The word tradeline or trade lines as it is many times referred to is a word used in the credit and lending industries. It refers to credit accounts such credit cards, installment loans, mortgages or any other account that reports to the credit bureau agencies. The tradeline as listed on the credit report will have several pieces of information that a lender will look at and may want to know when reviewing your file. This is especially true if they are trying to determine if you are to be extended a loan.
An authorized user account is a credit card account which has been opened by the primary cardholder for an additional user. Adding a person as an authorized user usually but does not necessarily mean there is an extra credit card issued. Some personal information may be required in order to be added as an authorized user on an account. However the holder/owner of the account does not have to provide the user their private info if they choose not to. This account is many times reported to the credit bureaus by the issuing banks. Reporting history is subject to change according to each card issuing institution as well as the credit bureaus own internal rules and guidelines.
Piggybacking is a credit building tactic that allow a person who is trying to build credit to “piggyback” onto the credit history of someone who already has excellent credit. This is done via the use of authorized user accounts. the person with the excellent credit history would add the person who is trying to build credit onto their credit card as an authorized user. This action alone causes the entire history of the account to be reported as a tradeline on the credit report of the person trying to build the credit. This added excellent credit history allows the person wanting to build credit to realize score improvements of 50 points or more depending on the strength of the original credit line used.
Authorized user accounts work because credit bureaus report the accounts holders entire card history to the credit report of the card holder and to the credit report of the authorized user even if the authorized user has only been on the account for a few days. The reason accounts are being reported is because of Fair Isaac Company, better known as FICO has interpreted a part of the law about equal credit opportunity act to mean that the person who is the authorized user on an account must be given credit for the account history.
These accounts typically rented by brokers offer monthly income payments to individuals who have an outstanding credit history. The length of the credit card file history, as well as the top limit vs. balances, maintained over time are factors which create the strength of each account. Some specific companies are recognized as better reporting sources for authorized user accounts as opposed to others. The individual card with the excellent credit history is then purchased/rented by consumers who want to receive the benefit of the tradeline reporting the excellent credit on their credit files. They do this to help them establish better loan products at more attractive rates and flexible terms. K
The first question anyone looking at authorized users should ask is whether or not they work. The answer to that depends on your specific situation. If you were asking this question before 2008 i would have said that they worked 100%.
Since 2008 there have been several changes that have affected how they work. The first major change is that lenders found out about this tactic and started creating plans and processes to make sure that the customer didn’t benefit as much as they did pre 2008.
The biggest change was that most lenders changed their reporting schedule. Instead of reporting these tradelines within 30 days to all 3 credit bureaus most lenders only report the tradelines to 1 bureau and in most cases take up to 3 months before they send the information to the credit bureaus. This change is okay if you are piggybacking using a friend or family members credit card. However if you are using a broker the reporting becomes to sporadic and unreliable.
Length Of Time Reporting
Another major change was how long the tradeline remained on your report after you were added. prior to 2008 if you were added to someone’s credit card as an authorized user and then later you were removed (as is normally the case when using a broker) the history of the tradeline would remain showing on your credit report and would be marked closed. This allowed you to benefit from the age of the account forever. Since 2008 if you are removed as an authorized user the entire history of the AU account will be removed as well.
As lenders were made aware of this tactic several of them changed their underwriting guidelines, especially when trying to get a mortgage, to specifically check and challenge an authorized user account that looked the least bit suspicious.
Although these accounts still work to increase and improve your credit scores care must be taken when adding them to your account. The last thing you want to do is get yourself involved with a broker who uses accounts that have sporadic reporting or use this tactic when the lender specifically underwrites against it.