How to Add Rent Payments to Your Credit Reports
Since 2014, FICO has included reported rental data in all new versions (FICO® Score 9, FICO® Score 10, and FICO® Score 10T) of its scoring models, meaning that paying rent on time could help improve your FICO® Score. Here's how to get credit for paying rent on time.
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Since 2014, FICO has included reported rental data in all new versions (FICO Score 9 and FICO Score 10) of its scoring models, meaning that paying rent on time could help improve your FICO® Score.
But many landlords do not send their tenant's rental information to the credit bureaus. Fortunately, it's becoming easier and more common to do so, and here's how you can do it.
Why Don't Landlords Report Rent to the Credit Bureaus?
Like creditors, landlords aren't legally required to report their tenants' monthly rent payments to the three major credit reporting agencies, and for the landlords, the process often requires additional costs and effort.
Also, while a rent payment is similar to a mortgage payment in terms of your budget, you're not technically borrowing money, so it's been a relatively recent addition to credit reports.
However, the motivation for landlords to report is becoming more clear. Not only does rent reporting potentially help landlords screen tenants based on their rental history, but it can also encourage tenants to pay on time to avoid negative marks on their credit reports.
How to Get Credit for On-Time Rent Payments
If you pay your rent on time, here are a few different ways you can have that information be considered in your FICO® Scores.
Talk to Your Landlord
As options for reporting rent payments improve, 27% of property managers who are aware of the practice do so, according to a recent report from TransUnion. So, before you consider other methods, reach out to your landlord and ask about their reporting policy.
If they were unaware of the option or have considered it, you may be able to share how the practice could benefit their business by incentivizing on-time payments and potentially even giving them an advantage over other landlords in the area who don't offer reporting.
Before talking to your landlord, you can also review your credit reports to confirm whether or not they're reporting your monthly rent payments.
Research reporting services
There are several different reporting services that can help you get your rent payments added to your credit reports. Many charge a fee, so evaluate carefully:
Experian Boost: This free service allows you to add rent payments, as well as utility payments and streaming subscriptions, to your Experian credit report by linking your bank account.
Piñata: Renters can download the free app and get their rent payments reported to TransUnion at no additional charge. Additionally, property management companies can partner with the company and offer you reporting to all three credit bureaus for $4 per month.
RentReporters: For a $94.95 sign-up fee and $9.95 per month (or $7.95 per month if you pay annually), RentReporters will report your monthly payments to Equifax and TransUnion going back 24 months and on an ongoing basis. The company is also planning report to Experian soon.
Rental Kharma: With a $50 setup fee and $8.95 per month, you can get your ongoing rent payments reported to Equifax and TransUnion and also going back 24 months. You can also add a spouse or roommate for a one-time fee of $25 and $5 per month after that.
LevelCredit: For $6.95 per month, you can get your rent payments reported to all three credit bureaus. You can also add up to 24 months of past payments for a one-time $49.95 fee. It also reports utility and phone payments to TransUnion.
PaymentReport: For $2.95 per month, you can get ongoing reporting of rental payments to Equifax and TransUnion. You can also add past payments for $0.50 per month. Alternatively, you can pay a flat fee of $49 per lease and get 24 months of past payment history and ongoing reporting at no additional cost. For the flat-fee plan, you can add an additional roommate or your spouse for free. You can also add them for free on the monthly plan if you don't make separate rent payments.
Depending on your situation, consider each of these options to determine which one is best for you. You may also consider using multiple services to get all three bureaus while minimizing your costs.
How will adding rent payments to my credit report affect my FICO® Score?
First and foremost, a record of on-time rental payments is more likely to have a positive impact on your FICO® Score than a record that includes late or missed rental payments. Secondly, if you have limited credit history or you are rebuilding your credit, the inclusion of a record of on-time rental payments in your credit file may have a larger positive impact on your score. A 2020 study showed that “including rental history in credit reports could increase the proportions of tenant with scoreable credit histories and with good credit scores, but the change could be detrimental to credit scores for a subset of tenants.”
It's also important to remember that reported rental payments are only considered in newer FICO® Scores, so rental payments won't impact the FICO Scores currently used for mortgage (FICO Scores 5, 4, and 2).
Before you start reporting your rental history to the credit bureaus, it's important to know that your landlord might report past payments as well as your future payments, so you should consider if you have had any late or missed rental payments that could hurt your score. You should also consider how confident you are in your ability to make on-time payments in the future. After you report your rental history to the credit bureaus, be sure to review your credit reports to confirm that your newly reported rental history is accurate.
The Bottom Line
Many entities think people should get credit for making on-time rent payments just as homeowners get credit for mortgage payments. If your landlord doesn't already offer reporting or doesn't plan to, there are ways you can get your payments reported on your own.
Take your time to research and compare multiple options before you make a decision to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
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