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.

  1. Do free credit reports affect your credit score?

    Free credit reports do not impact your credit score. Credit inquiries are divided into two categories: soft inquiries and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does a free credit report show your credit score?

    The free credit reports available from the three credit reporting agencies do not include your credit score. Under the 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is getting a free credit report safe?

    Getting a free credit report can be safe if you are careful about the particular website from which you get it. Credit reports ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How accurate are free credit reports?

    Free credit reports are usually considered mostly accurate, which is why it is important to regularly examine your own reports. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can a Best Buy credit card help you build credit?

    A Best Buy credit card can be used to help improve your credit score and credit history as long as you use the card responsibly. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are personal loans bad for your credit score?

    Taking out a personal loan is not bad for your credit score in and of itself. However, there are several factors that come ... Read Full Answer >>
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