A lot of people who don’t have much of a credit history do have a history of paying rent on time. But that information doesn't show up on their credit reports, and doesn't help their credit scores.
Whether they’re saving up for a home of their own or choosing to stay in the rental market for other reasons, renters are renting longer than ever (paywall). Seeing that rent is one of the most common and largest monthly payments, you might think it amounts to more than paying to reside in a home, but unlike credit card payments that contribute to credit scores, rent historically has not contributed to a renter’s financial success.
You can’t report rent payments yourself. But rent-reporting services can get your credit reports to reflect your rent payments fairly easily, at a cost that ranges from free — if your landlord pays it — to more than $100 a year.
To use a rent-reporting service effectively, you’ll need to know which credit bureaus it will report your payments to — and which credit scores take those payments into account.
It's also important to understand that this may not be the most cost-effective way for you to build your credit with all three credit bureaus and to understand your alternatives.
All three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — will include rent payment information in credit reports if they receive it.
Credit reports in turn provide the data that go into your credit scores. The two major credit scoring companies, FICO and VantageScore, vary in how they handle rent payment information:
The most commonly used versions of the FICO score don’t use rental payment information in calculating scores.
VantageScore, FICO’s competitor, also considers rent payment information.