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August 5th 2023

How to report your rent to credit bureaus

Most households pay rent responsibly and on time, but that track record of on-time payments has historically not been reflected in their credit history.

Nova Credit is a cross-border credit bureau that allows newcomers to apply for U.S. credit cards, phone plans, and loans using their foreign credit history.

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Nearly 43 million households—approximately 36% of the United States population—are made up of renters. Most of these households pay their rent responsibly and on time, but that track record of on-time payments has historically not been reflected in their credit history. That’s beginning to change due to newer credit scoring models that use rent payment info in the calculation of credit scores.

Consistently paying your rent on time can help improve your credit score. A 2017 study by Experian and the City of New York found that 76% of renters who reported their rental payments experienced a boost to their credit score. 

In this article, we explain how you can—and why you should—start reporting your rent to credit bureaus.

What is rent reporting?

Your credit score is driven by a variety of factors in your underlying credit report, including repayment behavior, age of credit accounts, utilization, and more. Banks and other lenders will report this information to credit bureaus, who build your credit report over time. From this credit report generated by the bureaus, other third-party companies will create credit scores based on the report.

Increasingly, the credit bureaus are innovating in new sources of data such as rental and utility payment information to bolster the traditional credit data on your track record. Getting your rent reported to the major credit bureaus is commonly known as “rent reporting”, and can be a powerful tool if you’re just starting to build your history after moving to the country.

Rent reporting was first introduced in 2010 when Experian launched an opt-in program that allowed on-time rent payments to be considered when evaluating credit scores. Since then, rent reporting platforms, like Esusu, have been established to help property owners implement the service and  offer renters the opportunity to establish and build credit and, therefore, wealth. 

By reporting on-time rental payments to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), renters can build credit without taking on additional debt. The objective is to grant renters the same credit benefits that homeowners receive for making mortgage payments.

How to report your rent to the credit bureaus:

Good news: it’s becoming more common for landlords to report their tenants’ rental history to credit bureaus, but it’s not yet considered standard practice. If you’re interested in improving your credit history or simply want to receive due credit for being a responsible renter, there are a few ways you can report your rental payments to credit bureaus.

Talk to your landlord

It’s possible your landlord is already reporting your rental payment history through services like Experian RentBureau to encourage on-time rental payments and help you build their credit history. 

Remember, however, that even if your landlord uses Experian RentBureau, that doesn’t mean the other credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, will receive your rental payment history. In order for all three major credit bureaus to have your rental payment history, you might need to report your history yourself.

Contact rent payment services

There are services that can report your rent payments to the three major credit bureaus. 

Some of the most common options include:

Esusu: This is a free service for reporting rent to credit bureaus. On average, renters using Esusu’s on-time rent reporting service have witnessed a 45-point increase in their credit scores. This improvement is significant enough to elevate a renter from subprime to prime status, or even from prime to super-prime. If your property is not yet using their service, you can express interest in onboarding them.

RentTrack: This service reports to all three credit reporting agencies. If your landlord doesn’t use RentTrack, they’ll collect your rent for a $6.95 fee and then send a check to your landlord.

ClearNow. This service will take your rent from your checking or savings account. While there’s no cost to tenants, your landlord must sign up for ClearNow. If you opt in, your payments will be reported to Experian, one of the three main credit bureaus in the U.S. 

PayYourRent. This service reports to all three major credit reporting companies. Fees are dependent on how you choose to pay your rent. 

Cozy. This service is free to renters; landlords pay $9 a month per unit to receive auto-payments from tenant bank accounts, which are reported to Experian.

While the services above charge a few that applies to you and/or your landlord, if you want a cost-free option, you can try Experian Boost, a service that links with your bank account to report utility and phone service payments. Keep in mind that this service only reports scores to Experian. 

The takeaway

Reporting your rent payments to credit bureaus can certainly help increase your credit score. However, there are other ways that you can boost your credit report in parallel, including making any payments you owe on time—from car payments to student loans, medical bills, utility bills and credit cards.

A credit card is an especially powerful tool to build credit quickly. If you’ve recently moved to the U.S., you may be able to apply for U.S. credit cards using your foreign credit history—no U.S. credit history required. If approved, you can begin to build your credit history by responsibly managing that card.

Currently, Nova Credit serves individuals coming from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.

If you do not have a credit history abroad in one of these countries, consider becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card or starting off with a secured card to kickstart your credit building journey.

For more resources on how to navigate your new life in the U.S., visit Nova Credit’s resource library where you can learn about everything about the immigration process.

Use your foreign credit history to start your U.S credit history

New to the U.S.? Check if you can use your country's credit history in the U.S. to apply for credit cards and start your U.S credit history using Nova Credit.

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