What Is a Tradeline and How Does It Affect My Credit?

On your credit report, you’ll see a list of your credit accounts, which are referred to as tradelines. Since it’s important to regularly review your credit reports to make sure everything is accurate, learning more about tradelines can help you do a more thorough review of your reports.

Tradeline Definition

A tradeline is an account that appears in your credit report. Examples include credit cards, mortgages, personal loans and auto loans. When a credit bureau is asked for your credit score, the tradelines in your credit report are used to generate that score.

What Is a Tradeline on a Credit Report?

There are two types of tradelines: revolving and installment. Credit cards and home equity lines of credit are examples of revolving tradelines. With this type of account, an individual is given a credit limit (or line of credit) and is allowed to use any amount of credit up to the limit. You can pay off your balance monthly or carry a balance and pay interest, depending on the terms of the agreement.

[Read: Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards.]

Mortgages, personal loans and student loans are examples of installment tradelines. With this type of account, you borrow a lump sum. Then you generally make fixed-interest monthly payments for the life of the loan.

Here’s the type of information you might see with each tradeline:

— Lender name and address.

— Type of account.

— Part of the account number.

— Current balance.

— Date you opened the account.

— Date the account was closed (if applicable).

— Date of your most recent activity.

— Your minimum monthly payment.

— Either the credit limit or the loan amount.

— Your name as either the account owner or an authorized user.

— Your payment history.

— Account status: Are you current or delinquent?

How Tradelines Affect Your Credit Score

When you apply for credit, a lender will request your credit score as part of the approval process. Your tradelines are used by the credit score algorithm to generate your three-digit credit score.

Here are the five factors that make up your FICO score along with the weight given to each factor:

— Payment history: 35%.

— Amounts owed: 30%.

— Length of credit history: 15%.

— New credit: 10%.

— Credit mix: 10%.

If your credit activity results in a change to one of these factors, it might impact your score. Here’s an example: Let’s say you decide to close a credit card account. It doesn’t immediately affect your history, but you do lose the available credit for the closed card. This increases your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’ve used compared with the amount you have available. A ratio that exceeds 30% will likely lower your credit score.

[Read: Best Cash Back Credit Cards.]

When Are Tradelines Removed?

There are multiple reasons a tradeline might be removed from your credit report. If you decide to close a credit card account, for instance, the tradeline for that account doesn’t immediately fall off your credit report. In fact, a closed account that reflects positively on your credit could remain on your report for up to 10 years.

If you were an authorized user and you’ve been removed from an account, the tradeline will be deleted from your credit report after about two months.

Another scenario where you could request to have a tradeline removed is if fraud has occurred. Often, a fraudulent account has negative data associated with it, so the removal would help improve your credit score.

[Read: Best Starter Credit Cards.]

As for negative information, such as a credit card account in collections or a bankruptcy, those tradelines will remain on your report for seven to 10 years. Fortunately, the negative impact on your credit score starts to decrease after the first two years.

More from U.S. News

How to Dispute a Credit Report Error

Your Credit Report: Everything You Need to Know

Credit Score vs. Credit Report: What’s the Difference?

What Is a Tradeline and How Does It Affect My Credit? originally appeared on usnews.com

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