Using Rent Payments to Build and Increase Credit Scores
Until recently, rent payments were not factored into your credit score. But in 2010, Experian acquired RentBureau, a specialty rent credit reporting agency that focused solely on rent payments. In 2011, Experian announced that rent data would appear on a consumer’s credit report. RentBureau allows property managers and other third parties to upload rent payment information – both positive and negative – directly to Experian. TransUnion also now includes rent history on credit reports when the data is available. Rent appears as a “trade line expense” on your TransUnion credit report.
Most people see great potential for reported rent to help people build credit. Rent is not considered “late” if paid within 30 days of the due date.
You cannot report your rent to the credit reporting agencies yourself. Currently at least two third-party agencies report rent to credit bureaus without requiring participation from landlords/property management companies: Rental Kharma and RentReporters.
Rental Kharma is a simple and straightforward rent reporting service. There is a one time $40.00 verification fee for tenants, and then a monthly fee of $9.95 after that. Once you sign up, you can verify your rent payments with bank statements, cancelled checks, or through your landlord/property manager. Landlords do not have to participate, but if they do, they need only verify payment received each month. Payments are reported to TransUnion and can go back as far as two years. Rental Kharma does not handle the actual rent money or facilitate payment in any way, and you can cancel your membership at any time.
Rent Reporters is a rent reporting agency. Upon registering, tenants can provide proof of up two years’ rent payments. The website does not state how they verify ongoing rent payments, but they report to both Experian and Transunion. Rent Reporters offers a free 15 day trial, and then a monthly fee of $6.95.
Keep in mind that rent payments are not currently factored into FICO scores, but will factor into the VantageScore calculated by TransUnion or Experian.