Credit Help For Renters And Others On The Horizon

Sue is a homeowner and pays her mortgage and other bills on time like a good credit consumer. Sue’s on-time mortgage payments are reflected in her credit score profiled by the three major credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Joe on the other hand is a renter, who wants to buy his first home in the near future. He pays his rent on time every month as well as his phone and utility bills. Joe is also a good credit consumer but his on-time payments are not reflected in his credit profiles. Why? Because the major credit reporting agencies are not set up to track this type of payment and therefore they are not reflected in Joe’s credit score. Chances are good that Joe’s credit score will be lower than Sue’s because his on-time rent payments go untracked by the credit bureaus.

As a result Joe will be quoted a higher interest rate and higher fees to his lender when he applies for his first home mortgage. Seems a bit unfair doesn’t it? The good news for Joe and other renters like him is that the credit reporting system is about to change.

In a recent Chicago Tribune article, reporter Kenneth R. Harney points to the creation of a new national credit bureau whose "sole mission is to track the payments that nobody else tracks." The new credit reporting agency PRBC (Pay Rent, Build Credit) wants to build credit files on as many as 10 million renters nationwide over the next 5 years.

According to PRBC’s founder and chief executive Michael Nathans, the new bureau will earn revenue by selling supplemental credit reports to lenders. CitiMortgage, Inc., one of the nation’s major home lenders, is already a subscriber of the new service.

Some other highlights of PRBC’s service include:

  • 24/7 access to online files by consumers, free of charge.

  • Consumers must give permission to have their files accessed by lenders.

  • Consumers can input up to 36 months of documented on-time payments.

  • They accept payment histories from phone, credit and debit cards so long as the source (merchant) can send a date-stamped electronic receipt of payment.

  • Many consumers who bank online can have their payment information recorded by PRBC once the bureau becomes fully functional

PRBC can benefit not only renters but also young and minority borrowers who have little or no credit history with the traditional bureaus. "We think we can help create equal credit opportunities for everybody who deserves a a prime rate loan, " Nathans said.

One Response to Credit Help For Renters And Others On The Horizon

  1. Rick L. Clements

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Rewards Cards – Are They Right For You?

Rewards cards have become the latest rage in the credit card industry. In the past, consumers shopped for credit cards that offered the lowest interest rate. Next came cards with low interest rates and no annual fees. Today, consumers can shop for cards based on what type of "reward" they can earn for using a specific issuer’s card.

How does a reward program work? Typically, the program awards points, “dollars” or a cash value based on the amount you charge. The rate at which you collect points varies depending on what you charge or where you charge it. Some programs offer extra points for using their card at a specific place such as a supermarket or fast food restaurant or for certain items.

Some programs offer a variety of rewards. Consumers can earn meals, tickets to sporting events, airline tickets, electronics, or even create their own reward program.

The goal is to get you the consumer to use your credit card as much as possible. Why? FEES! The credit card issuer makes money from two sources each time you use their card. First, from the merchant who pays the issuer a merchant transaction fee and secondly, from you through finance charges and late fees.

A recent survey found that nearly half of U.S. cardholders enrolled in a credit card rewards program have never redeemed their points. However, 60% of consumers said rewards program influences their decision when deciding which credit card to use for a purchase.

When considering an offer for a card that offers rewards, be sure to read the fine print. Find out what you have to do to earn points. Look carefully for any restrictions as to when you can redeem them. Also check to see if your points carry over from one year to the next.

Reward programs most benefit those who pay off their balances monthly. For those who carry a balance or even pay late, the resulting higher balances and fees aren’t really much of a reward, are they?

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