by Barbara Nevins Taylor
There’s a really big question about whether paying a company to report your rent payments helps improve your credit score.
ConsumerMojo.com found one company, RentReporters.com promotes its service to “boost your credit.” It asks you to pay $9.95 upfront and then $9.95 a month. Its website says it collects information about your rent payments and in the Terms of Service says, “Your account might show up on one or many of the major bureau reports.”
Copy on the homepage claims that it “actually helps improve your credit profile by reporting your monthly rental payments.” But Anthony Sprauve, a spokesman for FICO, the company that compiles credit scores used by major financial institutions, told ConsumerMojo.com, “the impact to the score is very weak”
In addition, the major credit bureaus do not get information from RentReporters. ConsumerMojo.com checked with all three bureaus.
TransUnion spokesperson Clifton O’Neal said, “RentReporters is not a data furnisher to TransUnion.” Experian spokesperson Kristine Snyder said, “They do not file reports with Experian at this time.” And Equifax spokesperson Meredith Griffanti said, “…we do not load any data from RentReporters.com to our consumer credit database.”
RentReporters President and Founder Crispin Luna IV told ConsumerMojo, “RentReporters started a new industry – it broke the mold of the previously paper-only process and became the first company to automate that process of rental payment reporting.
As ‘rental payment reporting’ was unheard of early on, the acceptance of rental payment information was slow in adoption from the top credit reporting agencies. In early 2005, RentReporters.com was the first company to begin reporting rental accounts to Pay Rent, Build Credit Inc. (PRBC). In 2008, PRBC was acquired by MicroBilt Inc., a company well known for long lasting innovations in the credit data markets.” He explained that, “The PRBC system creates the opportunity to connect the estimated 40 million consumers underserved by the current credit reporting system to the thousands of lenders needing rental information during the underwriting process.”
Luna also said that the PRBC data is used in the FICO Expansion Score, which uses credit information from alternative sources.
WHAT IT MEANS
Okay. We asked FICO about how much the information RentReporters.com puts into PRBC system affects your FICO score. FICO Director of Public Relations Anthony Alexander Sprauve said, “The FICO Expansion Score-Mortgage version does use PRBC data in the calculation of the score. However, I would guess that PRBC data is very limited in coverage, and I know that when it does factor in, its impact to the score is very weak.”
You have to evaluate whether paying $9.95 a month is worth it for you.
The Federal Trade Commission spokesperson Elizabeth Lordan says, “Consumers can’t go wrong by checking their credit reports themselves. It’s free and it empowers consumers to take charge of their own finances. They can see for themselves whether creditors are accurately reporting information about them to the credit bureaus.”
Remember you can check your credit report for free three times a year at annualcreditreport.com
Watch ConsumerMojo.com’s video How to Improve My Credit-The Truth