Sign me up for updates. Sign up now

Donate Take Action

Building a Non-Traditional Credit Report


Building a Non-Traditional Credit Report

If you need credit, but don’t have time to build credit using traditional tools, some banks and credit unions will consider a non-traditional credit report.

The idea behind a non-traditional credit report is to demonstrate that you reliably pay your bills as agreed.  To do this, you will need to show long-term, consistent payments to:

  • Utility companies
  • Landlords/property owners -- for rent
  • Telecommunications providers—cell phone, Internet, and television service
  • Automobile, life, or renter’s insurance companies
  • Union -- dues
  • Childcare providers
  • Schools -- tuition
  • Savings account that shows regular deposits and growing balance over time
  • Medical providers
  • Any other individual or business you pay on a regular basis (including friends/family for personal loans)

In most cases, you will need to demonstrate at least a 12-month history with more than three sources.  You will also need to provide evidence of regular payments, including:

  • Receipts, including money order receipts
  • Copies of cancelled checks
  • Invoices noting “paid in full”
  • Savings account statements

Some people also include letters of reference from landlords or others with whom they do business.

Tools to Help

Building a non-traditional credit report

Use this worksheet to build a nontraditional credit report.


Show Hide Checklist


Information is great. But taking small steps now can lead to big changes.
  • Today
  • Are you thinking about applying for a loan? A credit card? A cell phone? If you need credit quickly, a nontraditional credit report might help you.
  • Find out if the creditor will accept a nontraditional credit report.
  • Next Week
  • Review the “Building a Nontraditional Credit Report” worksheet.
  • Pull together all of the evidence you have of on-time payments to your landlord, utilities, cell phone, etc.
  • Consider asking your landlord or other business to which you regularly make payments to write you a letter of reference.
  • Present the information you have gathered to the creditor, along with your application.
  • During the Next Few Months
  • Make your loan or credit card payments on time.
  • Stay current with all of your bills.
  • Be sure you understand how to keep good credit once you receive the loan or credit card you apply for. Don’t let a small mistake undo your hard work.