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8 rent-reporting services to build credit

Build credit without a credit card using rent and utility reporting services like these.

Most landlords and rental property companies don’t automatically report your on-time rent payments, and utility companies don’t typically report on-time payments, either. Even if you pay your rent and utility bills on time every month, your credit score likely won’t improve from it.

Rent-reporting services can add your on-time rent payments to your credit reports, which can improve your credit score. Some of these services can also add utility payments, phone bills, and even subscription services like Netflix.

8 rent and utility reporting services to improve credit

A rent-reporting service is really only worth your time if you stay on top of your payments, and isn’t too expensive. To get the most out of these services, be sure it reports to multiple credit bureaus. And you can rest easy — these services don’t usually check your credit score.

StellarFi

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StellarFi offers rent, utility and other monthly bill reporting. It's a credit reporting app that comes with a virtual bill pay card that's used to pay your regular bills. When you apply for the card there's no credit check, interest charges or opening deposit. But it's not free. You can report up to $500 in monthly bill payments with the Lite plan for $4.99 per month, or report up to $25,000 in bills with the $9.99 Prime plan. But it doesn't report to TransUnion and you can report bills that are paid via ACH transfer.

Experian Boost®

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From the credit bureau itself, Experian Boost® is a free rent-reporting service that scans bank accounts to locate monthly bills that can be added to your Experian credit report. It can report rent payments, as well as other monthly expenses like phone or utility bills. There's also the Experian Smart Money Digital Checking Account that's automatically linked to Experian Boost, which also has no monthly fees. However, Boost only reports to Experian®.
Results will vary. Not all payments are boost-eligible. Some users may not receive an improved score or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost®. Learn more.

Cushion

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The Cushion app offers credit-building opportunities by reporting accounts that aren't usually reported with its virtual Cushion card. There are three plan options. Organizer is free and helps you organize your bills and has budgeting tools, but doesn't offer any reporting. The BNPL Builder plan is $4.99 per month which lets you report BNPL bills. The Pro plan for $12.99 per month and can report subscription and utility bills. However, Cushion only reports to Experian.

Self Credit Builder

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Easily one of the best options, Self is a top rent-reporting service that offers free rent reporting to the three major bureaus. You can opt for the paid plan of $6.95 per month to report utility and cell phone bills. And you can also pay an additional $49.95 one-time fee for LookBack to get up to two years of past rent payments reported. Self also offers credit-building loans and a secured card for additional credit-boosting services. The only downside is the fee for reporting utility payments, but rent reporting is completely free.

Boom Pay

One of the cheaper options, Boom Pay charges a $10 enrollment fee and a low $2 annual fee for rent reporting to all three major credit bureaus. It also offers retroactive reporting back to 24 months. After you sign up, Boom Pay updates your credit report as soon as 10 days. But it doesn't offer utility reporting.

Rental Kharma

A flexible option, Rental Kharma lets you report your rent payments no matter how you pay for rent: Cash, check, P2P or online. There's a $75 setup fee and an $8.95 monthly fee that starts 30 days after setup. Compared to other options, it's more lenient in how you pay for rent as some rent-reporting services can only help if you pay with your primary bank account. But Rental Kharma is on the more expensive side, doesn't report to Experian, and doesn't offer utility reporting.

Rent Reporters

Rent Reports lets you report rent payments to Equifax and TransUnion. Compared to other rent-reporting services, it reports the most retroactive rent payments: Up to four years. While it comes at a high monthly fee compared to other options, if you've been paying your rent on time for years this service might be the best option to get past payments reported. But it doesn't report to Experian, charges a high one-time set up fee of $94.95 and a monthly fee of $9.95, and doesn't offer utility reporting.

Esusu Rent

Esusus Rent offers rent-reporting and rent-relief services, and reports to all three credit bureaus. It never reports late or missed payments — though your property manager might. But it'll cost a property manager $3,500 to set up, and renters pay an annual $50 fee, making it one of the less accessible options for renters.

Is rent reporting worth it?

There aren’t many downsides to signing up for a rent-reporting service, so long as you can get a free or affordable one. If you’re already paying your rent on time, a reporting service can be well worth your time if you want to build credit history. And if you’re late on a rent payment, the late payment was likely going to be reported as late, anyway. However, just make sure you can afford the service, because late payments on that could cause credit score damage.

A rent-reporting service can be worth it in these situations:

  • You don’t want to take on debt to build credit
  • You’re trying to repair your credit score
  • You have no credit history
  • You plan on renting for at least one year
  • You pay your rent on time, every time
  • You can easily afford the monthly fee of a rent-reporting service

How to compare rent-reporting services

There are three things to consider when choosing the best rent or utility reporting service:

  1. Cost. If you’re bending over backward to afford a rent-reporting service, it might not be worth it. If you miss a payment, that could negatively impact your credit score, and you’re likely to opt for rent reporting to improve your credit score. Make sure you can easily afford the fee or choose a free one, such as Self or Experian Boost.
  2. Reporting action. Not all rent-reporting services will report to the three major credit bureaus. Ideally, you want a service that reports to all three, because if a lender pulls your credit score, they may use any of the three to do it, so you’ll want that positive credit history everywhere.
  3. Ease of setup. Some options are more streamlined than others. Many rent-reporting services will need to verify your lease or rental agreement before they can report your rent payments, but others like Experian Boost® can simply scan your bank accounts for eligible bills.

4 alternatives to rent-reporting services

Rent-reporting services aren’t the only way to build credit without taking on a massive loan.

  1. Debit-credit cards. These unique credit-building cards work like debit cards since they’re backed by an existing bank account. You can only spend what’s in your linked account, and most don’t charge annual fees or interest charges.
  2. Secured credit cards. An alternative to regular credit cards, secured credit cards are backed by a cash deposit that also sets your credit limit. Compared to regular credit cards, they tend to be easier to qualify for.
  3. Become an authorized user. If someone you know is willing, they can add you as an authorized user on their existing credit card. You can earn credit history from the card without having to take on a credit card on your own.
  4. Rent-reporting credit cards. While rare, there are a few, such as the Bilt Mastercard. If you make at least five transactions in a statement period using this card, you can earn rewards points, and Bilt will report rent payments if you rent with a Bilt property. Even if you don’t rent a Bilt property, the card is a traditional credit line, so you can still build a credit history with it.

Bottom line

If you don’t have any active loans or credit cards, you’re probably not building a credit history. Rent-reporting services can help you earn credit history on bills you’re already paying, so you don’t have to take on debt just for the sake of proving you pay things on time.

If rent or utility reporting services don’t seem like your cup of tea, look to our comprehensive guide on how to build credit for more options.

Frequently asked questions

Can I report my rent payments to the credit bureaus myself?

Unfortunately, you can’t contact a credit bureau yourself and request to add your rent payments to your credit reports. If you want your rent payments on your credit reports, you can either contact your landlord or rental property manager and request they opt into a rent-reporting service, or you can sign up for one on your own.

Does my landlord need to approve my rent reporting?

You probably don’t need to worry about your landlord approving it. Some rent-reporting services require your landlord or property manager to verify your rent payments, or you may need to ask your landlord for a copy of the lease if you don’t have one handy to send to the rent-reporting service for verification. Overall, most rent-reporting services may just need proof of a lease and likely won’t involve your landlord much at all.

But for some services, such as Esusu Rent, your landlord must sign up for the service and pay a $3,500 sign-up fee.

Does Bilt do rent reporting?

Bilt does offer rent reporting. However, it’s only for Bilt Alliance tenants. Bilt states that if you want to know if you rent with a Bilt Alliance property, simply ask your property manager. However, Bilt does offer other benefits for renters with its Bilt Mastercard that can earn rewards for paying rent.

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Alexa Serrano Cruz as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by

Editor, Banking

Bethany Hickey is the banking editor and personal finance expert at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, GOBankingRates, SuperMoney, AOL and Newsweek. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. See full bio

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