The Rental Exchange - Get recognised for paying your rent on time
Many social housing tenants find it difficult to access financial services such as affordable loans, bank accounts and credit cards. Often this is because not enough information is held on their credit file.
A credit file or score is a personal history of the credit an individual has had. Different organisations use this information to decide whether to give you access to their services. Not having a credit score means that people often get worse rates and can end up paying more for things like electricity and loans.
We believe social tenants should get recognition for paying their rent, the same way people who pay their mortgage do. So we’ve teamed up with Big Issue Invest and Credit Reference Agency Experian to bring you an exciting new scheme, The Rental Exchange.
The scheme involves us sharing your rental payment history with Experian, to help create you an online proof of identity, proving you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you live. Proving this makes you a more reliable potential customer to companies.
What are the benefits to you?
The scheme allows tenants with a history of little or no credit, to build a credit score. Being able to prove your identity and show a track record of paying for your rent will open up new channels and services, giving fairer access to services such as: bank accounts, credit cards, loans, online shopping, and better gas and electricity rates.
What do I need to do?
You don’t need to do anything. We will transfer your tenancy information to Experian, including your track record for paying your rent and service charges to us, unless you tell us not to. This could make it easier for you to apply for credit or bank account in the future. We understand that in some circumstances there may be rent arrears. Where this is the case we will work with you to address it. Paying your rent on time could help you to access cheaper products and services in the future.
Independent research among social tenants shows that there is wide support for this partnership. The key benefits are seen to be proof of financial reliability, access to cheaper credit and automated evidence of identity and proof of address. Many social landlords are going to share information with Experian for the benefit of their tenants.
How do I find out what is on my credit file?
In summary, sharing your tenancy record through The Rental Exchange scheme not only allows us to work with you more closely to manage your existing tenancy agreement, but will also enable Experian to assist other landlords and organisations to:
- assess and manage any new tenancy agreements you may enter into
- assess how strong your financial standing is for suitable products and services
- manage any accounts that you may already hold, for example reviewing suitable products or adjusting your current product in light of your current circumstances.
- contact you in relation to any accounts you may have and recovering debts that you may owe
- verify your identity and address to help them make a decision about the services they offer and help prevent crime, fraud and money laundering
With Experian we will make sure that your information is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act, so you can have peace of mind that it will be kept secure and confidential. It will only be made available to a company or organisation if your tenancy information is relevant and you have agreed to them doing a check against your credit file, or where it is strictly necessary for them to check information about your tenancy.
If you’d like further information you can visit www.experian.co.uk/rental-exchange. If you would like advice on how to improve your credit history you can access independent and impartial advice from moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/campaigns/why-your-credit-rating-matters.