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Having your cell phone payments appear on your credit history can help you build credit. But unfortunately, no cell phone companies report your account information to the credit bureaus.
So instead, you’ll need to use a third-party company specializing in reporting utility bills.
Do Cell Phone Companies Report to Credit Agencies?
Cell phone companies do not report your payments to the credit bureaus.
A cell phone company would need to adhere to strict guidelines and pay a fee to report to the credit bureaus. Smaller companies, like Consumer Cellular or Mint Mobile, don’t have the resources, and larger providers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, don’t want to waste time or money.
Even though cell phone companies don’t report to the major credit bureaus, they may still check your credit when you inquire about opening an account. Usually, this is in the form of a soft pull credit check although they can perform a hard inquiry.
The cell phone companies pull your credit to estimate your likelihood of paying your bill on time each month. Having bad credit will hurt you.
Many cell phone companies’ best plans include free or ‘leased’ devices. However, since the average smartphone costs $553, the mobile carrier has a lot on the line. As a result, they can deny you their best promos if your credit score is insufficient.
Cell phone companies have even been known to check your credit at renewal and deny customers new contracts if they don’t like their credit scores.
What About Late Payments?
If you have one or two late payments owed to your mobile provider, this won’t affect your credit. But, again, in order to report to the credit bureaus, the cell phone provider would need to meet fair credit reporting laws and pay a fee.
That is time and money they simply don’t want to spend.
Instead, they may charge you a late fee or penalize you in other ways to ensure future on-time payments.
While the cell phone company won’t report to the credit bureaus, late payments will get turned over to collections if your account becomes delinquent enough.
Many of the larger cell phone companies have their own collections department that will reach out first to attempt to collect payment. If their inquiries go unresolved, they can then opt to sell the debt to a collection agency.
It is this third-party collection agency that reports your delinquent account to the credit bureaus.
A collection account can have a significant impact on your credit score. And if it remains unpaid, it will continue to harm your credit score for up to seven years and could result in you being sued.
How Can I Report My Cell Phone Payments?
Yes! There are third-party services that you can use to have your phone bill information reported.
These companies will report an open account tradeline to the credit bureaus. And each month, they will update that tradeline with your payment history.
Below, we’ll look at Digital Honey’s cell phone reporting services recommendations and explore some additional credit-building options.
When you have bad credit or no credit, qualifying for a credit card can be difficult, if not impossible. But having revolving debt is key to achieving a good credit score.
So how can you get around this scenario?
Perhaps Grow Credit can help.
Grow Credit offers a service for reporting your monthly subscriptions and cell phone payments to the credit bureaus. But instead of reporting them as individual tradelines, Grow Credit actually issues you a virtual credit card that you can pay these accounts with.
This virtual credit card comes with its own credit limit and there are no interest charges to worry about.
To qualify for reporting cell phone payments, you’ll need to select the Accelerate Membership plan. This plan comes with a monthly spending limit of $150 and has a discounted $7.99/month fee.
The average Grow Credit user who kept their service for 12 months saw a 51-point FICO score increase!
GrowCredit will check your credit, but they do not perform hard inquiries.
Do you want to improve your credit score for free?
If so, perhaps it’s time to see what Experian BOOST™ can do for you.
Boost is a tool offered by the Experian credit reporting agency. The tool is designed to give users a slight increase in their Experian credit score.
Boost accomplishes this credit score improvement by adding recurring payments like your phone bill, utilities, and streaming services they find on your linked bank accounts to your Experian credit file.
Each set of recurring payments will be added as a tradeline to your credit report. The impact these tradelines will have on your credit score will depend on your existing credit profile.
The average customer using Experian BOOST™ sees a 13-point increase in their score. But those with a thin profile see a higher 19-point increase in their credit score.
The Boost tool has added benefits, including a free credit score and credit monitoring services.
Experian BOOST™ and Grow Credit are the best solutions for reporting your cell phone bill payments to the credit bureaus. Still, they are not the only options for third party reporting.
Here are some additional credit-building options:
LevelCredit: reports rent, cell phone, and utility payments to the credit bureaus. They charge a $6.95/month fee plus a one-time $49.95 fee for reporting past payment history. They report utility and cell phone payments to TransUnion.
SimpleBills: reports utility payments to credit bureaus for a small $4.95/month fee. This service is a good option if your rental company already uses them for billing. Otherwise, you’ll want to avoid the extra costs associated with this service. They report payments to Equifax.
eCredable Lift: report utility payment history to the credit bureaus for a small fee of $24.95/year. The mobile companies they currently support include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro, and Xfinity. Payments are reported to TransUnion.
BoomPay: you can also build credit by reporting rent payments. We recommend using BoomPay for rent reporting. For a small monthly fee of $2/month, your rent payments will be reported to all three credit bureaus. For more information, check out our BoomPay review.
CreditStrong: another great way to build credit is to open a credit builder loan. This adds an installment loan tradeline to your credit reports. We recommend CreditStrong for this service. If you want to look at other options, check out our best credit builder loans list.
Having your cell phone bills reported to the credit bureaus can improve your credit score.
Using Experian BOOST™ will help you build credit, but it will only improve your Experian credit history. Not all lenders pull Experian when they run a credit inquiry.
On the other hand, using Grow Credit will have a bigger impact. Since the Grow Credit plan is a credit card, the account will also impact your credit utilization.
A credit card company usually sets a credit limit and it is up to you on how much you spend. But Grow Credit limits your monthly spending, which keeps your utilization low. The lower your credit utilization, the better you’ll look to lenders.
Whether you choose Experian BOOST™, Grow Credit, or another option, reporting your cell phone payments are better for your credit than not reporting them.
- Grow Credit Review
- How to Add Utility Bills to Your Credit Report
- How To Get a Free Tradeline
- Does Paying Utilities Build Credit?
- 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.