CreditLadder introduces £8/mth fees for renters reporting payments to two credit reference agencies
Renters who use CreditLadder to build their credit rating by sending information about their rental payments to credit reference agencies will now need to pay a fee of up to £8/month if they want their payments to be reported to both Experian and Equifax.
CreditLadder works by feeding data about your rental payments to Experian and Equifax. If you pay your rent on time, this could potentially build up your credit files and make you more attractive to lenders.
CreditLadder has been sharing data with Experian for over three years, and with Equifax since earlier this year – and says the "vast majority" of its 10,000s of customers report their data to both agencies. But now tenants who want their payments to be reported to both Experian and Equifax will have to pay a fee of £8/mth, or £60/year (equivalent to £5/mth) if you buy an annual subscription.
You'll continue to pay no fee if you choose only to send info to one agency, and existing CreditLadder users will have their data reported to both agencies for free until you move house.
See our Credit Scores guide for mythbusting and more ways to boost your score.
I'm a CreditLadder user – how will this affect me?
While the charging structure has been place for new customers since 8 September 2020, if you're an existing user you won't be affected while you still live in your current rental property.
However, if you move house in the future, you'll need to decide what to do with your CreditLadder account. You'll have the choice to either stop using CreditLadder, or choose between its two core services:
- If you choose CreditLadder Free, you won't be charged but your data will only be reported to one agency. You can choose whether you want your data to be reported to Experian or Equifax, but once you've decided you won't be able to switch again.
- If you choose a paid service, you'll pay up to £8/mth and your data will be reported to both Experian and Equifax. You can sign up to CreditLadder Monthly which costs £8/mth, or CreditLadder Annual which costs £60/yr – so works out cheaper on a monthly basis.
Why is the fee being introduced?
CreditLadder says there is a "significant cost implication" to providing a free service, and says its new partial charging structure will allow it to continue helping tenants in a sustainable way.
It has stressed that the decision was not made by either Experian or Equifax.
Is there a benefit to reporting to multiple agencies?
In some cases, lenders will have specific credit reference agencies they use when looking at customers' applications. If so, there could be an advantage to punctual rental payments being recorded with more than one agency, as this will increase the chance of those lenders seeing them.
But many lenders will check with multiple agencies, making them more likely to see your rental payment records even if they've only been recorded with one agency.
And remember that boosting your credit rating is more of art than a science, so it's hard to quantify exactly how much of an impact one action, such as reporting your rent payments, could have on an application.
That makes it tricky to work out how much, if anything, it's worth paying to do this. Ultimately, you'll need to weigh up whether you think paying up to £8/mth is worth it.
What are my options for reporting my rent payments?
If you're a tenant, there are different options if you want your rent payments to be recorded on your credit file.
A free scheme called the Rental Exchange Initiative records your rental payments and adds them to your Experian credit file. You can ask your landlord or social housing provider if they're part of the scheme (if you're in social housing and your provider is participating, your rental payment information should be automatically recorded).
It's worth noting that, other than CreditLadder, the schemes mentioned above will only report your rent payments to Experian.
And remember that all of these schemes work both ways, and you'll only benefit if you always pay your rent on time. Missed or late payments will also show up on your credit file, potentially damaging your attractiveness to lenders.