You have little or no credit history and want to build it up. Credit cards and loans aren’t the only way to get started. Rental payments made on time each month are an option worth considering. Here’s what to know about how paying your rent may help you build credit.
How Rent Payments Appear on Your Credit Report
When rent payments are reported to the credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – they’re reflected on your credit report as a tradeline, which is a fancy term for an account. Each tradeline will include the account’s status, payment history, account history and other relevant account activity.
Do Your Rent Payments Affect Your Credit?
It depends on the credit scoring model. Not all factor rent payments into the credit-scoring equation. But if reported, they’re generally recognized by FICO 9, FICO 10 and VantageScore. Furthermore, rent payments could affect your payment history, length of credit history and credit mix.
How Much Can Rent Payments Build Your Credit?
There’s no one-size fits all answer to this question. It varies by your current credit profile and the credit-scoring model.
Are Landlords Required to Report Rent Payments?
Landlords aren’t legally required to report rent payments to the credit bureaus. However, you can ask that they report on your behalf to help you build your credit history. Remember that landlords must pay a fee to use a credit reporting service, which is why many don’t bother reporting rental payments.
Which Services Report Your Rent Payments?
If the landlord denies your request, you can enroll in one of these tenant rent reporting services:
- Credit My Rent: starts at $14.95 per month and reports to Equifax and TransUnion
- LevelCredit: starts at $6.95 per month and reports to Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
- Payment Report: starts at $2.95 per month and reports to Equifax and TransUnion
- Rental Kharma: starts at $895 per month and reports to Equifax and TransUnion
- Rent Reporters: starts at $9.95 per month (or $7.95 if paid annually) and reports Equifax and TransUnion
How to Choose a Rent Reporting Service
Of course, you want a reputable rent reporting service that delivers on its promises. It’s equally important that they report to the three primary credit bureaus to get the most bang for your buck. But even if they only report to one or two, the rent reporting service could still be ideal, depending on the monthly cost.
You also want to confirm that the company you’re considering protects your personal information to minimize the chance of your identity being compromised. Free credit scores are another perk to inquire about, along with the cancellation policy, should you decide you no longer need the service.
How to Report Your Rent Payments
There are a few ways to have your rent payments reported to the credit bureaus.
Landlord Reports Tenant Rent Payments
As stated in a previous section, you can ask your landlord to enroll in a rent reporting service to report on your behalf.
Report Your Rent Payments Yourself
You can use one of the services mentioned above to report rental payments on your own. (Quick note: Some services require that your landlord verify rent payments before they can be reported).
Easily Add Your Rent Payments with Experian Boost
Experian Boost is a free service that lets you add alternative credit data, like payments made to eligible utility and phone providers, streaming services and online rent payments. It’s easy to sign up, and you may see an instant improvement in your Experian FICO Score 8.
Here’s how Experian Boost works:
- Step 1: Connect the primary bank account you use for rent and bill payments.
- Step 2: Select the eligible accounts you want to include in your Experian credit report.
- Step 3: View your new credit score.
The average user sees an increase of 13 points in their credit score, but the impact varies by credit profile.
You should also know that by signing up for Experian Boost, you’ll also have access to a host of other perks, including:
- Your Experian FICO Score and credit report
- Monthly credit score and credit report updates
- Experian credit score monitoring
- A complimentary dark web surveillance report
- The loan and credit card matching tool
Visit the website today to register for a free account or get your free credit score.