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Dear Consumer Ed:
I've been making a car payment for the last two and half years, and I have discovered that my finance company only reports to Equifax and not to the other two credit reporting agencies. My Equifax score went up from poor to fair, but unfortunately my TransUnion and Experian scores have not improved. I called TransUnion, but they told me that only the finance company itself can report my car payments. I was wondering if there is a way to let the other two credit bureaus know about my $400 payments.
Consumer Ed says:
First of all, way to stay on top of your payments! Your responsibility is being reflected in your Equifax score. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to report your good credit and behavior to the other two credit reporting agencies—TransUnion is correct that only your finance company can do so. Creditors get to decide who they report to, and aren’t required to report to all three credit bureaus (in fact, some don’t report to any credit reporting agencies at all).
You can try to talk with TransUnion and Experian, but, in all likelihood, they won’t agree to accommodate you. Your best option is to talk with your finance company instead. If you’ve been dealing with someone in particular, talk to him/her and ask for someone high in management. When you reach that person, explain your issue, emphasizing how you’ve been a good customer by consistently making your payments (the longer you’ve been doing this, the better). You should then ask them to add your account to the two other credit reporting agencies. Your bargaining chips are that you have been a good borrower, and you have an income that shows your capacity to pay future loans—that’s what lenders want.
If your finance company agrees to your request, all three of your scores will soon be more similar, but remember there may still be some variances, since the credit bureaus calculate scores differently. Creditors may also report your information to the various agencies at different times. Should your finance company refuse your request at first, keep making your payments on time, and they may be willing to reconsider a few more months down the road.
You should still order a free credit report every year at www.annualcreditreport.com and check for errors.
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