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Experian adds rental payment data to consumer credit files

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Experian adds rental payment data to consumer credit files
18 February, 2011  |  One comment  |  credit news

Renters who need to build their credit histories are getting a leg up from a major consumer credit-reporting agency.

Experian is incorporating rental payment data from its recently acquired RentBureau unit into its traditional credit file, which the California-based company says will make it easier for college students, recent graduates and immigrants who pay their rent on time to boost their credit scores.

Typically, credit reports include payment history on credit cards, mortgages, installment loans and retail and finance company accounts.

Experian’s move is well-timed, as the U.S. homeownership rate is at its lowest level since 1998. It was 66.5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 0.7 percentage points lower than the fourth quarter of 2009 and 0.4 percentage points lower than the rate in the third quarter of 2010. In the fourth quarter of 1998, it was 66.4 percent, census data shows.

Still, there are limits to Experian’s effort. RentBureau’s database receives rental payment histories daily from property managers, but so far its records encompass only 8 million residents. The nation has 37.7 million rental units, census data shows.

View full story at http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0218-rent-credit-20110217,0,1210630.story

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