Rent payments are not always included in credit scores because they are not routinely reported to credit bureaus. However, rent is the largest monthly expense for many people. Approximately 25% of renters spend more than half of their income on rent, and nearly 50% spend more than 30% of their income on rent.
If you pay your rent on time each month, you could stand to gain from rent payment reporting, especially since 35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. If you’re looking for a way to boost your credit score or just want credit for making your rent payments on time, there are some options for reporting rent payments to the credit bureaus.
Check With Your Landlord
Your landlord already may report rent payments to the credit bureaus using a service that handles the process. RentBureau partners with Experian. Esusu and Zingo partner with Equifax. Zego reports to both Experian and TransUnion.
Timely rent payments will help boost your credit score if your landlord reports them, but late payments can have a negative impact on your score.
Credit bureaus don’t share information with each other, so rent payments reported through some services won’t necessarily appear on all three credit reports.
Use a Credit Card To Pay Your Rent
While your rent payments won’t be listed as a separate tradeline on your credit report, using your credit card for your rent still can boost your credit score. Check to see whether your landlord accepts credit card payments, and note any service fees that might be charged for using a credit card. If you’re using a rewards credit card to pay your rent, you can earn points or cash back on your rent payments.
When you use a credit card to pay your rent, make sure to pay off your full balance just as if you were paying rent. That’s the best way to stay out of debt, improve your credit score, and get the full benefit of making timely rent payments.
Use a Rent Reporting Service
There are several companies that will report rent payments on your behalf. Monthly fees vary between services, and some charge an initial enrollment fee to get started. In some cases, your landlord may have to verify your rent payments for them to be included in your credit report. Note that even when rent payments are included in your credit report, they may not be included in your credit score calculation.
- Rental Kharma will add up to six months of past rent payments to your credit report. The registration fee is $50 per person and the monthly charge is $8.95 as of March 2020. Your entire rental history can be added for a fee of $30 or $60, depending on how long you’ve been at your current address. Rental Kharma reports to TransUnion.
- Rent Reporters has a sign-up fee of $94.95 and charges $9.95 for monthly credit bureau reporting as of March 2020. Once you sign up, Rent Reporters verifies your rental history with your landlord and then reports the tradeline to the credit bureaus. The service includes a copy of your credit score. Rent Reporters reports to TransUnion.
- Rock the Score verifies your rent payments with your landlord each month and updates your credit score with your payment information. You’ll pay $25 to enroll in the service and $8.95 each month for ongoing reporting as of March 2020. There’s also an option to add 24 months of rental payment history to your credit report. Rock the Score reports to TransUnion and Equifax.
- Zingo was free as of March 2020 for renters to report their own payments, but it costs $89.99 to add up to 12 months of rental history. Zingo reports to Equifax.
Making Rent Payments
If you enroll in a rent reporting service, make sure you understand whether you’ll continue to pay your rent directly to your landlord or whether you’ll make payments to the service provider.
Pay your rent on time each month even when it’s not reported to the credit bureaus. Late payments can lead to an eviction that could ultimately land on your credit report through a collection or judgment. At that point, the late rent payments hurt your credit score rather than help it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does not paying your rent affect your credit?
A missed rent payment only affects your credit report if your landlord reports your rent payments to the credit bureaus. To determine whether that's the case, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each bureau and see if information from your landlord shows up on any of the reports.
How much does rent affect my credit score?
There has been an effort in recent years to more consistently include rental data on consumer credit reports. Thus far, this has not been implemented consistently, and there has yet to be a significant impact from rent payments on consumer credit scores.