Building up your credit score can be tricky for some, but there’s often one big elephant in the room that no one ever seems to want to talk about: rental payments. Renting is the single largest expense most people face. When your rental payment hits your bank account, there’s no way that you don’t notice. Although we know that rent is much higher (especially in coastal cities), the median rent across the US is about $1062 (according to 2019 population estimates).
And once you factor in utilities, health insurance, food, and other costs, you might be backed into a corner when it comes to making big enough credit card payments that could actually make a dent in your debt. So, rather than have to scrimp and save to make bigger payments to improve your score, cut your debt down to size by reporting your rental payment history to NCRAS.
NCRAs are national credit reporting agencies. Their job is to collect borrower data across the US to evaluate whether or not they pay their dues on time when given a line of credit.
There are three NCRAs: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each credit union reports your activity and then averages out your three scores to create your FICO score. Your FICO score is then adapted to different scoring models depending on what kind of credit you need. Which means that your credit score is different when you apply for a mortgage, vs when you apply for a car loan or another credit card.
While all of this information will make anyone’s head spin, the important thing to remember is that there are several different ways to raise your score. However, the most overlooked one is rental reporting.
In order to make sure your rental payments are being reported correctly to credit bureaus, you’ll have to do one of two things: ask your landlord or property manager if they already use a software that reports your payments to credit bureaus such as Experian; or enroll in a third party rental payment subscription service that’ll handle your payments and report them to NCRAs.
Some of the most common third party applications to report rental payments include:
Personally, I thought Boom Pay was a fantastic company. They have an app that makes for easy payment and enrollment, and the company has a very fast turnaround time for customer service and satisfaction. It was also one of the only third party rental payment companies that provided me with upfront subscription pricing.
And if you’re thinking that it’s too bad you couldn’t report your past rental payment history, you actually can! This’ll help you qualify for a mortgage with Fannie Mae faster since their recent updates to their underwriting systems.
Lastly, to keep track of how your FICO score is being affected in real time, make sure to sign up with MyFICO. The app costs about $40 per month, but it gives you identity theft reports, several FICO score models so that you can see your eligibility for a variety of loans, and monthly, in-depth credit reports.
Once you’ve got all of that set up, you should see a noticeable increase in your credit score. Plus, with the MyFICO app, you’ll be able to identify mistakes on your credit reports and call one of the bureaus to dispute it if necessary.
Equifax: 1 (888) 548-7878
Experian: 1 (888) 397-3742
TransUnion: 1 (800) 916-8800