How to Add Bills to Your Credit Report

By Michelle Lambright Black
Reviewed by: Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, AFC®
Published on: 10/07/2022

If you’re working hard to build good credit, it makes sense that you might want to add certain bills to your credit report–like utilities or rent. After all, who wouldn’t want to receive credit for the things they’re doing right where credit history is concerned?

In some cases it is possible to add select types of bills to your credit report. Yet it’s helpful to understand how the credit reporting process works in these situations, the potential obstacles you could face, and the times when adding a bill might not be an achievable goal.

Table of Contents

Which types of bills build credit?

Credit scoring models, like FICO and VantageScore, consider a wide variety of information on your credit report. Note that the key term in the previous sentence is credit report.

Before a credit obligation (aka a bill) can have any credit-building potential, the account must appear on your credit report with at least one major credit reporting agency — Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. For the most credit-building potential, a credit obligation should appear on all three of your credit reports. From there, how you manage the account (i.e., on-time payments, late payments, etc.) determines whether it has a positive or negative influence on your credit score.

Here are a few types of accounts (aka tradelines) you might find on a credit report.

In addition to the accounts above, you may also be able to build credit with other types of bills like utility bills, rent, mobile phone bills, or even certain subscription services. Yet since these types of accounts don’t traditionally show up on your credit reports, you might have to take some extra steps if you hope to use them to build credit.

Can I report utility bills to the credit bureaus?

Most of the information on credit reports comes from companies known as “data furnishers.” Data furnishers can be lenders, credit card companies, and other creditors that share information about consumers with the credit bureaus on a voluntary basis.[1]

Most utility companies do not opt to furnish data to the credit bureaus. According to FICO, a mere 2.4% of consumer credit bureau files feature utility payment data such as electricity, water, and gas bills, despite the fact that over 60% of adults in the U.S. pay such bills. And although 92% of consumers have mobile phones in the U.S., just 5% of those people have telcommunications data on their credit reports.[2]

At present, there is no way to self report bills to the credit bureaus as a consumer. The credit bureaus do not accept consumers as data furnishers at this time. Yet there are programs you can use to try to add utility bills, rent, and more to your credit reports.

  • Experian Boost™ offers you the opportunity to add eligible mobile phone, utility, and subscription service bills to your Experian credit report. The service is free of charge, but you do have to give the credit bureau permission to scan your bank (and/or credit card) account for evidence of positive payment history. According to the credit bureau, “Users who received a boost from non-rental data improved their FICO® Score 8 from Experian by an average of 13 points.”[3]
  • eCredable Lift® gives you the ability to add up to eight eligible utility accounts to your TransUnion credit report. There is a fee associated with this service of $9.95 per month or $24.95 per year, but your membership may include additional services like credit monitoring depending on the option you choose. Another detail that’s important to understand is that with eCredable Lift, negative payment history may be added to your TransUnion credit report as well. So, any utility bills that may appear on your credit report have the ability to help or hurt your TransUnion-based credit scores.[4]
  • LevelCredit by Self is the first service consumers can use to self report rent to all three major credit bureaus. You can use the service to report cell phone and utility data to TransUnion as well. The cost for LevelCredit by Self is $6.95 per month.[5]

Can I raise my credit score by reporting utilities?

If you use one of the services above and are able to add utilities to any of your credit reports, those accounts could have an impact on your credit scores. Yet whether the accounts help or hurt you may depend on how you manage the account.

Consider eCredable Lift as an example. If you use the service there’s a chance your TransUnion-based credit score may improve if utility accounts with positive payment history show up on your TransUnion credit report. But if the new utility accounts on your credit report show late payments, your credit score might decline instead.

With Experian Boost, however, the credit bureau only considers accounts with positive payment history. Any late payments on added utility accounts, according to the credit bureau, won’t have a negative impact on your Experian-based credit scores. Yet if for any reason your credit score does decline after you sign up for Experian Boost, you can disconnect the service and the accounts you requested the credit bureau to add should come back off your Experian report.[6]

Alternatives to self reporting

There’s nothing wrong with trying to get credit for the bills you’re already paying on time, like utility accounts or a cell phone. In fact, this approach can be a smart strategy. But there are also other credit-building strategies that don’t involve self reporting.

Below are three options you may want to consider.

  1. Credit cards can be a solid way to establish credit if you use the accounts wisely. Even with no credit or bad credit, you might be eligible for a secured credit card. Keep in mind that the best way to manage your credit card is to pay the statement balance in full each month. And above all, be sure to pay your bill on time every month to avoid late payments and late fees.
  2. Credit builder loans can offer another way to build credit that doesn’t require self reporting. Just be sure that the lender you work with reports the credit builder account to all three credit bureaus before you apply. If the account doesn’t appear on your credit reports, its credit-building potential may be limited (or nonexistent).
  3. Authorized user status on a friend or family member’s credit card is another possible way to build credit without self reporting. When you become an authorized user, the account may show up on your credit report with Equifax, TransUnion, and/or Experian. If the credit card account has on-time payment history and a low credit utilization ratio, it might have a positive impact on your credit score.

Bottom line

It’s important to establish a solid foundation of credit history across all three credit bureaus. Adding bills like utilities and rent to your credit report could be helpful. But they should probably only be a piece of your overall credit-building plan.


  1. “Key Dimensions and Processes in the U.S. Credit Reporting System”
  2. “FICO Fact: Do FICO Scores Consider Telco and Utility Data?”
  3. “Only Experian can raise your FICO® Score instantly.”
  4. eCredable.
  5. LevelCredit by Self.
  6. “Can Experian Boost Lower My Credit Score?”

Disclaimer: The Level Credit, Credit Builder Account, and Secured credit cards links identified in this article are advertisements for Self products.

About the author

Michelle L. Black is a leading credit expert with over 17 years of experience in the credit industry. She’s an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, identity theft, budgeting and debt eradication. See her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About the reviewer

Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, MBA, AFC® is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and a Bilingual Personal Finance Writer and Educator dedicated to helping populations that need financial literacy and counseling. Her informative articles have been published in various news outlets and websites including Huffington Post, Fidelity, Fox Business News, MSN and Yahoo Finance. She also founded the personal financial and motivational site and translated into Spanish the book, Financial Advice for Blue Collar America by Kathryn B. Hauer, CFP. Ana teaches Spanish or English personal finance courses on behalf of the W!SE (Working In Support of Education) program has taught workshops for nonprofits in NYC.

Editorial policy

Our goal at Self is to provide readers with current and unbiased information on credit, financial health, and related topics. This content is based on research and other related articles from trusted sources. All content at Self is written by experienced contributors in the finance industry and reviewed by an accredited person(s).

self logo
Written on October 7, 2022
Self is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings.

Disclaimer: Self does not provide financial advice. The content on this page provides general consumer information and is not intended for legal, financial, or regulatory guidance. The content presented does not reflect the view of the Issuing Banks. Although this information may include references to third-party resources or content, Self does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. The Credit Builder Account, secured Self Visa® Credit Card, and Level Credit/Rent Track links are advertisements for Self products. Please consider the date of publishing for Self’s original content and any affiliated content to best understand their contexts.

Take control of your credit today.