It’s important to look at your full credit report regularly. Not only does it give you the opportunity to identify errors and help guard against identity theft, but it can also highlight areas where improvement is possible.
One area you have more control over in your credit report than you may realize is the amount of reporting companies listed on the report, which in turn influences your score.
Here’s the key: Not all companies that offer credit report to the credit bureaus. And, if you have managed your debt with a non-reporting company superbly, that information is obsolete to other creditors. If it’s not on your credit report, it essentially doesn’t exist to the outside world.
Particularly for individuals with little credit and a brief credit history, this can be a significant portion of missed potential.
As explained by Katie Bushor, director of client relations with Quizzle, “Because your credit score is determined 100% by the information provided by creditors to the bureau, missing information does absolutely nothing to help your credit score. The bureaus cannot even consider information that’s not been provided, so if you see missing accounts – particularly if they are positive histories – it could be beneficial to try and get that info added.”
What’s your number? Before making big financial decisions, it’s smart to know your credit score.
How To Request Additional Information Be Added To Your Credit Report
For whatever reason, whether the creditor only reported to one or two of the big three bureaus or did not report at all or simple human error, you can contact the creditor and request they report.
While they are not required to follow through with this specific type of request, it is the easiest way to add the information to your report.
Another way is to ask for positive account histories to be added is to send a letter to the credit bureaus (with proper documentation, ideally supplemented by a letter of proof from the credit issuer).
One final approach is to ask the credit bureaus directly to add the account. Just as credit issuers are not required to follow through with your request, credit bureaus are likewise not required to add information to your account (beyond fixing errors; they are required to follow through with these types of disputes). However, it doesn’t hurt to try!
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What Needs To Be In The Request Letter?
Your request should be as complete and thorough as possible, including:
- identifying information (name, date of birth, SS#, address, phone number)
- the name and contact information of the positive account you wish to have added
- the account number associated with the credit issuer
- an explicit request for the account to be added to your report
Remember: The three credit bureaus do not “share” information; you will need to contact each individually.
What Information Should Be Included With The Request?
Send copies (never originals) of the following documents:
- Most recent account statements
- Canceled checks showing payment history
- Bank statements (you can redact irrelevant lines of data you don’t wish to share, or simply circle/highlight the relevant information)