Building up your credit can be tough. But fixing bad credit or improving your credit score is even harder. Especially if you’re a renter.
Traditionally, rent was not reported to credit bureaus as part of your credit history. However, there are some new options that allow you to use your on-time rental payments to boost your credit.
If you’re looking for such a credit-building service, then you may be interested in Rental Kharma.
Rental Kharma review
Traditionally, people used products like secured credit cards to fix their bad credit. And while missing rent payments could land you in collections, they otherwise have little relevant impact on your credit score.
However, credit agencies are coming around to the fact that paying rent can and should affect your credit history.
Some landlords have integrated systems to report rent payments on your credit. Yet, other independent landlords and smaller companies are unlikely to do so. Unless you are potentially using a third-party rent payment system like RentPayment.com provided by your landlord.
If you are like most people, you probably don’t have automatic rent reporting on your credit report. That’s because most landlords don’t report your rent payments to Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, the big three credit bureaus.
Enter Rental Kharma.
Rental Kharma products
Primarily, Rental Kharma Offers a monthly credit reporting product for renters. They will verify that your rent has been paid, then report it to TransUnion for inclusion on your credit report.
Essentially, Rental Kharma works with your current landlord and reports on time (or late) rent payments to TransUnion.
We all know having a high credit score can be very valuable. And a solid credit history can be the difference between being approved or not approved for a new credit card or loan.
There is no guarantee or exact way to know exactly how much your rental payments will improve your credit score. Especially because your rent will now be treated as a new credit line on your credit report. This is similar to a credit card, loan, or line of credit.
However, an excellent credit score can help you get the best interest rates possible. These, in turn, can potentially help you save tens of thousands of dollars on a mortgage or auto loan.
Bonus tip: You can get your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus for free each year through AnnualCreditReport.com. And you don’t have to get your three credit reports all at once. I get one every four months.
Behind the scenes with Rental Kharma
Rental Kharma’s service has a $40 one-time signup fee, and a recurring $9.95 per month fee as long as you use the service.
Once you are signed up, everything happens automatically for you behind the scenes. And while it does not cost your landlord anything to participate, they have to agree to participate and verify that your rent was paid each month.
Rental Kharma’s service works if you are the primary renter, on a sublease, split your rent with roommates, or split your rent payment reporting with a spouse. As long as you are a renter and the landlord or building manager agrees to participate, you are good to go.
It is important to note that if you are late or miss your rent, it will be reported as late on your credit. Thankfully, you have a 30 day grace period before Rental Kharma will report rent to the credit bureau as late.
Using the Rental Kharma online platform
Signing up for Rental Kharma is a fast, online process.
Start by heading to the Rental Kharma homepage. Then, click the big button to get started at the bottom of some pages. Or, the navigation menu at the top of the page.
On the first page, you are prompted to add basic contact information: your name, email, and phone number.
On the next page, you are prompted to add information about your credit goals, address, and current lease information. You’re also given the option to enroll a spouse or roommate for a $15 discount.
On the final screen, you enter your social security number for credit reporting and pay the signup fee.
On the last page, you are also given an option to build your credit faster by including rent from the last 24 months.
Whether it was at the same place you are renting now or from a prior landlord, Rental Kharma offers this service for $5 per month for up to 24 months of history. If you choose that option, your signup fee is then $160 (24 months x $5 + $40 signup fee).
While testing the platform, I did come across a couple of bugs. I was redirected to a “completed signup” page when I had not entered anything into a form. This was during my first attempt at using the Rental Kharma system.
For landlords and property managers, Rental Kharma offers credit screening services as part of TransUnion’s SmartMove system.
SmartMove reports screen for credit, criminal, and eviction history for $25-$35 per screening depending on the features needed. In this case, Rental Kharma is acting as a referrer to TransUnion’s SmartMove.
Rental Kharma interest rates and fees
Their basic rent reporting service costs $9.95 per month after a $40 one-time signup fee. For past rent that you want to be included on your credit report, Rental Kharma will verify up to 24 months of history for $5 per month.
Spouses and roommates are eligible for a $15 signup discount when referred by someone else singing up at the same time.
Rental Kharma has a referral program if you send a friend their way. You both get two months of the service for free and you each save about $20 with this offer.
You can also refer up to five friends at once. And if you refer six friends, you get a year of Rental Kharma’s services for free. The best part is, there’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer for the bonus.
Rental Kharma eligibility requirements
Anyone who is renting can use Rental Kharma. If you own a home, your mortgage payment is reported to the major credit bureaus. Therefore, only renters really need this service.
In addition to being a renter, your landlord or property manager has to agree to enter your rent payments each month.
This service only works for legal United States residents with a valid social security number.
If you already have great credit, there is no need to spend the $40 plus $9.95 per month fixing your credit. However, if you have bad credit and want improve it, your rent payments can help by using a service like Rental Kharma.
Rental Kharma customer service
Rental Kharma customer service can be reached by phone, email, or a handy chat widget embedded on the website.
Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8:30am-6:00pm MST, and is closed on weekends.
More about Rental Kharma
Rental Kharma is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
Run by CEO Cullen Canazares, Rental Kharma serves low credit individuals renting homes and apartments. The company has a mission of empowering renters and giving renters credit for their positive rental history.
Rental Kharma currently only reports your rent to TransUnion. They do have plans to add Equifax and Experian, the other two major credit reporting bureaus in the United States. However, there is currently no timeline for adding the other credit reporting bureaus.
Rental Kharma contact
Or, you can call them on their local number at 303-219-1902 ,or toll-free at 888-506-4640. You can also reach the business via a live chat feature on its website during business hours.
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 0318/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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