What Is a Tradeline?

A tradeline is a record of activity for a credit account. A tradeline is created on your credit report when you borrow money from a bank or lender who then reports the activity of that account to one of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian.

How Does a Tradeline Work?

The tradeline provides a record for each loan reported, for example, there would be a tradeline for your car loan, another for your mortgage, etc. The tradeline records all activity, including payments, for that loan. It includes data about the lender, borrower, type of loan, and terms of the loan. A tradeline will also include a timeline noting payment dates and maturity for the loan.

What Are Tradelines Used For?

Tradelines are used by the credit rating agencies to determine your credit score. Failing to meet the requirements of the loan terms for that account can have a detrimental effect on your credit. Alternatively, meeting the loan terms with timely payments and responsible use can improve it.

The number of tradelines you have open can affect your credit score, as well as their age, how many times you’ve missed a payment, how much of the credit used is available to you, and how actively you use the credit.

How Long Does a Tradeline Stay on Your Credit Report?

Credit bureaus are allowed to include tradelines on your credit report as long as the information is accurate, complete, and within the credit reporting time limit. You may dispute tradelines with inaccurate information in an attempt to remove them from your credit history and raise your score.

Open tradelines with positive information will remain on your credit report forever. Closed tradelines with positive information will stay on your credit report based on each credit bureau's internal guidelines. Closed tradelines with negative information will fall off your credit report in 7 to 10 years.

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Rachel Siegel, CFA
Rachel Siegel, CFA
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Rachel Siegel, CFA is one of the nation's leading experts at ensuring the accuracy of financial and economic text. Her prestigious background includes over 10 years creating professional financial certification exams and another 20 years of college-level teaching.

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