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What are Credit Tradelines?

Published June 21, 2024
4 min read

Key points about: credit tradelines

  1. A credit tradeline is a listing on your credit report that contains information about one of your credit accounts. Each credit account has a tradeline.

  2. Types of tradelines include installment loans, revolving accounts, and open accounts.

  3. Each tradeline contains detailed information, like your payment history, account activity, original credit limit, and more.

If you view your credit report, you’ll see rows of information about your credit cards, loans, and other accounts. Credit professionals call those sections your tradelines (sometimes written as “trade lines”). Your tradelines play a vital role in determining your credit score, so understanding how they work could help you improve your credit.

Definition of credit tradeline

A credit tradeline is a listing on your credit report with information about one of your credit accounts. Each of your credit accounts should have its own tradeline on your credit report. The data from your tradelines helps scoring agencies calculate your credit score.

Types of tradelines

When you open a credit account or take out a loan, a new tradeline appears on your credit report. Those tradelines fall into three major categories:

  • Installment loans: This category includes personal loans, student loans, and mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains that installment loans are closed-end. That means you and your lender agree to a set loan amount, which you receive all at once. Then you repay the loan in fixed amounts over a set period.
  • Revolving accounts: This category includes lines of credit and credit cards. Revolving credit accounts allow you to borrow up to a fixed limit, according to the Federal Reserve. As long as your debt doesn’t exceed your credit limit, you can continue borrowing as needed. You can repay your entire balance at the end of a lending period or pay the total back over time.
  • Open accounts: This category may include charge cards and some business credit cards. Open accounts don’t include set credit limits. Instead, you have to repay whatever you’ve borrowed in full at the end of each billing cycle. Open accounts are more common for business credit.

Information in a credit report tradeline

Tradelines provide a quick summary of your account history. Each creditor may report slightly different information across credit reporting agencies, so you might notice variations across tradelines. However, according to the CFPB, account information usually includes at least some of the following stats:

  • The lender’s name and contact information.
  • Your account number, typically hidden or redacted in some way to protect your privacy.
  • Your original loan amount, when applicable.
  • Your original credit limit, when applicable.
  • The current balance, including interest.
  • Payment history, including missed payments.
  • Current payment status, especially delinquency.
  • Date of most recent account activity.
  • Date you opened the account.
  • Date you closed the account, when applicable.
  • Whether you own the account or are just authorized to use it.
  • Minimum required monthly payment.
  • Your account type—installment, revolving, or open.

How credit tradelines affect credit scores

Credit scoring agencies use some information from your tradelines to calculate your credit score. The factors that determine your credit score include: 

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Amounts owed (30%)
  • Length of credit history (15%)
  • New credit (10%)
  • Credit Mix (10%)

Some credit cards may not require a credit score to apply, like secured credit cards or some student cards. If approved, you could build credit history with responsible use of these cards and even earn rewards. 

A mix of various types of credit shows that you can manage different debts. How long you’ve had your tradelines also makes a difference. Seasoned tradelines, or tradelines that have persisted in good standing for over two years, may boost your credit score. 

Did you know?

With Discover, you can get a free Credit Scorecard with your updated FICO® Score every month and important information like credit utilization, number of missed payments, number of recent inquiries, length of credit history, and total number of accounts.1

How long do credit tradelines stay on your credit report?

As long as an account is open and accurate, its tradeline remains on your credit report. That means significant loans, like mortgages, may show up for decades.

After you close accounts, tradelines may stay on your credit report for different lengths of time:

  • Authorized user tradelines typically fall from your credit report within months.
  • Tradelines in good standing often stay on your report for 10 years. This could help your credit score by boosting the length of your credit history and your positive payment history.
  • Tradelines with negative information, like accounts in collections, may remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years. Their influence on your score typically starts going down after two years, however.

Credit tradelines represent your credit accounts on your credit report. They contain detailed information about each account, including factors that influence your credit score, like payment history. A mix of well-managed tradelines could contribute to a good credit score. You should check your credit report regularly to identify any errors, especially because your tradelines may affect your credit for up to 10 years after your accounts close.

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  1. FICO® Credit Score Terms: Your FICO® Credit Score, key factors and other credit information are based on data from TransUnion® and may be different from other credit scores and other credit information provided by different bureaus. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary account holders who have an available score. See Discover.com/FICO about the availability of your score. Your score, key factors and other credit information are available on Discover.com and cardmembers are also provided a score on statements. Customers will see up to a year of recent scores online. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as FICO® Credit Scores, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

  2. There is no hard inquiry to your credit report to check if you’re pre-approved. If you’re pre-approved, and you move forward with submitting an application for the credit card, it will result in a hard inquiry which may impact your credit score. Receiving a pre-approval offer does not guarantee approval. Applicants applying without a social security number are not eligible to receive pre-approval offers. Card applicants cannot be pre-approved for the NHL Discover Card.

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