Are you desperate to raise your credit score fast? It makes sense — your credit score impacts so much of your life and it takes so long to build or repair your credit history. But there’s a drastic measure few know about . . . you can actually buy someone else’s good credit history.
It’s no secret that credit scores play a huge role in major purchase decisions.
A low credit score can lead to higher interest rates, higher insurance premiums, and even loan denial. For the 68 million Americans suffering from bad to poor credit, the credit repair process can seem long and grueling — paying off debt, getting rid of credit cards, and creating perfect payment history is only the start.
There has to be a quicker solution, right?
You could ask (or pay for) someone else’s credit score.
Before we get into the strategy, let’s start with understanding the term “tradeline.”
What Is A Credit Tradeline? A tradeline is any account appearing on your credit report.
If someone with a good credit score adds you as an authorized user to one or more of their seasoned tradelines — like a credit card — you might reap the benefits of their positive credit history.
Parents, for example, often add their children as authorized users on credit card accounts in an effort to help them build credit.
Buying a tradeline is sometimes called “renting” a tradeline. Although the name is different, the concept is the same. In fact, renting is actually a more accurate term. When someone adds you to their credit card as an authorized user, the primary account holder can always remove you from the account again later.
This credit repair technique — if you decide to buy or rent tradelines — can sometimes help you quickly increase your FICO Score enough to:
There’s nothing wrong with the authorized user strategy itself. According to a 2010 report from the Federal Reserve Board, over 33% of U.S. citizens have one or more authorized user tradelines on their credit report.
Most of these add-ons come from friends and family members, but what about those who don’t have a close pal willing to add them to their line of credit?
Here’s where you start to get into the gray area.
This exact scenario is why more and more companies are offering customers the opportunity to buy tradelines to improve their bad credit. You simply pay the company a fee, give your name and Social Security number, and they link you with someone who has a well-managed credit card account that’s willing to add you as an authorized user.
Before we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of tradelines, let’s explore one of the main questions associated with tradelines.
Is Buying Tradelines Legal?When you buy tradelines from companies, you can’t have the perks without the cold, hard truth.
While not illegal, buying credit and paying for authorized user tradelines can be seen as dishonest. Creditors and lenders aim to make logical, fair credit decisions based on your credit history, payment history, and other factors.
By purchasing a tradeline, you are basically telling creditors that all of the positive information about someone else is true about you.
Of course, some would point out that this type of “piggybacking” is done all the time.
Like we said earlier, one-third of Americans are already using other people’s credit to improve their scores. While they typically do so by becoming authorized users on friends’ and family members’ accounts, is that really different than using a third party’s credit history? Some would argue “no.”
Regardless, it’s something you’ll want to consider before rushing to buy tradelines.
According to Experian, “buying tradelines to improve your credit score may be perceived as deceiving the lender or even committing bank fraud.”
Why Is Credit So Important?Credit history plays a huge role in adult life. Without good credit, you may have limited access to credit like auto loans, credit cards, or mortgages. You may also have higher interest rates for the credit you can obtain, which could end up costing you more money in the long run.
But if you do have a good score — whether that’s your present situation or that’s your goal — you can generally enjoy more access to financing with lower interest rates.
(But be careful excessive use of credit can lead to debt, and there is a difference between good debt and bad debt!)
Your credit history — which is found on your credit report — is graded by a credit score that ranges from 300 to 850. The rule of thumb is that a score of 600 or below is poor, while a score of 750 or better is great.
Your credit score is comprised of:
This breakdown not only can offer some explanation for your current credit score, it shows just how important it is to monitor all aspects of how your score is graded.
Regardless of how poor your credit situation is, choosing to spend your money on credit repair services is a big decision.
Companies all over the internet are advertising and persuading people, like you, to partake in this service — so it’s more important than ever to do your homework.
Here’s the truth behind what happens when you buy tradelines.
Do Tradelines Really Work? Once you buy tradelines, you’re added as an authorized user to someone else’s credit card. The card issuer will generally report that information to the credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
If the card issuer reports the account to the credit bureaus, a new positive tradeline will be added to your credit report.
The new tradeline may increase your credit score and could help offset negative information found on your current credit report.
How Long Does It Take For Tradelines To Post?If you buy a tradeline, how soon can it buoy your credit score? Although it can take up to 90 days, most banks report updated account information to credit bureaus at least every 45 days.
It’s worth noting, however, that buying or renting a tradeline doesn’t guarantee that your credit score will increase.
Implications of Buying TradelinesPrivacy IssuesCompanies offering credit repair services and tradelines require the use of your sensitive information. Providing your Social Security number is mandatory to be added as an authorized user to someone else’s account.
When you buy a tradeline, you likely won’t know the person who’s receiving your sensitive information. Any time your personal information is shared, especially with third parties, there is always the risk of someone stealing your identity or using your information illegally.
Long-Term SuccessUsing someone else’s credit as your own also has a low chance of long-term success. Even if you get approved for a loan or credit line, do you actually have the money and responsible spending habits to successfully manage those accounts?
It’s important to be realistic about your credit score and habits. Buying credit can give a false pretense that you can afford things you cannot, simply because you are able to obtain approval for the loan or credit line.
It would be devastating to default and hurt a credit score you paid hundreds or even thousands to increase. Worse, the lender who didn’t get paid back as expected might even sue you or report you for bank fraud.
That being said, it’s entirely possible that your credit history does not reflect your financial choices today. You may have made credit mistakes when you were younger that are still appearing on your credit report, even though you’re much more responsible with money now.
In a scenario like that one — where you feel confident that your past credit mistakes are behind you — it might make sense to buy a tradeline. That way you have something to fall back on while you wait for the bad marks on your credit to roll off.
Still, you should be aware of and comfortable with the risks. Even in this situation, you’re far better off asking a loved one to add you as an authorized user if you have this option.
Only you can determine whether you’re responsible enough to handle additional credit. Be sure to ask yourself these tough questions before you opt to buy a new tradeline.
While there are pros and cons to any big decision, choosing to meddle with your credit score merits doing the proper research.
How Much Do Tradelines Cost?The cost of renting or buying tradelines can range widely — from a few hundred dollars to $2,000 or more.
The price you pay for a tradeline may be based on the following factors.
The Age Of The AccountOlder tradelines potentially have the ability to improve your credit scores more than younger ones. Remember, 15% of your FICO Score is based on your length of credit history.
The Credit Limit Your credit card limits, and how they relate to your balances, also have a big influence on your credit scores.
When your credit utilization (aka balance-to-limit ratio) is low, your credit scores may climb. Becoming an authorized user on a credit card with a high limit could help lower your credit utilization rate.
Tradeline resellers know that becoming an authorized user on an older credit card or a credit card with a higher credit limit may potentially improve your credit scores faster.
So, they charge a premium if you want to be added onto a credit card with these features.
Some tradeline companies also charge based on how long the primary account holder promises to keep you on the account as an authorized user.