Services help timely rent payments build or repair credit
Previously, diligently paying your rent on time may have made you a good tenant, but those timely payments were not reflected in your credit history. Fortunately for renters, that is all changing. Several companies now help tenants report rental payments to the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. New credit scoring models use rental-payment data when calculating your credit score. Building or starting a credit history without taking on debt is a great advantage to your buying power in the future. If you would like to purchase a home at some point, apply for an auto loan or line of credit, banks and other creditors will see that positive payment history as a good sign you have the ability to pay bills on time and manage your money. In today’s competitive rental market, even landlords and property management companies will check credit reports to assess a tenant’s application.Getting rental payments on your credit reportIf you rent from a large company, start by asking if they have a procedure in place to report your rent to credit bureaus. For individual landlords and smaller property management companies, sign up through a rental reporting service. Some options are:
RentTrack reports to all three credit reporting agencies. If your landlord is not a RentTrack client, RentTrack collects the rent for a $6.95 fee and then sends a check to your landlord. If your landlord is a RentTrack client, fees are less.
Cozy offers landlords and property managers software tools, including rent payment processing. Residential landlords pay $9 a month per unit to join Cozy and receive auto-payments each month from tenants’ bank accounts, but it’s free to renters. Renters can also create a personal profile that can simplify the apartment application process. Cozy reports rental payments to Experian.
These services allow for the payment and collection of your rent electronically, and you can opt-in to have your rental payment history to one or all of the credit reporting agencies. Some of these services charge fees and some don’t so be sure to ask about initial and ongoing fees.
There are more rent reporting service, and certainly new ones will pop up as time goes on. Currently, only the most recent type of credit scores consider rental payments, so not all lenders will automatically see the rental data.
Of course it doesn’t hurt to also apply other tactics to improve your credit score, including reducing or eliminating credit card balances, not cancelling credit accounts, and paying other bills on time.