Having bad credit or no credit can be a big hindrance when you’re trying to buy a car, secure a student loan, or get loans. If you find yourself in this position but don’t know how to improve your credit, there’s good news: One small change could make an impact on your credit score, especially if it needs a big boost. Renters can help their credit score out just by paying rent online.

A 2017 TransUnion study found that renters saw an improvement of 16 points on average after reporting their rent payments to credit bureaus for six months. For the 12,000 renters who were studied, the biggest increase came to those who had a score below 620. So, if you’re ready to attack a low credit score, here’s how paying rent online can help.

How Do Credit Bureaus Determine Your Score?
Knowing how credit bureaus compile your score is a good start to understanding how to improve your credit. There are a few different things that go into determining your credit score. To come up with your FICO score, a combination of credit data is taken into account, including the following:
• A mix of your credit, including credit cards and store accounts
• Your payment history
• Your length of credit history
• How much money you owe
• How much new credit you have

Of all the information bureaus take into account, payment history often plays a big role. Your online rent payments become part of your payment history, so paying rent on time can be an important part of improving your score.

Report Your Rent to Boost Your Credit
“Simply paying your rent will not help you build credit,” says Bev O’Shea at NerdWallet. “But reporting your rent payments can help you build credit—especially if you are new to credit or do not have a lot of experience using it.”

So how do you make sure your rent payments are reported? At The 3900 Apartments, we offer an online rental payment system that reports information to the credit bureaus. That way, credit bureaus receive a record of your on-time rental payments, which contributes to your good credit. In order to opt in for the credit reporting, follow these steps:
1. Log in to your account through the resident portal and click on “Make a Payment Now.”
2. Select “Build your credit history by opting in to credit reporting.”
3. Enter your information in the credit reporting fields. Be sure to select “yes” for month-to-month lease if you have one, or select “no” and a lease end date.

Using a Credit Card May Help
“Open a credit card and use it to pay your rent . . . then pay your credit card balance in full each month,” says LaToya Irby, credit expert for The Balance. “The timely credit card payments will help boost your credit score.”

Overloading your credit card and building up debt isn’t a good idea, so only use a card for your rent if you are able to pay it off. If you pay off the card responsibly, using it for your rent can give your credit score a little more help.

Now that you know how to improve your credit score, get started by paying rent through the resident portal. Your punctual payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, and your rent will get to work boosting your credit score. Start paying rent online today to see the difference it makes!