Why Some Payments Don’t Appear on Credit Reports – And How to Fix It

It is not uncommon for consumers to check their credit reports and notice that regular payments are not reflected in said reports. They ask themselves why payments don’t show up on credit reports, and how they can fix it.

The Mystery of the Missing Payment

One of the most common reasons occurs in bankruptcy. Under the law, when an individual files for bankruptcy s/he must list every debt—even if s/he plans to continue making payments. Thus, creditors listed in bankruptcy filings simply tell the credit bureaus that the debt was “included in bankruptcy” regardless of whether that particular debt was actually discharged. Thus, even though an individual may still be making payments on a particular loan or debt, lenders simply stop reporting these payments to the credit bureaus.

The biggest concern is that when one is trying to rebuild his/her credit, s/he counts on accurate reporting of certain payments on loans which were excluded from the bankruptcy. However, there are steps consumers can take to make lenders and credit bureaus accurately report post-bankruptcy payments.

Request a Payment History

Requesting a payment history from the lender provides proof of payment for individuals to dispute incorrect credit bureau entries. By law, lenders must provide a payment history for those customers who request it. Armed with this proof, the individual can file a dispute with each of the three credit reporting agencies to demonstrate on-time and up-to-date payments.

Reaffirmed Debts

Some bankruptcy filers sign reaffirmation agreements which are specific contracts that eliminate a certain debt from bankruptcy proceedings, such as a mortgage or car payment, for example. In these cases, creditors will usually report payments to the credit bureaus following the bankruptcy. However, in some cases, these “invisible loans” will not appear on a credit report. While one cannot force lenders to report to credit bureaus, obtaining a payment history demonstrating positive history can be used for subsequent loans. Additionally, if there are clerical errors on a credit report, the consumer can request that the lender notifies the credit bureaus with the correct information.

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