Unless your landlord or rental management company uses Experian’s RentBureau system, your rent won’t automatically be reported as part of your credit file. Because Experian is working only with a small percentage of renters nationwide, you may opt for another way to have your rent listed in your credit file – paying through a service called William Paid.
William Paid can be an easy way to pay rent, and it helps you get your on-time payments reported in your Experian credit file, which can really boost your credit score over time.
How it Works
One of the good things about the William Paid service is that it works no matter who your landlord is. First, you have to sign up for a free account. Once you’re signed up, you can choose how to pay your rent. Here are your options:
- Bank Account: Have your bank account electronically debited to pay rent with no extra fees.
- Credit/Debit Card: William Paid can run your rent payment through your credit or debit card for a 2.95 percent fee.
- Cash: Drop off your payment at a William Paid drop-off location for a $10 flat fee.
- Combination: Use a combination of these options for a 2.95 percent transaction fee.
When you use this service, you pay William Paid, which will then send the payment to your landlord when it’s due. Because William Paid is linked with Experian’s RentBureau program, you can have your rent payments added to your Experian credit history file automatically.
Pros of William Paid
William Paid can be a great service for renters, especially those who are interested in building a better credit history but who may not necessarily have other credit-building options available. Here are some of the best things about this service:
- Build credit history: You can automatically build better credit history. The RentBureau system is primarily meant for those with very low or no credit scores. But if you’re in the middle-of-the-road and want to use every advantage to improve your credit score, this is a good way to do it. (Note: You need to opt in to have your payments reported to Experian, so you don’t have to have them reported if you don’t want to.)
- Get a loan: Paying through William Paid for a few months may give you enough leverage to get a small loan, even if you have almost no other credit history. It’s a great first step for college students and recent graduates, who are building credit for the first time while renting a home or apartment.
- Pay for free: This service lets you pay your rent with no added fee from your bank account.
- Pay by credit card: The service lets you pay your rent by credit card. Even if your landlord only accepts checks or money orders, you can pay rent by credit card through William Paid. Even though this may cost more in fees, it could be a good way to build credit (not only by reporting rent payments, but also by responsibly using a credit card), and cash in on some great credit card rewards.
- Split payments: Sharing a rental with roommates? If you all pay through William Paid, you can track who has and has not paid for each month, and you can all have your payment information reported to Experian separately.
Cons of William Paid
Still, there are some disadvantages to using a service like William Paid. Here’s what you should know:
- Only reports to Experian: William Paid, for the moment, adds information only to your Experian credit file. If a potential lender chooses to pull your file from TransUnion or Equifax, they won’t be able to see your rent payment information added through William Paid.
- Could cost extra: As noted above, some of the payment options through William Paid cost extra. You can avoid the extra fees by having a payment automatically drafted from your bank account. Also, the rewards you earn for charging it to your credit card could outweigh the 2.95 percent fee.
- May need to pay earlier: Since you’re making a payment to William Paid that it will then forward to your landlord, you may need to make payments a few days earlier to ensure they arrive on time. If your payment is late because of an error on the part of the William Paid service, though, it will reimburse any fees your landlord might charge.
Is it Right for You?
Whether using the William Paid service is right for you depends on a host of factors. If you’re renting a home or apartment and need all the help you can get to build or improve your credit score, this service is a great option. Also, if you want to pay your rent online but don’t have the option through your landlord, William Paid can help with that, as well.
Finally, before you sign up for William Paid, check to see if your landlord is a part of the RentBureau program from Experian. In this case, your landlord may already report rent payments to Experian, so you wouldn’t need to use William Paid.
This is definitely a service to look into if you want to use a credit card to pay rent or use rent payments to build your credit, at least through Experian.