It sounds like a good way to help consumers who lack full credit reports, or any credit report at all: report their utility payments to credit bureaus, to help them develop credit files.
Currently, most gas and electric utilities don’t report most consumer payments to credit bureau.
They typically report only extremely delinquent accounts that they have written off as uncollectable, rather than those that are merely late or those that are paid on time.
But proponents of full utility reporting argue that giving consumers credit for on-time payments can help them develop a credit file and a credit score, which can be key to economic advancement.
The problem, a group of consumer advocates say, is that broader reporting of utility payments to credit bureaus may actually hurt the records of lower-income consumers, who are more likely to pay bills like those for gas and electric service late as they struggle to make ends meet.
Story by Ann Carrns for the New York Times.
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