Q: "I paid four years at $600 a month on a new truck. I paid the note off one year ahead of time and never once was I late or did I ever miss a payment. I find out now that my bank does not report to any of the credit agencies. Is there any way to get this on my credit report?" - Mike
A: We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if your bank doesn’t report to the credit agencies, there’s really nothing you can do get credit for your good behavior.
“Consumers cannot force their lenders to report to the bureaus,” John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for SmartCredit.com, says. Consumers also can’t report their own information to Equifax (Stock Quote: EFX), Experian or TransUnion directly.
“The credit grantor would have to be a reporting member to Equifax in order for the data to appear on the consumer's credit file,” Demitra Wilson, a spokeswoman for Equifax, confirms.
A spokeswoman for Experian also confirmed that lenders are not required to report to the credit bureaus and that the lender in question would have to agree to report the account history for it to be added to a credit report.
This is not something all lenders, especially smaller ones, agree to do as becoming a reporting member of a credit bureau is no simple task. Ulzheimer explains that banks, credit card issuers and other lenders are subject to a strict application process that involves, among other things, an on-site security inspection to make sure the business in on the up-and-up. They also have to pay to be a member.
This is part of the reason certain organizations like hospitals or insurance companies outsource their debts to collection agencies who are agency members.
Even after all that, Ulzheimer says, there’s no rule that guarantees membership into a credit bureau.