utility payments aren't on credit report
Some time in the near future I will be looking to finance
my first home, so I obviously have been taking a more serious look at my credit
However, when I look over my report, I don't see
things such as utility, TV or Internet bills. I thought such things
would help my score and go on the report ... or do they only show
up as a negative when I pay late?
Can you clarify what things actually make it on there?
-- Andrew Attenuate
It would be unusual for a creditor to not report your payment history
to at least one of the three principal consumer reporting agencies
(Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), but other businesses you deal
with make a decision whether or not to report your payment history
to the credit bureaus. You can't force a business to report
your payment history, but if they chose to do so they have to follow
the reporting requirements of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA.
Not seeing the information on one credit report doesn't
mean that it isn't on one of the other two. Check with all three
credit agencies. You are eligible for one free
credit report from each agency every year. If you haven't taken
advantage of this right, Bankrate provides the contact
asked Rod Griffin, the senior manager of public education at Experian to provide
a little more background about businesses reporting payment history on a credit
report. Here's what he had to say:
companies, cellular telephone service providers and cable
do not typically report information to the credit
reporting companies. In
fact, some states prohibit utility providers from
reporting account payment
"These kinds of accounts are what the industry
is calling 'alternative
credit data.' Experian is studying these and other
relationships that could be part of a credit report. Experian
that utility payments and other similar relationships could help
like your reader establish a positive credit history and gain access
the traditional credit marketplace ...
"For now, though,
utility, telephone and cellular service payments are
not reported regularly."
A credit score is based on the information in your
credit report. Each credit reporting agency has its own credit score.
A new credit score called a VantageScore uses the information in
all three reports. A Bankrate feature, "New credit score now
online," explains VantageScores
in greater depth. You can estimate your FICO
credit score for free on Bankrate.
To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask
the Experts" page, and select one of these topics: "financing
a home," "saving & investing" or "money."