I bought a car from a buy-here-pay-here place and paid off the car in full. Can I add that to my credit report?
Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to have the account reported. The lender, in this case the car dealership, would have to report the loan, meet the legal requirements of doing so and fulfill Experian's subscriber standards in order to do so.
That means the dealership would have to report the account, update the payments regularly and have in place a system to respond to consumer disputes regarding the information it reported. It would also have to install the necessary security measures, computer systems and software to report the account information.
The legal and subscriber requirements for reporting and maintaining the history of the account will almost certainly be cost prohibitive for an organization the size of a small car dealership.
That doesn't mean that making the payments on time and paying the debt in full can't be helpful in obtaining new credit. Keep all of your payment records. Mortgage lenders will sometimes allow you to demonstrate that you are a good credit risk by documenting your payment history on debts or utility payments that are not reported to credit reporting companies.
To build your credit report you might be able to work with your bank or credit union to establish a secured credit card account that is reported, which will get your positive credit history started. All it takes is one small account, managed well, to pave the way to a strong credit future.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team