Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › How to Build Your Credit as a Renter

Like most people renting apartments, you might not know that having your on-time monthly rent payments reported to the major credit bureaus can help to build and increase your credit score. And this is important if you plan to buy a new car or home in the future.

A good or bad credit score can mean the difference between getting better terms such as lower interest rates or qualifying for a loan in the first place. Bottom line —it’s important to be proactive knowing how much a credit score can affect your life.

Millions of Americans also fall into the “Credit Invisible” and “Credit Unscorable” categories —those with no or low credit scores. This can happen to anyone, from young adults who are on their own for the first time to military personnel returning from overseas deployment and to those who are recently divorced or widowed. And the sad truth is that the credit invisible and credit unscorable are most vulnerable to predatory lending and face significant challenges in accessing most mainstream credit markets.

Why you haven’t you’ve heard of rental payment history reporting before?

Monthly rent payments are highly correlated with the ability to repay debt in a timely manner, yet rent payments were not accepted as data sources for calculating credit scores for a long time. It’s not the case today. In fact, the big three credit-reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion now add verified rent payment data into their credit files and score calculations. Rent is reported as a “tradeline” on credit reports. Your rental payment history will be included as part of your standard credit report and other credit scores.

How does this work?

There are services that you can sign up to opt-in to reporting your rental payment history and they are pretty affordable. You provide details about your lease and landlord, and the service provider will usually take care of the rest —from the rent verification process to reporting rent payment history and updating your credit report. Most renters that sign up for these services see an increase in their credit scores right away.

Note that there are differences between rental history reporting services and rental payment services. Rental payment services allow renters to pay rent online to property managers and landlords when due. Rental history reporting services report your payments (you make your payments) to the credit reporting agencies that take rental payments into account.

How long should I be a renter before I sign up?

You don’t have to be a long-time renter to find this type of service beneficial to building and improving your credit score. Remember, as with any credit report tradeline, the more months of data, the greater the impact can be on your score.

Rent payment history is becoming an important part of calculating credit scores. If you currently rent or are considering renting, don’t missing out on a big opportunity to build your credit.

About :

Cynthia is focused on supporting the customers at RentReporters. She is responsible for helping customers better manage their financial life through meaningful education tools and ensuring a high level customer experience. Cynthia began her career at CCG and served most recently at HigherUp as Director of Client Service.

Comments

  1. David E Hronek says:

    This is very helpful information but was surprised to learn that rental history isn’t already reported to the credit bureaus. Landlords are quick to report an eviction which is detrimental to a credit rating and can keep you from renting from management companies. However you could have had a stellar on time payment record of 6 years with a landlord that isn’t reported, fall on hard times because of a layoff and fall 3 months behind and be evicted and that does get reported. Where is the fairness in that?

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