While renting an apartment itself doesn’t usually build credit, you can have your on-time rental payments reported to the three major credit bureaus, which can help you build credit. That said, paying your rent on time won’t improve your credit unless you take the steps to report it to credit bureaus.
Let’s explore some of the best rent reporting services and how to choose which option will work best for you.
Do rent payments affect your credit?
There are three main credit bureaus, which include TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. However, credit reporting bureaus will only include rental payments on your credit report if your rental payments are sent to said credit reporting bureaus.
Normally, rent payments are not reported to credit bureaus unless you are months behind on your rent payments. That said, you can use rent reporting services to add your credit report to report rent to credit bureaus.
With these services in your arsenal, you can add rent to your credit report to build credit history. While rent payments will rarely ever negatively affect your credit score, rent reporting services can positively impact your score if you pay your rent on time.
How to report your rent to credit bureaus
Reporting your rent to credit bureaus is as simple as using a rent reporting service. Some rent reporting services are free, whereas others charge a small fee. You’ll generally sign up for these services and provide proof of on-time monthly rent payments on a continual basis. You can also get credit for utility payments to further boost your score.
Top rent-reporting services
The top rent reporting services offer ease of use for a significant credit boost. You can use them to add rent to your credit report as a one-time service or as a regular monthly subscription. Here are some of the top services out there.
Rent Reporters is one of the oldest rent reporting services. Rent Reporters has a reputation of excellent customer service and results. The average Rent Reporters customer will see a credit increase of 35 to 50 points within the first billing cycle.
Rent Reporters only reports to two credit bureaus, including TransUnion and Equifax. You can expect to pay $94.95 for 24 months’ worth of past rent reporting, in addition to a fee of $9.95 for your first month.
Rental Kharma has helped over 85,000 members. Some members have gone from having no credit score to a score of 650 within the first reporting cycle. Rental Kharma reports to two credit bureaus, those being TransUnion and Equifax.
Rental Khrama requests that landlords participate as a way of verifying rental payments. Furthermore, Rental Kharma charges an enrollment fee of $50, along with an $8.95 ongoing monthly cost. The company offers a free expedited service as well.
With LevelCredit, you can connect your rent payments to your bank account and automatically receive credit for your rent payments as well as your utility payments. LevelCredit bundles 24 months of payments to build credit quickly.
LevelCredit reports to TransUnion, and the cost for 24 past months of rental reporting is a $49.95 flat fee. Just keep in mind that ongoing monthly costs are $6.95 per month.
Rock the Score
When you pay rent and partner with Rock the Score, you can add rent to your credit report. Rock the Score reports to TransUnion and Equifax. You’ll have the option to add two years of rent history for $65 as well.
Rock the Score verifies the user’s rental history and then uploads the data to selected credit bureaus. Rental payments appear as a Tier-1 tradeline on credit reports within 30 days. The basic enrollment fee is $48, though there is an ongoing fee of $6.95 per month. There is also a $65 fee for reporting up to two years of past rent payments as well.
Esusu Rent benefits both renters and property managers by reporting rent payments to the three major credit bureaus. This can help renters build their credit scores while assisting property managers as they work to increase their bottom line.
With Esusu Rent, it has been reported that 3,465 people have gone from no credit to a high credit score with the help of Esusu Rent. Plus, the average renter increased their credit score by 51 points as well.
Esusu Rent is free, as long as your building or property manager is already enrolled. You can also pay a one-time fee of $50 for up to two years’ worth of past rental payments.
Last but not least, Esusu Rent has a rent relief program that is designed to help those experiencing financial hardship in the U.S. You can see if you qualify by filling out a simple two-minute application.
CreditMyRent is one of many rent reporting services. Unlike others on this list, CreditMyRent doesn’t charge a set-up fee, although the service’s monthly fees are a bit higher. The service also charges a fee if you want to report past rental payments.
CreditMyRent reports to TransUnion and Equifax. Also, CreditMyRent charges a monthly fee of $14.95 without charging you a set-up fee.
After registration, PaymentReport will verify payments and reports to two credit bureaus, including Equifax and TransUnion. PaymentReport charges a $49 enrollment fee for two years of rental history that will then be reported to two credit bureaus.
From there, PaymentReport does not charge any ongoing fees. Alternatively, you can opt for a free set-up process and agree to pay an ongoing monthly fee of $2.95 instead. With the second option, you can add past rent to your credit report for $0.50 per month.
Piñata is a free service that is available to all renters, no matter if their landlord signs up or not. Piñata reports to TransUnion, but in some cases, if a landlord signs up for a partnership with Piñata, rent payments can be reported to all three bureaus.
Bilt Rewards is a loyalty program that lets you earn points for paying rent. Renters who live on property that is partnered with Bilt Alliance can earn points that can be put towards future rent payments, hotels or flights.
All renters can earn points with the Bilt Rewards credit cards. Bilt Rewards is free, and this credit reporting service reports rent payments to all three credit bureaus.
ClearNow is a rent payment service that caters to property managers. It allows renters to set up automatic monthly rent payment deductions, which are reported to Experian.
Tenants can ask their landlords to use ClearNow, which is free for renters. Landlords need to pay $14.95 for the first monthly debit, with additional debits charged a fee of $2 per month. There are also biweekly payment options starting at $4 per debit.
You can only use PayYourRent if your landlord already uses it. With PayYourRent, you can quickly pay monthly rental costs via credit card or echeck.
There is no fee for renters seeing as fees are paid by the management. PayYourRent reports to all three credit bureaus as well.
How to choose a rent reporting service
Choosing a rent reporting service will depend on your needs and where you live. Does your landlord already subscribe to a rent reporting service? Do you need 24 months of past reports or are you only in need of reporting for current rental payments? Here are a few more considerations to think about while you work on choosing the right option for you.
Check with your landlord
If your landlord already has a rent reporting service, which is usually included with rent collection, checking with your landlord is usually the best choice. These services are generally free for renters and they tend to report to one, if not more, credit bureaus.
If your landlord uses a rent reporting service, start there. You can always use another service if you need broader reporting.
Which credit-reporting agencies
If you can, choose a rent reporting service that reports to all three credit bureaus. You never know which credit bureau a particular lender will use, but it’s better to be prepared and know that your credit report is strong across all three credit bureaus.
Consider the costs
The best price is usually free, but it will depend on the services offered as well as your needs. If you need a credit boost in a shorter period of time, paying a fee for 24 months for your past rent payment history may be worth it. Make sure you consider both one-time and ongoing costs.
Consider data protection
Many rent reporting services require you to grant them access to your bank account and your personal details, including your Social Security number. In the age of data theft and security breaches, you should only trust a company that has exceptional data protection, which can keep your data safe and secure.
Summary of rent reporting services
Does renting an apartment build credit? Yes, but this is only true if you use a rent reporting service. Ultimately, rent reporting services make a lot of sense if you have a low credit score or no credit score at all.
If you already responsibly manage one or more lines of credit and you have been doing so for several years, you’re unlikely to see a big credit boost. Rent reporting services that are free or low-cost make sense for most renters.
So, why not boost your credit with your on-time rental payments? Start by looking into rent reporting services available to you today.
What is the lowest credit score you need to rent an apartment?
The lowest credit score to rent an apartment will depend on the landlord or property manager’s specific criteria. That said, most landlords prefer a credit score of 600 or more. Some landlords will only consider a score of 700 or higher, while others are willing to consider clients without any credit history.
Why does rent not build credit?
Renting an apartment does not build credit unless it is reported to credit bureaus. If you use a rent reporting service, rent can build credit.
What credit score do landlords use?
Most landlords use FICO scores, but these can be obtained from different credit bureaus. For this reason, you’ll want to monitor your credit report and FICO scores with all three credit bureaus.