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Do Monthly Subscriptions to Digital Services Help Build Your Credit Score?

By Sarah Li Cain · February 10, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Do Monthly Subscriptions to Digital Services Help Build Your Credit Score?

If you’re wondering, “do monthly subscriptions build credit?,” the answer is that it depends. You’re most likely going to build credit if your payment activity is reported to the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — or if you use certain payment methods like a credit card.

If you’re hoping to build credit with subscriptions, however, there are certain steps that you can take to help ensure that happens.

What Are Monthly Digital Service Subscriptions?

Monthly digital service subscriptions are a cost that you pay each month to access a service, such as online streaming for TV shows, movies, and music. It can also include subscriptions to software, including for photo editing, audiobooks, online classes, and ebooks.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Monthly Subscription Services Can Help Build Your Credit

Subscription services can help you build your credit if your payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus. You can ensure this happens by using your credit card to pay your bills or signing up for a service that reports your payment activity to the credit bureaus.

When your payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus, your monthly payments for subscription services will appear on your credit report. This can lead to either a positive or negative effect on your credit. If you miss a payment, your score could be negatively impacted, whereas on-time payments could have a positive effect.

As such, here’s a trick for ensuring that on-time payment consistently happens: setting up automatic payments.

Strategically Using Automatic Payments

Setting up automated bill payments is how you’ll most likely pay for subscription services. To make strides toward building credit, however, there are some ways you can set up your automatic payments more effectively:

•   Automatically pay with your credit card: When signing up for a subscription service, you’ll be asked for a method of payment. The simplest option is to pay using your credit card, and authorize recurring charges. Of course, you can do so using your debit card (depending on the company) or by providing your banking details. But unless you sign up for a credit reporting service, your payment history most likely won’t be reported to the credit bureaus without selecting your credit card as the payment method

•   Automatically pay your credit card from your bank account: To ensure you’re paying your credit card bill on time, consider setting up automatic payments from your bank account. That way, you’ll decrease the likelihood of missing a payment deadline. If the charge is paid on time, you’ll also get the benefit of avoiding interest charges, which is one way to save on streaming services.

If you follow these tips, it’s smart to periodically check the subscription rates to ensure your automatic payment amount matches up with what you’re currently being charged. Also check your bank account to make sure you have enough funds for the payment to go through on time.

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Other Ways to Build Credit

There are other methods to establish credit other than through subscription services. Here are some additional or alternative methods to consider:

•   Secured credit cards: A secured credit card is generally more accessible to those who have no or limited credit history. You’ll need to make a refundable deposit that acts as your credit line — so if you put $500 down, you’d get a $500 credit line. Otherwise, you can use a secured credit card as you would a traditional credit card by making purchases and paying down the balance each month. Depending on the credit card issuer, you may be able to be eligible to upgrade to an unsecured credit card or request one after making consistent on-time payments for a set number of months.

•   Credit builder loans: These types of loans are designed to help consumers build credit. Once you’re approved for a loan, you’ll start to pay it back in installments. But instead of receiving the loan proceeds right away, the funds will be housed in a savings account until you pay back the loan in full.

•   Personal loans: If you need funding right away, such as for a home improvement project, you can consider taking out a more traditional loan, as there are lenders who are willing to work with those who have a limited credit history. Keep in mind that interest rates could be higher compared to someone with more established credit, so make sure you can afford the loan and make on-time payments before taking one out.

•   Secured loans: Like secured credit cards, secured loans require you to put down some sort of collateral. These can include physical assets, such as a car (like auto loans) or cash (some banks offer loans that you secure with your savings account). Interest rates may be more favorable than unsecured loans.

•   Paying rent: Your landlord — especially if it’s a larger property management company — may report your payment activity to the credit bureaus, even if you don’t use your credit card to pay. Otherwise, there are reporting services (much like the ones mentioned above) that will report your payments to the credit bureaus to help you build your credit.

Recommended: Tips for Building Credit

The Takeaway

Your monthly subscription services could serve as a path toward building credit, as long as your payment activity gets reported to the credit bureaus. You can ensure this happens by either paying your subscription with a credit card or signing up for a service that reports your payments to the credit bureaus. In either case, you’ll need to make sure you’re handling your subscription service payments responsibly in order to help establish your credit.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Is it good to put subscriptions on your credit card?

You can put charges for subscriptions on your credit card if you’re looking to build credit. Just make sure you’re exhibiting positive credit behavior by consistently making on-time payments.

What credit card is best for subscriptions?

There is no one credit card that is best for subscriptions. Whether it’s a secured or unsecured credit card, what matters is whether you make consistent, on-time payments. The credit card you choose will also depend on what you find important. For example, if you’re interested in earning travel rewards, then consider picking a credit that allows you to do so.

Does paying multiple times a month increase your credit score?

Making multiple monthly payments toward your credit card bill will reduce the amount of credit you’re using. In other words, you’ll lower your credit utilization — a comparison between your total credit limit and how much credit you’re using — which could be a positive contributing factor in your credit.


Photo credit: iStock/simpson33

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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