What Is a Credit Tradeline? (2024)

5 Min Read | December 30, 2022

A credit tradeline is the credit bureau term for an account on your credit report. Here are the three types of tradelines and what information each includes.

What Is a Credit Tradeline? (2)

This article contains general information and is not intended to provide information that is specific to American Express products and services. Similar products and services offered by different companies will have different features and you should always read about product details before acquiring any financial product.


Your credit report has a separate “tradeline” for each of your credit accounts.

Tradelines include detailed information about the nature of the account and your payment history.

Information in your tradelines is used to determine your credit score, so it’s important that it’s accurate.

Tradelines stay on your credit report for at least seven years and possibly much longer.

What is a tradeline? It may sound vaguely like something from the world of stocks and bonds, but it’s actually a vital part of credit reporting. In simplest terms, a tradeline is an individual account listing on yourcredit report. But if you’re looking to build and maintain a positive credit profile, it helps to know more than just what a credit tradeline is. Experts say it’s also helpful to know:

  • The types of credit tradelines.
  • What each tradeline includes.
  • How tradelines are used.
  • How long tradelines stay on your credit report.

By understanding all those elements, you might be better able to make financial decisions that can keep your tradelines healthy – and in the process establish good credit history and boost your credit score.

There Are Three Types of Tradelines

Each account you have is a single credit tradeline. That’s true whether your payment is current or past due, the account is open or closed, or the account is in your name only or held jointly with someone else. But all tradelines are not identical. They fall into three categories:

  • Revolving accounts, such ascredit cardsor lines of credit. They’re known as revolving because the balance, available credit, and payment due all change as you make purchases and payments.
  • Installment loans, such aspersonal loans, student loans, auto loans, or mortgages. These are accounts in which you borrow a fixed amount and repay it on fixed terms. Some experts consider mortgages a separate fourth category.
  • Open accounts, which are payable in full when a buyer receives merchandise or something else of value. These accounts are more common for businesses than for individuals.

The weight and elements of credit tradelines vary from one category to another. For example, falling behind on mortgage or auto loan payments will likely cause greater damage to your credit score than missing a credit card payment. And a credit card tradeline includes your credit limit and utilization, while an auto loan tradeline does not.

Each Credit Tradeline Includes Detailed Information

Tradelines, like the credit reports they are part of, are intended to help creditors minimize the risk of lending decisions. Therefore, each tradeline includes a wealth of potentially helpful information. Typically, this includes:1

  • Account type, such as revolving or installment.
  • Partial or scrambled account number – to protect your privacy.
  • Original loan amount or credit limit, for installment loans and credit cards, respectively.
  • Current balance.
  • Payment status, such as current or delinquent – and, if delinquent, by how much.
  • Account responsibility – i.e., does the account belong to you or are you an authorized user?
  • Minimum monthly payment.
  • Date the account was opened.
  • Date the account was closed, if applicable.
  • Date of last activity, including payments.
  • Payment history.
  • Recent balance, for credit cards only.
  • Name and address of the lender.

Although most tradelines include all the relevant information on this list, don’t be surprised if you find variations. It’s up to creditors to decide what to report to the credit agencies – or whether to report at all – so some may omit one or another of these categories.

You can review your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies for free, once a year, at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. For each tradeline on your report, carefully check for errors in balances, payment history, or credit limits.

Tradeline Data Shapes Your Credit Score

The data in your tradelines is used to calculate your credit score. In fact, you must have at least one tradeline that’s been active within the preceding six months to have acredit score. Each element of each tradeline contributes to your score, though the elements are weighted differently. Yourpayment history, for example, counts for more than how much of your available credit you’ve used. There arecredit score simulatortools that allow you to play with how different elements of a hypothetical tradeline can affect your credit score.

Creditors are free to use any of the details in your tradelines to better understand your financial situation. A series of recent late payments may be a sign that someone is struggling to keep up with bills, so creditors are less likely to approve credit applications. But late payments that were several years ago and haven’t been repeated may be seen as evidence that someone had a temporary setback and is now back on their feet. And a creditor who isn’t too concerned that you’ve maxed out a credit card with a $300 limit may feel very differently if you’ve maxed out a card with a $10,000 limit. That’s why you don’t want errors that work against your credit score to inhabit any tradeline.

Tradelines Stay on Your Report for Years

Unlike fresh produce, tradelines have a long shelf life. Every tradeline will be included in your report for at least seven years, and possibly longer. Fortunately, positive tradelines stay longer than negative tradelines.

Aslong as any account is open and active, the tradeline will stay on your credit report. A mortgage, for example, might be a tradeline on your report for as long as 30 years. A credit card may show as a tradeline for even longer if you keep it open in good standing. When you close an account in good standing, each reporting agency will decide how long to maintain the tradeline, though it’s typically 10 years. In contrast, tradelines for closed accounts with a negative history are generally removed from your report after seven years. Exceptions are accounts that were resolved through certain forms of bankruptcy; those tradelines may stay on your report for 10 years. Of course, that assumes the negative mark is legitimate. You candispute information on your credit report, so negative tradelines that are fraudulent or in error can be removed or corrected within 30 days after the credit bureau receives proof.

The Takeaway

Acredit tradeline is simply an appearance on your credit report of an account you’ve established with a lender. Each tradeline includes detailed information about that account, including payment history, both positive and negative. Those details are used to calculate your credit score and to help lenders decide how risky it would be to lend you money. Tradelines stay on your credit report for at least seven years. Therefore, it’s important to review your report regularly to ensure that each tradeline is accurate.

1What are Tradelines?” Experian

What Is a Credit Tradeline? (3)

Allan Halcrowis afreelance writer concentrating in business, human resources, and diversity and inclusion. He is also the author of four books on management.

All Credit Intelcontent is written by freelance authors and commissioned and paid for by American Express.

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What Is a Credit Tradeline? (2024)


What does a tradeline do for your credit? ›

Your credit report has a separate “tradeline” for each of your credit accounts. Tradelines include detailed information about the nature of the account and your payment history. Information in your tradelines is used to determine your credit score, so it's important that it's accurate.

How much does a tradeline boost your credit? ›

Positive Impact: Tradelines with a positive payment history on accounts in good standing can be beneficial. They can Increase the number of credit lines you have, which factors into your credit mix (10% of your score). Lengthen your credit history, especially if the tradelines are seasoned accounts (15% of your score).

Is buying credit tradelines legal? ›

Even though it's not explicitly illegal, buying tradelines may be considered deceptive by lenders, and you could be in danger of committing fraud if you use the tradeline to misrepresent your creditworthiness.

What are the cons of tradelines? ›

Risks of credit tradelines

If the tradelines you add have a history of late payments or other negative factors, creditors can use this information from your credit history to weaken your access to credit. So be prepared to pay any tradelines on time and in-full over the course of the tradeline.

How long does it take a tradeline to hit your credit? ›

Trade lines may show up on your credit report as soon as 15 days after the time of purchase. Alternatively, a trade line may be delayed on showing on your report up to 45 days depending on the timing of the purchase.

Is it good to add tradelines to your credit? ›

Buying a tradeline is one way to improve your credit score, but it can be costly, and you could be putting yourself at risk of identity theft. What's more, lenders consider the practice to be deceptive. As a result, buying tradelines isn't advised, and there are better ways to build your credit.

How can I raise my credit score 200 points in 30 days? ›

Try paying debts and maintaining your credit utilisation ratio of 30% or below. There are two ways through which you can pay off your debts, which are as follows: Start paying off older accounts from lowest to highest outstanding balances. Start paying off based on the highest to lowest rate of interest.

How much do tradelines cost? ›

Some companies claim to offer tradelines in the low hundreds or on a low monthly installment plan. Some companies offer them for sale for over $2,000.00 each. Tradelines under $200.00 are not really realistic as the cardholders usually get paid about this much.

Does removing a tradeline hurt your credit? ›

If the account is in good standing, the removal could negatively affect your credit score. If the account is not in good standing because of a high credit utilization ratio, history of late or missed payments, or any other reason, the removal could help improve your credit score.

Are tradelines risky? ›

It's important to note that mismanaging your trade lines can have serious implications on your credit scores. Instances of late payments, defaults or high balances can tarnish your credit history.

Are tradelines good or bad? ›

While buying tradelines may provide a quick boost to your credit scores, it also comes with risks and potential downsides. There's no guarantee that paying for tradelines will improve your credit scores, and it will likely be more expensive than doing it yourself.

How do people get tradelines? ›

You can get tradelines by opening accounts with companies that report to the business credit bureaus. Credit cards, loans,leases, and lines of credit can add financial tradelines to your credit reports.

Can lenders see tradelines? ›

The tradelines in your credit report are used primarily for calculating your credit score. But lenders also look at your tradelines when reviewing your credit application. For instance, if you have a high balance on a credit card, a lender will note your credit limit to determine your credit utilization.

How do I choose a good tradeline? ›

Understanding How to Choose the Best Tradelines

(2) the credit limit of the tradeline. All the other variables should be about equal, which includes having a perfect payment history, having low utilization (at or below 15%), the type of account (usually a credit card), and the reporting date of the account.

Do tradelines give you money? ›

People make money by selling their authorized user tradelines. While you may not reach earning $1,000 per hour, you may earn a side income. There are some risks that come with selling tradelines, such as potentially getting your account shut down if you add to many authorized users.

How can I raise my credit score 100 points? ›

Here are 10 ways to increase your credit score by 100 points - most often this can be done within 45 days.
  1. Check your credit report. ...
  2. Pay your bills on time. ...
  3. Pay off any collections. ...
  4. Get caught up on past-due bills. ...
  5. Keep balances low on your credit cards. ...
  6. Pay off debt rather than continually transferring it.

Does closing a tradeline hurt your credit? ›

If the tradeline had positive information that was helping boost your credit scores, the removal could have a negative impact on your scores. On the flip side, it could help your credit scores if the credit card account has a high utilization rate or issues with payment history.

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