One of the most powerful assets you have is your credit history. Managing your debt load and a positive credit rating could save you thousands in future interest costs, and pave the way to easier credit approval. Your home purchase is probably your biggest investment. The way you make your mortgage payments is an opportunity to ramp up your credit score and further diversify your credit history, but your lender's reporting of your payment history could make or break your attempts at maintaining a healthy credit score.
Lenders Not Required To Report
In general, a lender is not required to report payments you make on your mortgage to any of the three credit bureaus. If the lender does report your payments, it must report them accurately and timely. The lender also must respond to any credit disputes. Small banks or credit unions may choose not to report to all three credit bureaus if maintaining accurate reporting and responding to disputes is cost prohibitive or beyond their resources. In general, if your mortgage is with a large bank or mortgage company, it will report your payment history monthly. Since lenders rely on accurate information to make loans and qualify borrowers, it's in their best interest to support and participate in voluntary reporting. Additionally, the lender can use the reporting as leverage to get you to make payments on time.
How Lenders Report To Bureaus
Each lender must have a paid subscription with each credit bureau it reports to. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion each have separate reporting systems. Since it's not mandatory, a lender may choose not to report to all three credit bureaus. Each month your mortgage payment, if reported, is reported as paid on time, or late if the lender receives it 30 days or more past the due date. In most cases, if your payment is made before the 30-day period, the lender will not report it as late, even if you're charged late fees.
Getting The Lender To Report
If you've pulled your credit report and your mortgage payments aren't listed, call the lender and request that it report your payments. Keep good records of all future mortgage payments, including canceled checks, mortgage statements and bank statements where the loan is paid from. AIf your goal is to rebuild your credit for future purchases and financing, consider moving your mortgage to a lender that will report your payment history, or finding additional ways to build your credit.
Minding Your P's & Qs -- Managing Your Credit History
You are entitled by law to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. This means you can monitor and compare your credit reports annually or request a report at least three times a year. Visit each credit bureau's website to request a report or visit the USA.gov site. Make note of any inaccurate information, and dispute it with either the credit bureau or the creditor listing the erroneous information.
- Bankrate: Do Lenders Have To Report To Credit Bureaus?
- Smart Credit: Are Lenders Required To Report To The Credit Bureaus?
- Debt.org: How Long Does It Take for Something to Reach Your Credit Report?
- USA Government Made Easy: Credit Bureaus and Credit Scoring
- USA.gov. "Credit Reports and Scores." Accessed June 18, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is a Credit Score?" Accessed June 18, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Check Your Credit Report at Least Once a Year." Accessed June 18, 2020.
- My FICO. "What's In Your Credit Report?" Accessed June 18, 2020.
- TransUnion. "Do You Know That There Are Three Credit Reporting Agencies?" Accessed June 18, 2020.
- TransUnion. "How Long Does it Take for a Credit Report to Update?" Accessed June 18, 2020.
- TransUnion. Public Records. Accessed June 18, 2020.
- Experian. "Can Utility Bills Appear on Your Credit Report?" Accessed June 18, 2020.
- Experian. "Can Medical Bills Hurt Your Credit?" Accessed June 25, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Credit Reports Now Free, Every Week." Accessed June 25, 2020.
Monica Dillon has more than 10 years experience in real estate sales, marketing, investing and appraising. She specializes in energy efficiency building practices and renewable energy. Dillon has been syndicated by the National Newspaper Publisher's Association. Her work has also appeared in the "Journal Of Progressive Human Services."