Build your credit rating while renting
While making on-time mortgage payments can help people build a credit history, paying rent did not — until now. The innovation comes at a good time, as higher prices are forcing some people to delay buying homes of their own.
Canadian company Borrowell, in partnership with Equifax Canada, recently introduced Rent Advantage, a monthly subscription service that reports rent payments to Equifax Canada, Canada’s largest credit bureau. Renters register with Borrowell and connect their bank account so rent payment data can be transmitted to Equifax. The service costs $5 per month and can be cancelled at any time without penalty.
Borrowell co-founder and CEO Andrew Graham said the payment history on someone’s credit report is the largest factor in determining their credit score. That is an important factor when lenders assess a borrower’s credit worthiness. Those folks with lower credit scores often find it harder to qualify for mortgages, credit cards and other loans. The interest rates they eventually obtain are often higher.
Graham believes this is a great opportunity for the approximately 3.8 million Canadians with sub-660 credit scores. While 32 per cent of Canadian households identify as renters, that rate more than doubles to 68 per cent for those with credit scores below 660.
Rent Advantage also debuts at a time when rising home prices are forcing many Canadians to delay buying their first houses. That means more people renting for longer periods. Why shouldn’t they get credit for paying their rent on time, so when they do take the leap to home ownership, they have the credit rating they’ve earned?
It doesn’t take much for borrowers to put themselves in a better position. Borrowell said those with credit scores in the 660-680 range can start gaining access to better rates.
“We want to make the credit system work better for underserved Canadians,” Graham said. “This program was built with renters in mind and allows them to use payments they’re already making to build credit history so they may qualify for more financial products at better rates in the future. Tenants who demonstrate good payment behaviour should be able to benefit from those actions, the same way a homeowner paying a mortgage would – it’s only fair.”
For more information visit borrowell.com/rent-advantage
East Kildonan community correspondent
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org