A:

The bad news for consumers is that, typically, utility bills only appear on a credit report when they're delinquent. In most states, providers aren't obligated to regularly report payment histories to the major credit bureaus – in fact, there are significant disincentives for doing so. In addition to being expensive, reporting to credit agencies makes the utility company subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Most don't bother with the potential legal fallout.
However, if you're significantly behind, a gas, electric or phone provider may send your account to a collection agency that could – and likely will – forward the information to one or more bureaus.



Of course, paying your bills on time will help your credit, insofar as the absence of "negative" items improves your score. But if you're looking to build credit, simply paying your gas, electric or phone bill on time usually won't do the trick. A more effective approach is to obtain a secured or unsecured credit card and use it responsibly. It's still a good idea to ask upfront whether the lender reports to all three credit bureaus – they usually do.



RELATED FAQS
  1. Why would someone change their Social Security number?

    In general, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, does not encourage citizens to change their Social Security numbers, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What types of liens are seen as good and which are bad for my credit?

    Creditors that allow purchases to be made through financing often require property to be pledged against a credit account; ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the typical requirements to qualify for closed end credit?

    Typical requirements for a consumer to qualify for closed-end credit include satisfactory income level and credit history, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the best way to start to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy?

    Bankruptcies can be devastating to your credit score. Even worse, a bankruptcy will be listed on your credit report for between ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the differences between delinquency and default?

    Delinquency and default are loan terms that describe failure to make a required payment. A loan in delinquency occurs the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the differences between Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    There are a number of differences between Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including eligibility, cost and amount of ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    Refinance Vs. Debt Restructuring: What's Best For Your Credit Score?

    Discover key differences between refinancing and restructuring debt in regard to terms, the negotiation process and effect on credit scores.
  2. Credit & Loans

    Guidelines for FHA Reverse Mortgages

    FHA guidelines protect borrowers from major mistakes, prevent lenders from taking advantage of borrowers and encourage lenders to offer reverse mortgages.
  3. Credit & Loans

    Can Corporate Credit Cards Affect Your Credit?

    Corporate cards have a hidden downside. If the company fails to pay its bills, you could be liable for the amount and end up with a damaged credit rating.
  4. Credit & Loans

    Millennials Guide: Picking the Best Rewards Cards

    There are perks a-plenty on offer, but you have to find the right plastic for your lifestyle.
  5. Credit & Loans

    Your Credit Score: More Important Than You Know

    Credit scores affect key aspects of your personal and professional life. Knowing your score and managing your credit input can make a big difference.
  6. Credit & Loans

    Joint Credit Cards: The Pros and Cons

    A joint credit card may sound like an easy way to split the bills, but make sure you know what you’re getting into first.
  7. Credit & Loans

    Fixing Your Credit Score: A Do It Yourself Guide

    Following these five steps can go a long way toward repairing a low score.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Co-signing a Loan? Make Sure You Know The Risks

    Contractually, co-signers are just as responsible for the loan as the person actually borrowing the money. Be careful not to put yourself at risk.
  9. Investing Basics

    Should You Increase Your Credit Card Limit?

    What if you took out a new credit card and the issuing company started you off with a fairly low credit limit that hasn't been raised after the first year. Should you ask for an increase? The ...
  10. Credit & Loans

    How To Boost Your Credit Score To Save Thousands

    One of the first steps you should follow before buying a home is to boost your credit score. And how do you do that? Here, we tell you how.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Credit Rating

    An assessment of the credit worthiness of a borrower in general ...
  2. Jamming

    A scam perpetrated by bogus credit repair firms that involves ...
  3. Furnisher

    A company that provides information about a consumer, including ...
  4. Semi-Secured Credit Card

    A type of credit card offered to individuals who carry a higher ...
  5. Mixed File

    A credit bureau record that contains more than one consumer’s ...
  6. Re-Aging Debt

    Restarting the clock on a debt’s statute of limitations.

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!