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Whether you have bad credit or no credit, having your rent payment information reported to the 3 major credit bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — can be a great way to give your credit score a boost.
But how do you get payment information to appear on your credit history?
Rent reporting is not automatic. It is a service that either you or the landlord has to obtain.
Without rent reporting, this payment data will never appear on your credit report, which means you could be missing out on a great way to build your credit score.
How to Report Rent Payments to a Credit Bureau for Free
The only way to get rent payments reported to the credit bureaus for free is to get your landlord to pay for it.
Ultimately, there is no way to report rent payments to the credit bureaus without somebody paying.
Rent payment reporting is not automatic. Many landlords can’t or don’t offer credit reporting services.
If your landlord or property manager does offer a rent reporting service, you might need to opt in to get your rent payments reported. Some landlords will do this for free while others might charge a small monthly fee (usually $1 or $2).
If your landlord processes tenants’ rent through a 3rd party company, this company may also offer rent reporting services. But they often charge a fee for this, so if your landlord is not willing to subsidize the fee, it will come out of your pocket.
The reason that landlords and payment companies often charge for rent reporting is that it is often not free for them to report your rental payments. They often need to pay hefty fees and meet stringent requirements just to have the privilege of reporting their tenants’ rent payments.
What to Do if Your Landlord Doesn’t Report Your Rent Payments
While most landlords will perform a credit inquiry and obtain credit information as a routine form of tenant screening, they almost never report rent payment history for you.
If your landlord or property manager doesn’t offer any kind of rent reporting, there are many 3rd party companies that directly offer tenant rent reporting services.
These companies charge you, the renter, a fee to have your payment data reported. This fee can range from just a few dollars a month up to hundreds of dollars upfront.
Once you sign up, many of these companies will need to contact your landlord to verify your rent agreement, payment history, and more. This can be a problem for renters with a landlord who is difficult to get a hold of or is uncooperative.
The good news is that some of the rent reporting companies on the market work directly with tenants. No need to contact your landlord, they simply look at your bank statements to verify on-time rent payments.
One company in particular that excels at this model of service is BoomPay.
When you use BoomPay’s service, they work directly with you. You can pay your monthly rent directly through their app, and they send this payment history to all three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, & Experian) each month.
Why Use BoomPay
Boom is an affordable rent reporting service that sends information to all three credit bureaus.
BoomReport is the feature for sending your rent payment information to the credit bureaus each month. For the cost of $3/month ($2/month if you pay for the full year in advance), BoomReport will send your ongoing payment history to all three credit bureaus each month.
For a one-time $25 fee, BoomReport will send your rental payment history, up to two years’ worth, to all three credit bureaus.
Using the monthly service will require you to use the BoomPay app where you’ll need to link to either your rent payment portal or the bank account that your rent payments come out of.
In addition to their rent reporting services, Boom offers their customers flexible rent payment options through the BoomPay app.
BoomSplit is a feature that allows you to split your rent bill into smaller installment payments. This way, if you get paid weekly, you can pay a small portion of your rent each week instead of coming up with the full amount in one shot.
Boom is one of only a handful of services that operates with zero input from your landlord, and Boom has one of the lowest price points for their services.
It’s also the only rent reporting service that reports your rent to all three credit bureaus. None of their competitors report to Experian.
How Much Can BoomPay Raise My Credit Score By?
How much you can expect your credit score to increase will depend on your existing credit profile as well as the quality of rent payments you are reporting (i.e. length of rent history).
On the Boom website, they claim that their typical customers can see a credit score increase of anywhere between 5 and 100 points.
Generally speaking, if you have a thin credit profile, a low credit score, or no credit score, then you could see a substantial increase. And your credit score will continue rising each month that you pay your rent on time (and use BoomReport).
If you already have a thick credit profile or a decent FICO score, then your score will likely not increase as much.
Also Read: Best Apps for Landlords to Collect Rent
If you miss a rent payment or have a history of late payments, this could damage your credit score instead of improving it. Having a history of late rent payments means you might want to skip BoomReport’s past payment history feature or pass on rent reporting altogether.
While Boom offers a lot of features for a low cost, their service is not for everyone.
If you are renting a place with multiple roommates, then exploring an option like Credit Rent Boost might be better. They offer discounts for multiple renters and a customized package for reporting past payment history.
For a feature-filled service, Rent Reporters is a decent alternative. While they have a higher price point, they offer free credit reports, support for up to 4 years of rent payment history, and a 48-hour money-back guarantee if you don’t like the changes to your credit report or score.
These are just two alternatives to Boom and there are many more. Check out our comparison list for a review of the best rent reporting services.
Also Read: BoomPay Review
Can You Build Credit Off Paying Rent?
Yes, you can build credit by paying your rent on time every month.
Reported rent payments will help build the payment history portion of your credit, which makes up 35% of your overall credit score.
Only rental payments that are reported will help you build credit.
How Much Does it Cost to Report to the Credit Bureaus?
The cost for rent reporting varies from service to service.
If your landlord or rent payment company offers to send rental payment data to a credit reporting agency, you may be able to get the service at little to no cost.
Using a 3rd party service like BoomPay to report your rent will range in cost from anywhere between $2/month to over $10/month.
Does Paying Rent With a Credit Card Build Credit?
If you are paying off your credit card statement every month, then yes, paying your rent with a credit card can help build credit, but this is not a good method for building your credit history.
This is because the high dollar total charged to your credit card could result in a high utilization rate, and most landlords and payment processors will pass along the hefty fee they get charged by your lender or creditor for processing the credit card.
Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.