When it comes to shopping for a big purchase, in order to be a savvy buyer, you almost need to become an expert on what you are shopping for. It is important to be able to see through possibly deceptive marketing, get the best deal, and make the choice that’s right for you.
You wouldn’t buy a car without researching the make and model to make sure it is a good fit for your needs as well researching the reputation of the dealership so you can feel confident in the integrity of the salespeople. The same principle goes for buying tradelines.
In choosing the best tradeline company to buy tradelines from, learning the ins and outs of the tradeline industry will help you make the best decision. Here are some tips on what to look for and what to watch out for in a tradeline company.
One of the things you can read into about a tradeline company is how many banks they use. The reason for this is that most banks don’t actually report authorized user data very well, and some don’t even report AU data at all. So when a tradeline company is selling tradelines from a ton of different banks, at least one of the following two options is true:
Since the address is one of the main data points used to validate consumer information, AU tradelines from some banks will only report if the AUs and the primary cardholder share the same address.
Address merging is when the AU claims that they live at the same address as the primary cardholder, even though they don’t. Most tradeline companies use this tactic to get their tradelines to post.
The problem is that address merging is essentially lying about your address for financial purposes. Using a false address for economic gain or any other benefit is called address fraud and tradeline companies may not even be aware that they are involving you in a form of fraud.
It is important to note that even though a company is advising you to do this, or maybe they even do this for you, it can still land you in hot water either way.
Be sure to ask about the company’s guarantee when it comes to the utilization ratio of the tradelines. Some companies go as high as 30% utilization, which definitely has the potential to negatively affect credit.
It’s ideal if the company guarantees that the utilization will always stay at 15% or lower, because getting your utilization as low as possible is going to allow you to get the maximum benefit from tradelines.
When evaluating a tradeline company, check to see how long they allow AUs to stay on their tradelines.
Some companies only keep AUs on their tradelines for 30 days, a single reporting cycle. This is problematic because it’s not much time for you to accomplish your goals and it increases the risk of the cards being closed by the banks for excessive AU activity.
Generally, it’s best if you can stay on the tradeline for at least two billing cycles, about 60 days. This should give you enough time to accomplish your goals. If you think you might need more time, ask whether the company offers extensions.
If the company’s standard is just one month, keep in mind that you have to double the price if you want to stay on the tradeline for two reporting cycles.
The amount of time it takes for tradelines to post varies widely within the industry. Some companies say that it could take as long as 60 days for your tradelines to report. This is a sign that the company does not have efficient systems in place and may not be very good at what they do.
On the other hand, the best tradeline companies should be able to get tradelines to post within a few weeks, if not sooner than that, depending on the tradeline. We can often get a tradeline to post in as little as 7-11 days, but our average is around two weeks.
If you want to be able to choose the best tradelines, the tradeline company needs to have a sizeable inventory with a wide range of tradelines in rotation so that there are always tradelines available that can meet your needs. If their inventory is sparse, your choices will be limited.
It is extremely important that your tradeline company takes extensive measures to verify the identities of their customers.
Why? It is essential in preventing fraudulent activity and staying on the right side of the law.
The company should be asking for copies of your government-issued ID as well as your Social Security number and running them through a multi-factor identity verification database or verifying them directly with the Social Security Administration. If they do not collect this documentation, this is a big red flag as to their professionalism, safety, and compliance with federal regulations.
Many tradeline companies don’t just provide tradelines but also a range of services, such as personal and business funding and credit sweeps. Companies who offer additional services increase the liability of their business, especially with questionable tactics such as aggressive credit sweeps.
On the other hand, companies who specialize in one thing tend to be the best because they are experts at it and they have honed and perfected their business model.
One thing you should definitely watch out for is whether the tradeline company works with CPNs, also known as credit profile numbers or credit privacy numbers.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, but to sum it all up, scammers are selling CPNs as a number with a “clean” credit history that you can use instead of your SSN when applying for credit.
However, as we have discussed in our article on CPNs, the federal government has confirmed that CPNs are not legitimate or legal to use. According to the FTC, “It is a federal crime to lie on a credit or loan application [and] misrepresent your Social Security number…”
Using a CPN in place of your SSN is lying about your SSN, which constitutes fraud.
In addition, many so-called CPNs are actually real SSNs that have been stolen from children, the elderly, the deceased, homeless people, or those who are incarcerated, which would also implicate users of CPNs in identity theft.
Keep an eye out for tradeline companies that are associated with multiple brands. Some tradeline companies claim that they don’t work with CPNs, for example, but other brands under the same umbrella do sell tradelines for CPNs.
This goes to show that while a company might market themselves as playing by the rules, they may actually be willing to participate in fraud and involve customers in their questionable activities.
A quality tradeline company will offer a money-back guarantee if your tradelines do not post. If they don’t offer a money-back guarantee or make it clear what the terms of your arrangement are, you could be at risk of wasting your money on tradelines that don’t post.
The quality of the website can tell you a lot about a company. Is it user-friendly? Does it look professional and function smoothly? Is it free of errors and typos? Are the graphics high-quality?
Does the website have a live list of tradelines that is updated in real time? Can you view prices and purchase tradelines directly on the site? Is the entire process innovative and automated to make it as easy as possible for the customer?
All of these qualities can speak to the company’s level of professionalism and the sophistication of their system.
Even if you are not the type of person who typically prefers to call a company before doing business with them, in the case of buying tradelines, it can be a helpful tool.
That’s because you can get a strong feeling for their overall customer service based on how they treat you over the phone. A phone call will give you insight as to whether the employees are knowledgeable and whether they are pushy salespeople or have your best interests at heart.
Does the tradeline company offer free educational resources to help inform and empower consumers? Or do they try to keep consumers in the dark about how tradelines work, forcing people to call the company for a sales pitch disguised as a “consultation?”
The best customer service starts with being so clear and transparent that the consumer doesn’t need customer service to begin with. This means providing the education they need to be able to make their own decisions without having to talk to a salesperson.
It’s important to check the reviews for tradeline companies just like you would for any other product or service you plan to buy. Don’t only watch out for bad reviews, but also assess the credibility of any company that has a suspicious number of perfect reviews.
The tradeline industry is a niche market, and it is rare for a tradeline company to have tons of reviews in the first place. So if a company has hundreds of 5-star reviews, it would make sense to wonder if the company is giving themselves fake positive reviews to outweigh the negative reviews they’ve gotten from real customers.
We’ve also seen companies write fake negative reviews for their competitors to try to damage their reputation. If you see some negative reviews that seem to be outliers, check to see if they are actually relevant to the company, or if they have just been copied and pasted by a company trying to sabotage their competitors.
You can read into the way a tradeline company sells their services. If they try to sell you a fantasy of what life will be like after you buy their tradelines, they might be being deceptive.
Unfortunately, the reality is that no tradeline company can guarantee you that you will be able to get your dream house or dream car or get a certain amount of funding as a result of using tradelines.
First of all, most people’s credit files are complex, and the power of tradelines is always going to be relative to what’s already in your credit file.
Secondly, the credit bureaus’ credit scoring algorithms are closely guarded secrets. Although they might be able to estimate generally, no one can say for sure exactly how your credit score might change after adding tradelines because they don’t have access to the specifics of the credit score algorithms.
In addition, when it comes to getting a loan, that decision is entirely up to the underwriter, not the tradeline company. Underwriters don’t base their decisions solely on credit scores. They also rely on a number of other important factors, such as income and debt-to-income ratio.
For these reasons, if a tradeline company’s promises seem too good to be true, they probably are. It’s best to be skeptical of these claims.
The best tradeline company will be honest and upfront with you about what you can expect from tradelines.
Another indication of the ethics of a tradeline company can be found in their mission statement. Examine their website to see what the company is all about and if they have a higher purpose than just selling tradelines and making money.
Shopping for tradelines can be intimidating. It’s hard to know who you can trust with your business.
As with any important purchase, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before buying tradelines. Before buying tradelines, investigate each company’s ethics, safety and compliance, customer service, and the quality and value of their tradelines.
We hope that this guide can help you in choosing the best tradeline company to buy tradelines from.
For more educational resources on tradelines, visit our blog.