In a little-noticed change, your credit report has started revealing more about your credit card payment habits.
The big three credit bureaus are adding new payment data to the reports of some 160 million card-carrying adults. The data shows whether you rack up interest charges, giving card issuers another reason to chase you — or avoid you — as a customer.
“That sort of information would be considered pretty valuable from an issuer standpoint,” said Michael Masasi, senior analyst at Mercator Advisory Group.
In the past, your credit file displayed your monthly balance, your credit limit and whether you failed to make at least the minimum payment.
What credit bureaus are adding now is a two-year review of the actual amounts you paid each month. These figures reveal whether you are a revolver who carries a balance and pays interest charges, or a transactor who makes purchases but generally pays them off before interest charges are triggered.
“Historically it has been incredibly difficult on the credit file to identify a transactor versus a revolver,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting for TransUnion’s financial services unit. “The way payments look, they were indistinguishable.”
TransUnion added 24 months of payment history to accounts on consumer credit files in January. Experian has expanded the historical payment information on credit reports within the past year, Vice President for Analytics Michele Raneri said. Equifax is adding payment amounts starting sometime in the third quarter of 2013, according to Demitra Wilson, senior director of public relations.
Credit bureaus say that the new information will help card issuers target their offers. “Lenders want to offer products that consumers want to have,” Becker said, “and offer the right product to the right person.” Continue reading