How to report your rent payments to credit bureaus

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Rent payments often make up the largest expense that many people incur each month, but they don’t generally count towards your payment history or other important factors on your credit report. That means your on-time monthly rent payments are likely not contributing to your credit score.

While lenders and creditors report mortgage, auto and credit card payments to credit bureaus each month, your rent payments generally don’t get reported to bureaus. If you are consistent in paying your rent on time each month though, your credit score could get a boost from reporting rent payments.

Here are some ways that you can ensure your rent payments are reported and count towards your credit score.

Services you can use to report rent payments

There’s not a direct way for you to report rent payments to credit bureaus yourself. Instead, you can use one of the many reporting services which send information about your monthly payments to credit bureaus. Before signing up for a reporting service, make sure you know how much you’ll pay and which credit bureaus the service reports to.

Experian RentBureau

If your property management company or landlord works with Experian’s RentBureau, your rent payment data can be reported to Experian for incorporation into your credit report with the bureau. If your landlord doesn’t report through RentBureau, you can also sign up through a rent payment service that does, such as RentTrack, PayYourRent or Cozy.

Rental Kharma

Rental Kharma reports rent payments to TransUnion. In order to qualify to use the service you must rent from a property management company or from the owner of the property. Rental Kharma will verify your payment history with your landlord or property manager, and include six months of past rent payments in its reporting. There’s a $50 startup fee to begin using the service, after which you’ll pay $8.95 per month.

Rent Reporters

RentReporters sends data about your rent payments to two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. RentReporters tracks your rent payments by contacting your landlord directly to verify that on-time payment has been made. The sign-up fee is $94.95 which will get you two years of past rent data reporting, then $9.95 per month to maintain the service.

Which bureaus account for rent payments?

All three credit bureaus will include rent payment information in your credit report if they receive it.

However, credit bureaus don’t automatically receive your rental payment history. And despite services that simplify rent payment data reporting, that information won’t automatically translate into changes in the credit score potential lenders see when you apply for a loan or new credit card.

Commonly-used versions of FICO’s scoring model do not include rental payment data when calculating your credit score, though VantageScore models do consider rent payments when calculating your credit score.

Do rent payments help build credit?

Rent payments do have the possibility to help you build credit, but that’s only if you are actively making sure that your payments are being reported. If your payments are being reported, they can have a positive effect on your payment history and add another element to your credit profile, increasing your credit mix.

But remember, rent payments will only really have a positive effect if you are consistent with your payments. Falling behind on your rent payments can lead to negative reporting and a decrease in your credit score, especially if your debt is sent to a collections agency.

Other ways to build credit

Reporting your rent payments can help you to build credit, but if improving your credit score is your priority, there are better methods you can use.

If your landlord offers the option, consider paying your rent with a credit card. Just watch out for costly fees and make sure you can pay off the balance each month so you don’t take on interest on your rent payments.

Develop good, long-lasting credit habits using your credit cards that can boost your score, such as consistent, timely payment history and low credit utilization.

If you are unable to get a credit card at this time, look into being added as an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. You can also consider applying for a secured credit card. These cards are generally easier to be approved for since you’ll put down a deposit on your credit card that serves as your credit limit. You can use the card to make small purchases that you can easily pay off, in order to build up your score credit history over time.