In addition to disputing incorrect or incomplete information and adding explanations for negative information the credit reporting agency will not remove, you may want to ask the credit reporting agency to add information to your report that makes you look more creditworthy. This information usually includes:
- information demonstrating your stability, and
- positive account histories that are missing from your report.
(To learn more about credit reports, disputing inaccurate information, and building good credit, see our Cleaning Up Your Credit Report topic area.)
Does the Credit Reporting Agency Have to Add the Information?
The credit reporting agency (CRA) does not have to add information, unless it is needed to correct something in your file or something in your file is incomplete.
Sometimes the line between something being incomplete, or missing entirely, is a bit grey. You may want to ask the creditor to add some of the items listed below at the same time you send a letter disputing incorrect or incomplete items. (To learn how to dispute incorrect items, see How to Correct Errors on Your Credit Report.) Or, if you did not write a dispute letter, you can send a letter just asking for the addition of the missing information.
Adding Information Showing Stability
Creditors like to see evidence of stability in your file. If any of the items listed below are missing from your file, consider sending a letter to the credit reporting agencies asking that the information be added. You can use Nolo’s Letter to Request Addition of Information Showing Stability.
Enclose any documentation that verifies information you’re providing, such as copies (never originals) of your driver’s license, a canceled check, a bill addressed to you, or a pay stub showing your employer’s name and address. Remember to keep photocopies of all correspondence.
Types of Information That Show Stability
Information you may want to add include:
Your current employment, including your current employer’s name and address and your job title. You may wisely decide not to add this if you think a creditor may sue you or a creditor has a judgment against you. Current employment information may be a green light for a wage garnishment.
Your previous employment, especially if you’ve had your current job fewer than two years. Include your former employer’s name and address and your job title.
Your current residence, and, if you own it, say so. Again, don’t do this if you’ve been sued or you think a creditor may sue you. Real estate is an excellent collection source.
Your previous residence, especially if you’ve lived at your current address fewer than two years.
Your telephone number, especially if it’s unlisted. If you haven’t yet given the credit reporting agencies your phone number, consider doing so now. A creditor that cannot verify a telephone number may be reluctant to grant credit. On the other hand, once it is in your credit report, any debt collector who wants to collect from you will be able to reach you. If you are not yet ready to deal with debt collectors, you may not want to add a telephone number. (To learn more about debt collectors, see the articles in our Debt Collection Agencies area.)
Your date of birth. A creditor will probably not grant you credit if it does not know your age. However, creditors also cannot discriminate against you based on your age.)
Your Social Security number.
What’s the Likelihood that the CRA Will Add Stability Information?
Credit reporting agencies are most likely to add information about jobs and residences, as that information is used by creditors in evaluating applications for credit. They will also add your telephone number, date of birth, and Social Security number because those items help identify you and lessen the chances of “mixed” credit files -- that is, getting other people’s credit histories in your file.
Adding Positive Account Histories
Often, credit reports don’t include accounts that you might expect to find. There are a few reasons why this happens.
Creditors Send Information to Only One CRA
Some creditors will send account information to one, but not all three, nationwide credit reporting agencies.
If one report has credit information missing from others, send a copy of the more complete report to the other credit reporting agencies with a cover letter asking that the missing information be included in your file. Do the same if you’ve worked hard to clean up one report, and now want the others to reflect accurate information as well.
The Creditor Doesn’t Report to CRAs
Your report may also be missing accounts because your local banks or credit union might not provide information to credit reporting agencies. If this is your situation, try the following:
Ask the CRA to Add the Information
Send a copy of a recent account statement and copies of canceled checks (never originals) showing your payment history and ask the credit reporting agencies to add the information to your file. The nationwide credit reporting agencies themselves do not indicate whether they will add accounts to your report if you (not the creditor) report them, or whether they will charge you to do so. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
Ask the Creditor to Report the Information
Another possibility is to ask the creditor directly to report your account information to the credit reporting agency. It’s not clear how successful this approach may be. Creditors and the credit reporting agencies generally have contracts that govern their relationship. If a creditor is not already regularly providing information to the credit reporting agencies, it may not want to spend the resources necessary to do so just for your account. But again, it’s worth a try.
Use an Alternative CRA
A third possibility is to add information to your credit file in an alternative-type credit reporting agency. PRBC (Payment Reporting Builds Credit) credit reporting agency, for example, tracks payments that are not usually included in a standard credit report. It is designed to provide a history for those who have little or no credit history, or those who have had debt problems, but are now paying on time. It tracks payments that might not show up in most credit reports, like rent, utilities, or other regular bills. But keep in mind that Experian already includes rental payments provided by landlords in its credit files and one of the FICO scores available to creditors also includes rental payments. You can see a sample of PRBC credit reports and get its contact number at www.prbc.com. Its website, however, lacks the kind of consumer information you see on the websites for the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You will have to pay to have accounts added.
Before you jump into this option, find out the costs and whether the creditors where you are seeking credit will agree to use a credit report from this company.
Read more articles and Q&As on Repairing and Rebuilding Your Credit.
This is an excerpt from Credit Repair, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard (Nolo).