If you’ve been renting for more than six months and not reporting your past rent payments to the credit bureaus, you’ve missed an excellent opportunity to build your credit. But don’t worry, you haven’t missed out completely; you can report past rent payments through a rent reporting service and have your rental history appear on your credit report.
How can I report past rent payments?
Unfortunately, you can’t simply call or email the credit bureaus directly to report your past or current rent payments – you do need to go through a third-party rent reporting service to report past rent payments.
The function of the rent reporting service is to report your rent payments to the major credit bureaus. They include this information on your credit report, and the payments get calculated into your credit score. Some rent reporting services require your landlord to create and maintain an active account. Others only require verification that you have an active lease and that the verifying entity manages the property.
Typically, when you sign up for a rent reporting service, you have the option to report past rent; some will include a set number of past rental payments as part of your subscription with no extra charge.
How many past rent payments can I report?
Find a rent reporting service that offers to report past rent payments. Each service varies in the number of past payments they report and at what price. You can start if you have a more extended rental history and haven’t been taking advantage of reporting your rent payments to the credit bureau.
If I report past rent payments, how soon will I see a boost in my credit score?
Most rent reporting services claim that you will see a boost in credit score within a few weeks to a few months. RentRedi claims customers will see an instant 26-point boost based on three months of past reports. At BoomPay, you can report up to 24 months of past rent reports and see score improvements ranging from 5 to 100 points within ten days. Credit Rent Boost claims their customer’s average score increases by 30–100 points in less than two weeks.
How much does it cost to report my rent?
If your landlord subscribes to a rent reporting service, you may not have to pay a fee to report your rent payments. The fees you’ll pay as a tenant are relatively similar across services. You’ll find some for as low as $2.95 a month if you pay for the yearly subscription upfront or as high as $9.95 a month charged monthly; additional charges for past rent reporting vary by provider and the number of past months you want to report.
What if the rent reporting service is unable to verify my past or current landlord?
You can sign up for a rent reporting service without your landlord or property manager’s involvement. This allows you to report your rent and gain credit for a positive payment history while working around a landlord who doesn’t want to take online payments, verify monthly payments, or accept credit card payments.
With a rent reporting service like MOCAFI, you set up an account that links to your checking account. They will identify recurring bill payments, such as rent, and report them to the credit bureaus. Instead of you mailing a separate check to your landlord, using a credit card, or another online payment processor, MOCAFI mails a check to your landlord and immediately debits your checking account. To the landlord or property manager, the check is like any others they receive for rent payments. Then MOCAFI reports the payment to the credit bureaus on your behalf.
LevelCredit is another service that reports your payments for standard, recurring bills such as rent, cell phone, water, gas, and electric utilities. LevelCredit links directly to your bank account, scans for rent and utility payments and reports those payments to the credit bureaus. There is no need for your property manager or landlord to get involved in the process.
RentTrack is available for renters to use without landlord participation. If you submit your rent by e-check, you pay RentTrack a monthly flat fee of $2.95 to report your payments to the credit bureaus. You’ll be charged 2.95% of your rent if you pay by credit or debit card.
PaymentReporting links directly to your checking account to verify your rent payment and report it to the credit bureaus. There is no need to ask your landlord to verify your residency or payments.
Ask your landlord if they subscribe to a reporting service or find a service you like and pitch it to your landlord as a benefit they can offer tenants that will also boost on-time rent payments.
If your landlord does not want to participate in rent reporting, you may be able to pay your rent with a credit card and at least build your credit history by making on-time card payments. You can also consider a credit card like Bilt Mastercard, which will send your landlord a check while you pay the card, which gets reported to the credit bureau.
Choose a rent reporting service you can count on
Building your credit is an ongoing process. Paying your rent and utilities on time demonstrates a track record of making consistent payments. Depending on the reporting service you choose, you may see an improvement in your credit score almost immediately, or at least within a couple of months. If you include your past on-time payments, that also helps boost your credit.
Take a close look at the rates for different services and how they are structured – consider all the upfront fees, and don’t skip the fine print.
Finally, note whether a reporting service reports to all three credit bureaus or only one or two of them; many do not report to all three. The benefit you gain from a service that reports to all three is that no matter which credit report a landlord or property manager reviews when you apply for an apartment, your past rent payments will be on your credit history, earning you credibility and promoting you as a responsible tenant.
RentSpree will soon offer a rent reporting service so tenants can sign up, independently from their landlord, to take advantage of every timely rent payment. Through the RentSpree platform, tenants can make convenient online rent payments, apply for multiple rental units with one application, and go through the tenant screening process, all online. Your rent reporting service is one tool you can control to improve your credit; be sure to take advantage of such a service when it’s offered.