DENVER, CO - Until now, people who rented their homes couldn’t get financing credit for their on-time rental payments, thus excluding millions from a wide variety of lending opportunities. Rental Kharma, a Denver-based startup company that furnishes data to large credit bureaus, has launched a new service that, for the first time, makes it possible for renters to overcome this barrier, giving them the chance to build their futures with stronger credit reports.
There are more than 100 million renters in the U.S., and Rental Kharma has developed the first comprehensive, online platform that allows renters to build their credit score by self-reporting the last two years of their payment history. The data is then provided to the large credit bureaus, that in turn provide reports to lenders, banks, landlords and others who want to lower their risks when renting properties or making loans to financially stable borrowers.
“By reporting the last two years of timely payments, most renters can gain an immediate boost to their FICO credit score,” said Cullen Canazares, Rental Kharma founder. FICO is the most widely used credit scoring model in the U.S. and is employed by the major credit reporting bureaus such as Experian and TransUnion. Rental Kharma provides an online solution for renters to submit their monthly payments to the credit bureaus, which Rental Kharma confirms with the renter’s bank or landlord and then submits that payment history to the credit bureaus to be included on the renter’s credit score.
mpowered, a Colorado non-profit offering financial coaching and education, is the first organization to offer Rental Kharma’s online service to its clients. “Our financial counselors are trusted advisors who work one-on-one with clients to provide practical advice to manage their finances and improve their credit,” said mpowered’s Executive Director Chad Gentry. “We’re always looking for creative, new ways to achieve personal, financial well-being for each individual client, and our partnership with Rental Kharma is based on a fresh idea, and a mission that aligns with ours – to empower individuals to think, act and feel differently about money.”
Most of the people that mpowered counsels and coaches make regular rental payments every month, and, “we believe those good renters deserve good credit,” said Gentry. “Working with Rental Kharma’s new data reporting service gives us the chance to give Colorado renters the chance to get ahead financially.”
According to a September 2012 report by the FDIC, more than one in four households has either thin or no credit history and thus lacks a sufficient credit profile for the traditional FICO Score. Millions more struggle with subprime credit and a poor credit history stemming from foreclosure, bankruptcy or other economic misfortunes.
“The housing market is showing signs of life, yet tougher mortgage and lending regulations implemented after the 2008 downturn are causing pain for tens of millions of would-be homebuyers,” said nationally known consumer advocate and radio host Tom Martino. “Establishing a positive credit history is a necessity for people hoping to own a home or car, and can even improve their chances for employment when seeking a new job. The service Rental Kharma provides is a much needed solution here in Colorado and around the country, one that can have a lasting impact on the financial well-being of millions of people.”
Though Colorado boasts some of the most affluent cities in the nation, 12.5 percent of the state’s residents live below the poverty line according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and many struggle financially due to debt, poor credit and lack of financial education. “If you’re a renter and you ever want to buy a house, you want your good rental history to show up on your credit report to improve your FICO score,” said Martino. “Rental Kharma does this for just $10, which is a great deal.”