How Tillful Credit Builder Works

7 min read

Executive Summary

Now introducing: Tillful Credit Builder, an alternative tradeline that helps you build business credit earlier. Here's how the subscription works, and how it reports to the bureaus.

Disclaimer: Our first priority is giving you the best financial advice for your business. Tillful may receive compensation from our partners, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or recommendations in the content on our website. Editorial note

🎉 Tillful is now part of Nav! Build your business credit with Nav

Hello Tillfulers!

We’re thrilled to be rolling out Tillful Credit Builder, a safer, easier, no-security-deposit-required way to start building business credit. In this article, we’ll be going over how Credit Builder works from sign up to reporting, and covering all the questions you’ve been sending our way.

As always, we’re unendingly grateful for you, and can’t thank you enough for your support! 💚

Why we made Credit Builder

We saw that making a $500 deposit for the Tillful Card wasn’t always possible for newer businesses. So, we set out to find a lower cost solution that helped businesses build business credit earlier. We saw that we already had relationships with the major credit bureaus, and that we could report an alternative, non-credit-card tradeline with just a few tweaks on our end.

We priced Credit Builder on a sliding scale ($20–50 per month) to ensure that as many businesses as possible could benefit from a credit-boosting alternative tradeline. You can choose the amount that fits your budget, and grow from there.

How alternative credit tradelines work

Let’s back up a bit and cover the mechanics behind the Tillful Credit Builder tradeline.

We’ve talked at length about why businesses shouldn’t buy tradelines. This is still true! However, there’s one type of tradeline that is okay to “buy”: alternative credit tradelines.

Most alternative credit tradelines either work on a subscription basis, or connect to bills that aren’t traditionally captured by credit scores (such as bills for utilities, phone, and rent). The alternative credit provider then reports the payments that you make towards their service to the credit bureaus as a tradeline.

In most cases, alternative tradelines are most beneficial for new businesses with few tradelines. They’re likely less effective for more established businesses that already have many vendor accounts, credit cards, and/or loans that are being reported to the bureaus, though they can still provide a boost.

How Tillful Credit Builder works

Tillful Credit Builder is billed on a monthly subscription basis. We report the payments you make towards the subscription as a tradeline to Experian and Equifax. We also report to Dun & Bradstreet when you self report (automatic reporting is coming soon!).

Follow these 3 steps to sign up

  1. Make sure that you have a Tillful score (by connecting your bank and credit accounts)
  2. Select the price that works with your budget ($20, $30, or $50)
  3. Keep paying for as long as you want the tradeline for. We’ll report your payments monthly to all the major credit bureaus.

Pro tip: Tillful Card and Tillful Credit Builder report as separate tradelines. So, you can get two tradelines reporting every month when you subscribe with your Tillful Card.

🛠️ Sign up for Tillful Credit Builder (in your Tillful dashboard)

Should you choose Tillful Credit Builder or Tillful Card?

We're gonna say both 🙃

In all seriousness, both products report as financial services tradelines, and are designed to help businesses build credit safely and easily. Tillful Credit Builder is an alternative tradeline, while Tillful Card is a secured credit card. They pair well together, and doing so will result in the most impact on your business credit.

That said, there are some differences between them. Let's dive in.

Best for newer businesses: Tillful Credit Builder

Tillful Credit Builder is most well-suited for newer businesses and for those looking to start building business credit. It’s likely most beneficial for those with five or fewer tradelines. However, it can help businesses of all stages get a boost on their business credit profiles.

Why do we say it's best for new businesses? Well, Experian requires at least one tradeline to start generating reports, while Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet require three to five. This is a no-application-required solution to help you ramp up. Think of it as one less vendor account you need to apply for just to get started. (PS - this is especially helpful as fuel cards and other store cards start tightening their requirements).

Tillful Credit Builder is also a good option for businesses that don’t necessarily have the cash to cover a $500 deposit for the Tillful Card. Speaking of...

Best for higher impact: Tillful Card

Tillful Card is considered a credit card, and is therefore treated as a more impactful tradeline (by Experian, and likely by the other credit bureaus as well) when calculating scores. It also has a minimum $500 deposit that forms the credit line. The higher credit amount should have more weight than a $20, $30, or $50 tradeline. Because of this, it’s best suited for businesses that are ready to invest in building their business credit.

To effectively use Tillful Card to build business credit, it’s important that you pay on time and keep your utilization low (around 30%). If you aren’t sure you can stick to these payment habits yet, then you may be better off with Tillful Credit Builder, which only requires a monthly payment.

Frequently asked questions about Tillful Credit Builder

How Tillful Credit Builder reports to the credit bureaus

We report automatically, monthly to the major business credit bureaus (Experian and Equifax, and Dun and Bradstreet (self-report)). You must make monthly payments for Tillful Credit Builder for your tradeline to be reported.

Tillful Credit Builder reports as a financial services tradeline at the amount of your monthly subscription. It shows up as an on-time payment. We do not report if you cancel your subscription, or if you miss payments.

Learn how to self-report Tillful Credit Builder to Dun & Bradstreet

Why would I pay $50 when I can pay $20?

Our pay-what-you-can model is designed to help businesses at all stages afford to get started on their business credit building journey. When you’re first starting to add tradelines to your credit file, and have lower available credit across all your accounts, paying a higher amount could help you more than paying a lower amount.

We’ve seen evidence that paying $50 versus $20 could help small businesses raise their score an entire tier (ie, “good” to “excellent”). However, we cannot guarantee these results, as credit scores are complex and vary by business.

Can I keep it open for a month and then cancel?

Of course! However, this is not necessarily the best idea if you’re looking to build business credit.

Credit history is an important factor in credit scoring. In most cases, the longer a tradeline is open and reporting positively, the more impact it will have on your business credit score (especially for newer businesses).

Does my Tillful Score get reported?

No. Tillful Credit Builder is currently only available for Tillful Score users, however, reporting is not based on your Tillful Score. Instead, we report the payments you make towards your Tillful Credit Builder subscription.

Any changes in your Tillful Score will not affect how or what we report.

Will Tillful Card or Tillful Credit Builder do more for my credit?

It’s likely that Tillful Card will do more for your business credit than the Credit Builder subscription. If you get both the Card and Credit Builder, they report as 2 separate tradelines, which could boost your score even more.

The secured card is reported as a tier 3 (on Experian), which means it likely holds more weight than the Credit Builder tradeline. It also has a higher credit line ($500 minimum on the card vs. $50 maximum on Credit Builder), which should hold more weight.

What does Tillful do with my data?

We do not harvest, sell, or even see your data. We only use the information you share with us to provide you with the services you’ve requested. All bank information you share for the purposes of getting your Tillful Score, for making payments, or for any other reason, is fully encrypted and secure. If you should ever wish to close your account, you may also request full data deletion at the time of closure.

🛠️ Sign up for Tillful Credit Builder (in your Tillful dashboard)

Not seeing your questions answered here? Check out our help hub.

About the author

Catherine Giese

Written by Catherine Giese

Catherine is the Brand Content Manager at Tillful. She writes answers to our most-asked questions and covers the news updates that small business owners need to know.

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