When it comes to your score, credit cards aren't always reported
One young adult dutifully used and paid-off her credit card for close to a decade, only to find out that her payments weren't being reported.
Erin Lowry, the writer of financial blog Broke Millennial, related the story of when she found out she had a thin credit file, on her website. She wrote that she has spent the past seven years warding off debt as best as she could. Because of this, she avoided transactions that would incur too much debt and paid off her credit card on time. Lowry got her card in the first place because her father warned her it would be a good idea in order to establish some credit history.
Several times a month, she explained, she would charge the card, and then pay it off in order to build a respectable credit history. And when Lowry moved to New York City shortly after her college graduation, her credit report was substantial enough to prove her fiscal responsibility to her landlord, and thus she got her apartment. However, after that, Lowry stopped thinking about her credit score for the next three years.
Recently, Lowry decided to check up on her credit score, to see what it looked like. And when she did, she was surprised at what she found. She had a thin credit file. Despite the fact that she had been using and paying off her credit card for seven years, there wasn't enough information for her to have a credit score.
After some research, Lowry found out that her credit file had been thin because her credit card transactions weren't being reported, and subsequently counted as part of her credit history. Despite all of her diligence in paying off her credit card on time and avoiding falling into debt, she wouldn't be financially responsible enough to pay off a loan in the eyes of many. The fiscally airtight Lowry probably wouldn't be able to purchase a home if she wanted.
"It just about sends me into a blind rage that I may be declined for a loan or given a jacked up interest rate because I've been fiscally responsible and been given the opportunities to avoid debt," she wrote.
Building a credit score without debt or a credit card
Lowry had been doing better than most too. The majority of people her age don't even have a credit card, Bankrate found. More than 60 percent of people age 19 to 29 told the financial services company that they did not have a credit card. This is much more than most adults over 30, 35 percent of whom do not have a card.
Part of the reason for this is avoiding debt, while another factor could be the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which makes it more difficult for young adults to acquire a credit card, The New York Times explained. The law was designed to make it more difficult for individuals under 21 to get a card by placing restrictions on the marketing of credit cards to college students. More than 60 percent of college students fear falling into credit card debt.
However, after moving to New York, Lowry could have bolstered her credit file without the use of her credit card by utilizing PRBC. With this alternative credit score, rent payments mean something, which means each month she paid to live in her apartment, she would have been building her credit score. College students or recent graduates who fear they may soon find themselves in a situation similar to Lowry should look into alternative credit scores in order to ensure their fiscal responsibility is recognized.