Does paying rent build credit?
Here’s the short answer: yes, paying rent can build credit, according to financial bodies such as Chase bank.
But it won't happen automatically. You’ll need to sign up to a rent-reporting service, and this might cost a small fee.
If you have a low credit score or short credit history, using timely rent payments can be one of many ways to add to your credit score.
(Looking for further ways to build credit? You can work on your credit with bill payments too. Keep scrolling).
Before we explain how you can go about this, we’ll take a look at why paying your rent can build your credit score. So you can understand what the heck is going on with the numbers.
What is a credit score?
Experian, one of the big three credit bureaus, explains your credit score like this:
“A credit score reflects how reliable you are when it comes to repaying money. Your credit score is based on how you’ve handled money in the past. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of being accepted for credit, and at the best rates.”
Ok, makes sense. But the part that is relevant for you, is what factors are taken into account when building your credit score.
Once your credit history has been reported to the credit bureaus, it is generated into a credit score by companies such as FICO. FICO explains how this score is calculated:
- 35% is based on your on-time payment record.
- 30% is based on credit utilization.
- 15% is based on length of credit history.
- 10% is based on credit mix.
- 10% is based on recent borrowing inquiries.
So the largest factor is on-time payments. This means you can work on your credit score by ensuring that you always pay bills on time, and sometimes, by reporting your rent payment.
Credit-scoring companies vary in how they report rental payments
Unfortunately, while it is possible to report your rental payments, it isn’t always taken into account in your credit score. It depends on the credit-scoring company.
- Some common versions of the FICO score do not take rental payment into account when calculating credit scores.
- Newer versions of FICO such as FICO 9 and 10 do consider rental payment information.
- Vantage Score does also consider rent payment information
The good news is that paying rent is sometimes taken into account. And building credit is all about covering as many bases as you can to slowly work on your score.
How to get started using your rent payments to build credit
- First off: speak with your landlord. There’s a chance they might already be signed up for a rent-reporting service. Either way, they’ll have to agree to accept your rental payments through a rent-reporting service each month.
- Research the right rent-reporting service for you. Take into account the cost and which credit bureaus they report to. Piñata is one option that doesn’t charge a fee. Other services often vary between $8-15 a month.
- Look to other ways to build credit using regular monthly payments you make, such as by using Cleo’s credit builder to pay your bills…
Use bill payments to work on your credit score with the Credit Builder Card*
Here’s how it works:
💙 The amount you add to your security deposit becomes your credit limit (there’s a minimum deposit of$1)
💙 You spend the money on the card, and with autopay, you repay it automatically
➡️ Add bills or subscriptions so you drop the life admin and spend automatically. Killing two birds with one stone. You can also set up bill reminders and factor these bills into your Cleo budget.
💙 Cleo reports your payments to credit bureaus and (if they’re on time) you start building credit
Did we mention there’s…
💙 No interest
💙 No credit checks
Ready to give Cleo a try?
- You’ll be able to apply for the card once you sign up for the Cleo Builder subscription, which is $14.99 per month
- With the Builder tier subscription, you’ll have the option to apply for a cash advance of up to $270 (eligibility requirements apply)
- You’ll get access to Cashback rewards**, where you can get money back when you spend at some of your fave stores
- You get priority support to help you on your credit journey
- On top of this, you get access to all of Cleo’s free features. Duh
Want more rent-related money hacks? Try these 7 tips for saving money on rent.
*The Credit Builder Card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Access to the Card is subject to approval.