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Credit Scores and Reports

Adding rent payments to your credit report could help lift your credit score

Several studies show positive rent payment history can boost scores, but few landlords report this information, and some scores don't include them

Summary

A growing amount of research has found that positive rental payments can significantly improve people’s credit scores – sometimes by as much as 10 to 40 points or more – if lenders use a score that incorporates rent payments.

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Paying your rent on time won’t just keep your landlord happy. It could also boost your credit score.

A growing amount of research has found that positive rental payments can significantly improve people’s credit scores – sometimes by as much as 10 to 40 points or more – if lenders use a score that incorporates rent payments.

See related:  Busted: 5 myths about alternative credit data

Studies show positive effects for consumers with low or no credit scores.

VantageScore has been incorporating rent payments into consumers’ credit scores since its inception in 2006. However, rent payments are only incorporated when they are reported to a credit bureau.

Meanwhile, a joint study conducted in 2019 between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Policy and Economic Research Council found that reporting on-time rent payments to credit bureaus has positive impacts on tenant credit scores. According to the study, the portion of tenants with subprime credit scores from TransUnion drops from 55% to 37% when including on-time rental payments.

The results of the study concluded that “the problem of credit invisibility and unscorability can be dramatically reduced; many who were formerly unscorable could achieve some variant of a prime credit score.”

This means that an underserved area of tenants with no scores or subprime credit scores have

Furthermore, a 2020 case study by RentTrack found that tenants’ credit scores increased an average of 29 points after two months of rent payment reporting – overall, their scores increased by an average of 59 points over a 21-month period.

See related:  2019 will bring big changes, more control to first-time borrowers

Rent payments are irregularly reported to credit bureaus, lenders

The study’s findings are encouraging for consumers who could use some extra help improving their scores. However, landlords don’t universally report payments to the credit bureaus and so not everyone with on-time payments may benefit.

According to FICO, for example, just 0.3% of renters in 2017 had rental payments included on their credit reports.

“Rental data does have potential to improve credit access, but not until much more of it is reported to the credit bureaus,” wrote FICO’s Joanne Gaskin in a 2017 blog post.

Landlords may be able to be persuaded, though. According to a recent survey by TransUnion, 73 percent of renters said they’d be more motivated to pay their rent on time if they knew their landlord reported their payments to a credit bureau.

If your landlord doesn’t report your rental payments, you may need to work with a third party instead to help facilitate the reporting of your payments.

Your lender may also use a credit score model that doesn’t incorporate rental payments into its credit score calculation. So even if your landlord does report your rent payments to a credit bureau, you may still not get credit for it.

When FICO released FICO Score 9 and FICO XD in 2014, one of the major updates was the incorporation of rental payments to the scoring factors – but only when landlords report that information to all three credit bureaus. However, earlier versions of the FICO score don’t factor in rental payments.

Although some lenders use a variety of scoring models to evaluate potential borrowers, others may only rely on older credit scoring models.

For your rent payments to help improve your odds of getting a lower cost loan, you’ll need to work with a lender that uses VantageScore, FICO Score 9, FICO XD or uses its own proprietary score that factors in rent payments.

See related:  I signed up for Experian Boost. This is what happened

How to get your rent payments added to your credit reports

Even though rent payments aren’t universally used to evaluate new borrowers, it may still be a good idea to try to get your rent payments added to your reports – especially if you have subprime credit.

If your landlord doesn’t currently report rent payments, you have a number of options – as long as you’re willing to pay a fee. A number of third-party companies, such as RentTrack, Rock the Score, Rent Reporters or Rental Kharma, will report your rent payments on your behalf. You just need to sign up for service and work with one of them to verify your payments.

The fees can be a bit steep, ranging as high as $6.95 a month to $9.95 a month, depending on the company. However, it may be worth it if the extra rent payments boost your score significantly or allow you to be scored for the first time ever.

Another option is the Bilt Rewards platform, which allows you to earn rewards by paying rent using the Bilt Reward app or their soon debuting Bilt Mastercard. Even if your landlord or rental company doesn’t accept credit cards or isn’t a Bilt Rewards Alliance property, you can use the app or credit card to pay your rent. Not only can you earn rewards for paying rent, but you’ll skip out on fees for the service and build your credit score with every on-time rent payment.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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