Millions of private tenants to get credit where its due
Nottingham, UK, 15 March 2012 — Several million people* living in private rented accommodation could soon get a welcome boost to their credit rating, following the launch of the new Rental Exchange service by Experian®, the global information services company.
While information about mortgages is included on credit reports, rent payment information currently isn’t. This means that someone living in a privately rented property who meets their rent payments on time hasn’t seen this positive information registered on their credit report – but this is about to change.
The Rental Exchange will offer a secure and compliant way to include a tenant’s payment history in credit reports, with their permission, strengthening their credit history and helping them qualify for more and lower-cost credit deals. This enhanced view of people’s repayment history will also improve the ability of lenders to treat customers fairly with more accurate lending decisions based on a deeper understanding of their customers.
Renters will benefit from:
- Low-cost credit available for more people. The inclusion of rental-payment data will strengthen people’s credit histories, potentially giving them access to cheaper credit deals.
- A boost for first-time buyers. This could provide a welcome boost to the credit histories of people looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time, as lenders will be able to more easily verify their full borrowing history.
- Easier identity verification. Many financial organisations rely on electronic identity checks based on people’s credit reports. Stronger credit reports will help more people successfully satisfy these checks, avoiding the need to resort to slower, paper-based methods.
Sian Williams, Head of Transact, The National Forum for Financial Inclusion, comments: “This is a very welcome development for many people living in private rented accommodation who until now have often found it difficult to build a credit history. If used well, this could be a very effective tool for allowing them to access a wider range of services at a more affordable cost. Key to its success will be ensuring that consumers are well educated about the service. This will include making clear the impact that missing a rental payment could have on their credit rating, especially if it is paid via housing benefit which is often out of their hands.”
Paul Vescovi, UK & Ireland Managing Director, Experian Credit Services adds: “With several million people* living in privately rented accommodation, a significant percentage of the population could be missing out on mainstream, low-cost credit because lenders do not currently have a comprehensive picture of their financial track record. The Rental Exchange will strengthen people’s credit histories, helping them to access a wider range of credit deals.”
Nick Jopling, executive director of Grainger, the UK’s largest listed residential landlord, comments: “As renting increasingly becomes a lifestyle choice for many Britons, it is important that the process for credit scoring accurately reflects a tenant’s status and rent payment history to enable them to have fair access to affordable credit and services. As a socially responsible organisation we acknowledge that sharing this data will have major benefits for both landlords and, more importantly, our tenants.”
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