help lower your overall utilization ratio, which is an important factor in credit scoring. However, if you have individual credit cards with high utilization, these accounts will diminish the positive effect of adding the tradeline.
As we have emphasized in “Why Age is the Most Valuable Factor of a Tradeline” and “The #1 Secret on How to Unlock the Power of Tradelines,” the age of the card is often even more important than the credit limit. Credit scoring models consider several age-related factors such as the length of your credit history and your average age of accounts. Therefore, the older or more “seasoned” the tradeline is, the more you may stand to benefit from it.
Generally, a seasoned tradeline is an account that has been open and in good standing for at least two years, after which it is thought to have a more positive impact on your credit file. The older the tradeline, the better impact it could have on your credit report. However, if the tradeline is younger than your average age of accounts, this would decrease your average, which could have a negative impact on your file.
To determine your average age of accounts and overall utilization ratio, try our Tradeline Calculator. For a more in-depth discussion of how to choose a tradeline, see our Tradeline Buyer’s Guide.
Tradeline Mistakes to Avoid
Make sure you don’t make these errors when buying tradelines!
- Having a credit freeze or fraud alert on your account. This will prevent any new tradelines from posting.
- Not ordering the tradeline far enough in advance of the reporting date. Since processing the order and adding the tradeline to your account takes time, the order must be placed by the specified purchase deadline in order for us to guarantee that the tradeline will post in the next reporting period.
- Buying tradelines from banks that do not post well. Unfortunately, most banks do not reliably report authorized user data. Tradeline Supply Company, LLC has tested virtually every major bank and many smaller banks and has determined which banks post the most reliably. Other tradeline companies sell tradelines from banks that we have confirmed to have extremely low success rates. This is one reason why we have the highest posting success rate in the industry and have earned the status of being the most trusted tradeline supplier in the industry.
Read our “Common Mistakes” article for an extensive list of even more pitfalls to avoid.
How to Choose a Tradeline Company
When browsing tradelines for sale, only use platforms that are reliable and reputable and provide secure online transactions. It is important to choose a reputable company so you don’t waste your money on poor-quality tradelines, tradelines that fail to post, or tradelines that are extremely expensive. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest companies out there, so it can be hard to know who to trust.
Warning signs of unethical companies include fake reviews, unavailable or poor customer service, and unprofessional-looking websites.
Be sure to avoid anyone trying to sell you an alternate social security number, commonly called a CPN, or anything that is supposed to somehow “wipe the slate clean” of your bad credit—this is a telltale sign of identity fraud, which is a federal crime. Companies selling CPN tradelines are creating records of fraudulent activity that could be linked to their customers if they are targeted by an investigation in the future. (Read our article on the dangers of CPNs for more information.)
We believe in educating consumers on how the system works and empowering them with this knowledge to make their own financial choices. We provide free resources for consumers to learn about tradelines so they can be successful without the “help” of exploitative businesses.
Starting Your Credit Journey
Tradelines are the foundational building blocks of credit. Unfortunately, for many people, it can be difficult to start building credit because often it takes credit to get new credit. Lenders are often hesitant to offer credit to those with no credit history. This is why studies have shown that many people begin their credit journey by first becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account.
However, not everyone has a friend or family member they can turn to for credit help. It is our mission to educate our community on how the credit system works, provide valuable resources to help consumers make smart decisions, and serve as a platform to purchase tradelines at affordable prices.
Are you just starting to learn about tradelines? Or are you a tradeline expert already? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!