Does Paying a Cell Phone Bill Go On Your Credit Report – #CreditScope

Do you have questions about credit?

Join our live video chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET on Periscope. Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian, is available to answer your questions live.

Here are some of the key questions Rod addressed in today’s scope:

Does paying a cell phone bill go on your credit report?
Cell phone payments and utility bills do not yet commonly appear on credit reports.  There are a few utility bills that do. In theory, it would be a beneficial to include on-time cell phone and utility bill payments because they work like credit and are a good indicator of how a person manages their credit.   Also, it would be a good way for people with no or little credit history to establish credit, similar to rent payments.

However, because it’s a complex system and there are many legal requirements around reporting, and often state restrictions on reporting utility payments, its unlikely cell phone or utility payments will be reported in the near future.

Is daily spending reflected on a credit report?
Daily spending is not reflected on a credit report.  A credit report does not show what you buy or how much you spend on an item or day. Instead, a credit report shows the card balance at the end of the billing cycle. Changes in the balance may show indicate a trend of increasing or decreasing balances, but does reflect daily changes.

If you get a new card and you ask for a credit increase, will it hurt your score twice?
Applying for a new card would likely result in an inquiry that could have a small impact on your credit scores for a short time. Subsequently asking for a credit limit increase may or may or may not affect score. It depends on how the lender processes your request.

If the lender treats the request as a new application for additional credit, it could be shown as a “hard” inquiry, which could impact scores. If the lender treats it as a customer service, it may result in a “soft” inquiry, or no inquiry at all, therefore having effect on credit scores.

The second issue is related to the utilization rate. Increasing the credit limit might result in the balance being a lower percentage of the available credit limit. That could help your credit scores, depending on your overall credit history.

Where do you start to build your credit?
There are different approaches for starting to rehabilitate credit, but the bottom line is that you need to pick an account and start to pay it off. At the same time, it is essential to keep paying your other existing debts on time. The math says to start with the credit card with the highest interest rate.

Doing so will save money over the long term. But, that often results in seemingly slow progress, especially if you can’t put a significant amount toward the debt each month and can result in frustration and a loss of motivation. Another approach is to start with the card with the lowest balance. That can result in faster payoff, which helps some people stay motivated. Do what works for you. Just get started.

How do I get student loans removed from my credit report?
The lender should update the payment status of the forgiven accounts as paid or settled. The account won’t be deleted right away. It will remain on your report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the account.

If the student loans were never late and are reported paid as agreed, they will remain on your report for 10 years from the date they were reported paid.  That’s a good thing because the positive credit history will show longer than the negative.

Check out the scope to hear answers to all the questions asked today, and scroll down to see Rod’s responses to a few unanswered questions:

How do you apply rent to your credit rating?
You can’t report your own rent payments, but that doesn’t mean your rent payments can’t help you build a credit history.  Experian is the first national credit reporting company to include positive rent payment information in its credit reports.

Large property management companies and even single unit property owners can report on-time payments for their tenants through Experian’s RentBureau service. To learn more about the services and how you can have your rent payments reported visit

How long does a charge off stay on your credit report?
The term “charge off” means that the credit grantor wrote your account off as a loss, and it is closed to future charges. When an account displays a status of “charge off,” it means the account is closed to future use, although the debt is still owed.  The credit grantor may continue to report the past due amount and the balance owed. If you pay the account, the status should reflect as a “paid charge-off.”

The charged off account will remain on the credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the account, which is the date of the first missed payment that led to the charged-off status.  If the charged off debt has been sold or transferred to a collection agency, any payments should be made to the collection agency, not the original creditor. Once transferred, the collection agency becomes the legal owner of the debt.

Scoped on: 02/18/2016


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