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Unpaid Utility Bills Can Appear on Your Credit Report

Dear Experian,

If you don’t pay your utility bill, can that go on your credit report?


Dear MWB,

If you don’t pay your utility bill the utility company usually will send it to a collection agency. The collection agency will then report it to Experian and the unpaid debt will become part of your credit report.

The irony of utility bills and other credit-like payments, such as cellular telephone bills, is that if you don’t pay the bill the negative information will become part of your credit report. But if you always pay on time, the positive information typically isn’t reported and so doesn’t help your credit history.

Experian believes that reporting the positive information would be very helpful for many consumers, particularly those trying to establish credit for the first time. That includes young people, new immigrants, and recently divorced consumers, especially women.

A few utilities companies do currently report both positive and negative data, and Experian would like for all companies to do so. There are many legal and business issues that must be resolved before that can happen, but we are working hard to overcome those challenges so that people who don’t have traditional credit relationships can begin to build a positive credit history and have access to all of the benefits that makes possible.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team

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