Are you struggling to qualify for a loan? Are interest and insurance rates higher than you can handle? It sounds like your credit score isn’t where you need it to be—and that can make life rough. Luckily, we’ve got an easy fix that you may already have started on: paying rent online! In one study, renters who included their rent payments to credit bureaus saw an average credit score increase of 16 points within six months. Those with a credit score below 620 saw the greatest benefit.

Paying rent online is a simple way to lay up change for a better future. Here’s what you need to know about what goes into a credit score, how paying rent online helps, and how you can boost the effect.

What Goes into a Credit Score?

While your credit score will vary depending on who you ask, credit bureaus look at the same general components:

  • Number/types of accounts
  • Used credit vs. available credit
  • Length of credit history
  • Payment history

As we’ll see later on, those last two components can be satisfied by paying rent online.

How Does Paying Rent Online Help?

Paying your rent doesn’t do anything for your credit if the credit bureaus don’t know it happened. “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,” says Bev O’Shea at NerdWallet.

Paying your rent online is the easiest way to ensure credit bureaus know about your payment. At Villa Serrano, our online rental payment system reports your payments directly to the credit bureaus every time you pay. 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.

How Can I Do Better?

Want to sweeten the deal? Use a credit card when paying rent online. “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.”

Ready to improve your credit score? Now that you know what goes into a credit score, how paying rent online helps, and how you can boost the effect, you should be set to start paying rent online. Use our resident portal and start today!