Experian Boost Beta Adds Rent Payment Reporting Feature
As many Americans are now aware, the United States credit system has some notable flaws. Among them is the fact that, in order to build credit, you typically need someone to extend you credit, creating a bit of a “Catch 22.” Additionally, even though consumers might regularly pay bills for utilities, cell phones, and rent on time, such payments traditionally had no impact on their credit. That’s where Experian’s Boost product came in — and, now, the credit bureau is launching a notable new feature for their service.
This week, Experian announced that it has launched a beta release of Boost that now enables renters to report “positive” residential rent payments. In turn, these payment histories will be added to their Experience credit file, possibly increasing their FICO score with the bureau. Experian says that this new feature is now the only one that can “instantly improve a consumer’s FICO Score 8 through positive rent payments at no cost.”
The rental reporting feature will reportedly be offered to renters who pay their rent to their management companies via such platforms as AppFolio Property Management, Buildium, Yardi Breeze, or Zillow Rental Manager. This line-up will apparently include more than 1,500 property management companies. Moreover, Experian says that new property management companies and platforms will be evaluated and added to the beta during its rollout, with support for individual landlords, as well as smaller property management companies joining the feature “over time.”
According to “preliminary analysis” from Experian, 66% of consumers who report positive payments using Boost will see an increase in their FICO Score 8. Of those who do see an increase (and who haven’t previously used Boost), the average improvement is nearly 10 points, while those with thin credit files or low FICO scores saw improvements of approximately 14 points. Finally, when reporting rental payments in conjunction with other Experian Boost eligible bills — including utilities, telecoms, and streaming services — new users saw an average increase of nearly 19 points.
Announcing the added feature, Experian Consumer Services’s president of Direct to Consumer Jeff Softley said, “Experian Boost is a gamechanger and we’re excited to launch the first phase of this new enhancement that will allow consumers to instantly add rental payments to their Experian credit file.” He added, “We are committed to continually improving Experian Boost to bring financial power to all.”
Although third-party rental payment reporting services had previously existed, it’s encouraging to see Experian is now adding such a feature to its Boost platform. The only downside is that these increases will only impact consumers’ Experian scores. Considering that there’s not often a way to know what bureau’s report a creditor will pull, consumers may not be able to easily leverage their improved score. Nevertheless, hopefully the Boost service continues to expand — and, with any luck, perhaps other credit bureaus will roll out similar offerings down the road.