Credit Reporting Agencies Do Not Have to Report Tradelines

Many consumers seek to have negative accounts (or “tradelines”) removed from their credit reports if they are inaccurate or misleading. But credit reports also reflect positive tradelines, like a mortgage or a credit card you’ve been paying on time for many years.

How Positive Tradelines Affect Your Credit

Positive tradelines for accounts that are paid on time can boost the strength of your credit, and most lenders and creditors do report positive tradelines to the major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. There are different types of positive credit, the main ones being revolving credit (like a credit card) and installment credit (like a mortgage or a student loan). When you keep these accounts open and pay them on time over a period of years, they can strengthen your credit.

But what happens when the credit reporting agencies do not report a positive tradeline on a consumer’s credit report? Can the agencies be required to report it?

Are Credit Reporting Agencies Required to Report Positive Tradelines?

The short answer is: no. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that the credit reporting agencies follow reasonable procedures to assure “maximum possible accuracy” on a person’s credit report,[1] but it does not explicitly require that all tradelines be reported.

Notably, a recent court case[2] confirmed that the credit reporting agencies are under no duty to report tradelines. In that court case, the mortgage lender had stopped reporting the consumer’s mortgage to the credit reporting agencies. The consumer, called the “plaintiff,” sued the credit reporting agencies to require them to report the mortgage.

The federal district court in the Northern District of Minnesota considered whether it was a violation of the FCRA for Experian to omit the positive tradeline associated with the plaintiff’s mortgage. The plaintiff argued that it was misleading for the mortgage to be omitted from his report, and thus the credit report was inaccurate. The court disagreed with the plaintiff and held that the omission of the mortgage did not make the credit report inaccurate or misleading.[3] The court’s decision helped to confirm that it is not a violation of the FCRA for a credit reporting agency to not report a tradeline on a credit report. 

Keep in mind that the court that decided the case, the federal district court in the Northern District of Minnesota, does not have authority to bind all other courts in the country—but its decision does provide “persuasive authority,” which may guide other courts in making their decisions on this topic in the future.

Finding Potential Errors in Your Credit Report

While the court in the case discussed above decided that omitting a positive tradeline is not a violation of the FCRA, many consumers do have reporting errors on their credit reports that negatively impact their credit. While you can work to address these reporting errors yourself, many consumers choose to engage Lexington Law’s professional help. Contact us for a free credit report consultation today.

Written by Cynthia Thaxton, Lexington Law Firm Attorney.

Cynthia Thaxton has been with Lexington Law Firm since 2014. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. Cynthia then attended law school at George Mason University School of Law, where she served as Senior Articles Editor of the George Mason Law Review and graduated cum laude. Cynthia is licensed to practice law in Utah and North Carolina.

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[1] 15 U.S.C.A. § 1681e(b).

[2] Krosch v. Equifax Info. Servs., et al., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS99150 (N.D. Minn., 2020).

[3] Krosch at 4.