Tradelines: Why Accounts or Debts Can Appear Several Times on Credit Reports

Learn what a tradeline is and what is means for your credit report.

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On your credit report, a single account or debt may appear more than once. This happens because the credit reporting agencies report separate “tradelines” for each debt or account. Read on to learn what this means.

What Is a Tradeline on a Credit Report?

Credit reporting agencies (the three biggest ones are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) report information on each of your accounts separately for each creditor that holds or has held that account. Creditors refer to each separate reporting of the account as a “tradeline.”

How Do You Get Different Tradelines for One Debt or Account?

If an account is transferred to a different creditor, that new creditor’s information is reported in a new tradeline. So, you may have more than one tradeline that deals with the same debt.

For example, if your mortgage is transferred to a different creditor or if a past due bill is sold to a bill collector, a separate tradeline will be established to show the information about the account after its transfer. Similarly, if you report your credit card lost or stolen and the creditor closes that account and sends you a new credit card with a new account number, your credit report will likely report the old credit card number and the new number as separate accounts or tradelines.

Learn more about what can appear on your credit report.

Parts of this article were excerpted from Credit Repair, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard (Nolo).

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