Does a Cell Phone Bill Build Credit?

Does a Cell Phone Bill Build Credit

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Not usually. That’s because cell phone bills are not typically reported to credit reporting agencies. 

However, there are services that can help you build credit through cell phone payments and other bills you pay, as well as other options you can consider for building credit.   

Does Paying a Cell Phone Bill on Time Help Me With My Credit?

In order for a payment to help you build credit, the company receiving the payment must report it to the credit bureaus. 

Cell phone companies rarely report to credit bureaus which means that you are not building credit by paying that bill. If you use a credit card to pay for your cell phone bill and then make your credit card payment on time, that will help you build a good credit score. 

But in that example, your cell phone bill does not directly help with building credit.  

If you want your cell phone bill to help improve your credit score, you will need to find and use a service such as Experian Boost or Grow Credit. Both are free tools that allow you to add payment history for bills such as your phone bill, cable bill, and streaming service bill to your credit reports. 

When you sign up and choose what bills you want to report, Experian will scan your bank account and only select the payments that will help your score. The downside is that the service will only affect your Experian credit score. 

Grow Credit, on the other hand, let’s you build credit with all three credit bureaus! Grow Credit reports payments from your cell phone bills, TV streaming services, internet bills, and other bills, so that you can build credit!

They report payments from the following cell phone companies:

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Metro
  • Spectrum
  • Cricket Wireless
  • Boost Mobile
  • Straight Talk Wireless
  • Others as well

Get Grow Credit

 

A Note on Business Credit

If you’re trying to build business credit, it’s possible your business cell phone account may appear on your business credit reports with Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, or Experian, but it’s not guaranteed. 

Of course, if you use a personal cell phone in your business, that will not help build business credit, since personal accounts do not appear on business credit reports.  

One way to ensure you are building good business credit scores is to get a business credit card and use it to pay business expenses, then make monthly payments on time. 

Will Missed Payments on My Cell Phone Bills Hurt My Credit Score?

Missing payments on your cell phone bills shouldn’t hurt your credit scores since those payments aren’t reported directly to credit bureaus. 

And as long as phone companies aren’t reporting to any credit agency, neither positive nor negative payment history will affect your credit. 

(Of course, if you are paying your cell phone bill with a credit card, you don’t want to pay that credit card late, because late payments will hurt your credit scores.)

There is a way that your cell phone bill can hurt your credit scores, though. If you fall significantly behind on cell phone payments, your account may be closed and the balance turned over to a collection agency. 

That collection account can appear on your credit reports and will definitely hurt your credit scores. 

Also read: The Best Credit Building Apps

How Does a New Cell Phone Application Affect My Credit Score?

A cell phone application may affect your credit scores, but it will not typically have a major impact. 

Whether or not you apply for financing for your cell phone, most cell phone providers run your credit reports, also known as a “credit check”. This credit review creates a hard inquiry on the credit report that was accessed, and will likely cause your credit score to drop a few points. 

But the effect on your score should be limited to a few points, and most people will see their credit score go back up in a few months as long as there aren’t many other new inquiries. 

Keep in mind that even though you may get financing through the cell phone company, those cell phone payments will not be likely reported to credit bureaus. 

If you want them reported, you can use a service that will report them, or consider using a personal loan or credit card to pay for the cell phone instead of financing it through your cell phone provider.  

What Bills Help Build Credit?

The main types of bills that will help you build credit are credit accounts, such as credit cards (including a store credit card or secured card), personal loans (see our best credit builder loans), lines of credit, auto loans, mortgages, and student loans.  

Typically, other everyday bills won’t be reported to the credit reporting agencies. But there are a few ways you can use bills you pay to help build credit:

  • You can use a service such as Experian Boost to add payment history for certain types of bills to your credit reports. 
  • Renters can use a service such as the BoomPay app to get rent payments added to their credit history. (See our BoomPay review for more information about it.)
  • Payments on loans and credit cards (including secured credit cards) usually help build credit.

While the first option in that list has been frequently brought up throughout this article, it is important to briefly talk about the two other options presented. 

Taking out a loan should never be a light decision. You will pay interest on the loan. You should also make sure you can pay off your loan because missed payments on a loan can lead to a bad credit score, not to mention debt. 

If you want to go down the loan option route, check with your local credit union as they often offer low rates. 

Credit Builder Loans to Build Credit

Credit builder loans are also helpful for those looking to build their credit profile and add references to their credit report. With a credit builder loan, you do not receive any money upfront. Rather, it is kind of like borrowing a savings account. 

Your monthly payments get locked away into a savings account. At the end of the loan term, you’ll unlock the savings account so you can use those funds. Self and CreditStrong both offer great credit builder accounts.

Credit Cards to Build Credit

Credit cards are one of the best ways to build credit as long as you pay on time and keep your balances low. 

If you are having trouble qualifying for a new credit card, you may want to consider a secured credit card or a card that’s easier to get, such as the Grow Credit by Mastercard. 

Grow Credit by Mastercard is a credit card that doesn’t pull credit or require a credit score to qualify. If approved (which is super easy to do), you’ll get a Grow card you can use to pay only for recurring subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify, and more. 

Your payment history will be reported to the three major credit bureaus to help you build credit. It offers a basic free account, plus accounts with subscription fees. The top tier subscription includes cell phone bill payment. 

Remember to keep your credit card balances low if you want to build good credit. Credit scores take into account your “credit utilization”, which compares your balance to your credit limit. High utilization can hurt your credit scores. 

If you are using secured credit cards to build credit, make sure you don’t carry high balances or your strategy can backfire, even if you pay on time. Here’s the formula for calculating utilization:

Credit Utilization Ratio = Total Debt/Available Credit

The key takeaway here is that everyday bills will probably not help you build credit. 

If you want to build credit with the bills you already pay, you should look into services such as Experian Boost, the BoomPay app, or a Grow Credit Mastercard. As soon as you qualify, you might also consider getting an unsecured credit card. 

FAQs

Does Paying Medical Bills Build Credit?

No, paying medical bills won’t usually help you build credit unless you take out a loan to pay them, get a medical credit card or financing, or use a credit card to pay for your medical bills. 

The credit card company you use to get financing for medical expenses may be different from your usual issuer, so be sure to do your homework and shop around for the best rate and terms.

If your medical bills are not paid and are turned over to a collection agency, then they may show up on your credit reports and lower your credit scores. Medical bills reported as collection accounts are a common reason for a bad credit score. 

It is worth noting that effective July 1, 2022, paid medical bills won’t be included on credit reports and unpaid medical bills will not be reported to credit bureaus until they are one year overdue. 

This can give you time to talk to the hospital, doctor’s office, or collection agency and hopefully come up with a payment plan.  

Does Paying Internet Bills Build Credit?

Just like a cell phone bill probably won’t help you build credit, paying an internet bill won’t likely help either unless you use a service where you can have your internet bill payment reported to your credit history. 

Does Paying Electric Bills Build Credit?

Electric bills don’t normally appear on credit either. Even though you make your payments on time and have done so for years, chances are the utility company doesn’t report directly to credit bureaus. 

However, Experian Boost will allow you to add utility bill payments, such as electric bills, to your Experian credit report.

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