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Did you know that the most common bills you pay every month do nothing to help you build credit? For example, monthly payments made to your landlord or electricity provider do not typically appear on your credit file.
Only credit card payments and loan payments get sent to the major credit bureaus (by the loan originator or credit card issuer).
But these other monthly bills can have an impact on your credit scores. You just have to take a few extra steps to get these bills added to your credit history.
Can I Report Utility Bills to Credit Bureaus?
Utility bill payments can be added to your credit reports, but they are not put there automatically.
Reporting to the credit bureaus requires following stringent guidelines and paying a fee. Because of this, most utility providers choose not to report to the credit bureaus.
You can try contacting your utility providers to see if you can reach an agreement with them to report your payments to the credit reporting agencies. However, this usually involves you paying the reporting fee. And most utility companies will probably tell you no.
The better and easier option is to use a third-party reporting service. These services will usually charge you a small fee to report a variety of utility payments. This can include electricity bills, cell phone bills, and subscription services.
You cannot contact the credit bureaus directly to have your utilities reported. Each credit reporting agency has strict laws governing what information can be included on a credit report and who can add to it.
As a consumer, you cannot add items to the credit bureaus directly; you can only dispute and remove inaccurate or fraudulent information from your credit reports.
How Do I Self-Report Utilities to Credit Bureaus?
Aside from working out a deal with your utility company to report your payments to the credit bureaus, the only other way you can “self-report” is to hire a third-party utility reporting service.
The companies below can report payment history for various utilities, often for a small monthly fee.
Here at Digital Honey, we recommend two services: Grow Credit and Experian Boost. Below, we will look at each service’s features and provide you with some additional credit-building alternatives.
Grow Credit is a service that allows you to build credit using your subscriptions and cell phone services. They also report internet service and insurance bills from some companies.
But instead of reporting individual utilities, Grow Credit operates like a revolving tradeline.
When you sign up for one of Grow Credit’s plans, you are actually applying for a Mastercard. When you apply, there is no hard inquiry.
Most of Grow Credit’s plans are unsecured lines of credit, but they do offer one secured credit card to help out those that do not qualify for their other plans.
Each of the paid Grow Credit plans comes with a different credit limit and fee. For example, the Build Secured plan comes with a $17 monthly spending limit at $1.99 a month, while the Accelerate Membership plan comes with a $150 monthly spending limit at just $7.99 a month.
You can only use the Grow Credit Mastercard to pay for subscription services. But each month that you do, Grow Credit will send your payment history, credit limit, and balance to all three credit bureaus.
This can help you build your payment history, lower your credit utilization ratio, improve your credit mix, and increase your length of credit history over time. Grow Credit reports this information to all three credit bureaus.
For a complete list of the subscription services that Grow Credit supports (and even offers discounts on), see their Subscriptions page. They report payments from many commonly used companies including Netflix, Verizon, DirecTV, Spotify, Comcast Xfinity, and more.
Grow Credit is our favorite tool for building credit with your regular bills because they report to all three credit bureaus and they report it as a Mastercard revolving credit account. Grow Credit users typically see a whopping 51-point FICO score increase after using the service for 12 months.
This is much better for your credit than what competitor services offer. As we’ll outline below, competitor services typically report payments as utility tradelines to only one or two credit bureaus.
If you want to try building your credit for free, then Experian Boost is worth checking out.
Using the Boost tool, you can have a variety of utility providers and subscription services added to your Experian credit report.
First, you’ll need to create an Experian account. This account is 100% free and offers you access to credit monitoring services as well as your free Experian FICO credit score.
Once you’ve signed up with Experian, you can use their Boost tool. This service will comb through your bank accounts and search for recurring payments. These recurring payments can then be added as utility payments to your Experian credit report.
You can handpick the utilities you do and do not want to report. And no late payments will ever be reported by Boost; only positive payment history is reported.
Credit score improvement will be shown immediately.
If you are ever unhappy with the service, you can have all of your utilities completely removed from your Experian credit report.
And if you need any other encouragement, Experian offers a real-time results tool on their homepage that shows how much they’ve been able to improve users’ scores that prove their service is more than worth it at zero cost to you.
On average, Experian Boost users see a 19-point FICO score increase. While it’s not as powerful as Grow Credit, Experian Boost is free, quick, and easy. A 19-point boost from a risk-free, five-minute sign-up process isn’t bad!
We reviewed other services that report utility bill payment payments. They’re not as good as the ones above, but they’re worth mentioning so that you can understand the services that are out there.
LevelCredit: offered by Self Financial, this company offers rent reporting and utility reporting. They charge $6.95/month for ongoing reporting and a $49.95 one-time fee for past payment history reporting (up to two years). Utility payments only report to TransUnion. Rent gets reported to both Equifax and TransUnion.
SimpleBills: offers utility management services to residents and landlords. As a resident, you can get one monthly bill for all of your utilities, and you can enroll in their credit reporting service. This service costs $2.99 a month and will report your utility payments to Equifax.
eCredable Lift: is a utility reporting service that also offers credit monitoring services. For $24.95 a year, you can have up to eight different utilities reported to TransUnion.
If you are making rental payments each month, you could look at using a rent reporting service. Check out our BoomPay review. BoomPay is the only rent reporting service that we found that reports to all three credit bureaus, for only $3 per month.
Or, if you already have a few credit cards and utility payments appearing on your credit reports, you can try opening a credit builder loan. Check out our best credit builder loans list for more information on this type of credit account.
What Bills Can I Add to My Credit Report?
There are a variety of bills that you can have reported to the credit bureaus. But most bills fall under specific categories:
- Rent: rent payments at apartments, townhomes, homes, from friends/relatives, etc.
- Communications: cell phone, internet, landline
- Utilities: electricity, gas, water, sewage, trash
- Entertainment: cable, satellite, streaming services
- Subscription services: any subscription-based service, including meal deliveries, streaming services, pet product deliveries, and more
All of these bills are ones that you can have added to your credit reports via a reporting service. Just be aware that some services specialize in only one or two of these categories.
There are a few types of bills that cannot be reported to the credit bureaus. For instance:
- Grocery bills (unless you use a subscription service)
- Automotive bills
- Insurance premiums (although Grow Credit will report them if you use Geico)
The only way to build credit with these types of bills is to prevent them from going delinquent (which will damage your credit score). Or you can pay (some of) these bills with a credit card to build credit using revolving debt.
It is unfortunate that utility payments are not automatically added to your credit reports. These bills have a real ability to impact your credit scores positively.
Using Experian Boost is a great way to add your utility bills to your credit history. And suppose you also use the credit card by Grow Credit to pay for some of these utilities and subscriptions.
In that case, you can improve your credit scores twice as fast without opening new lines of credit.
And don’t forget that credit monitoring is an essential part of building good credit. If you struggle with keeping on top of the changes to your credit scores, you can also consider credit counseling services.
- Does Paying Utilities Build Credit?
- What Cell Phone Companies Report to Credit Bureaus?
- Grow Credit Review
- How To Get a Free Tradeline
- Does a Cell Phone Bill Build Credit?
- Is Experian Boost Worth It?
Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.