Your credit score - Experian partnership

Rental Exchange is a scheme which gives customers better credit scores.

We’ve in a scheme called the Rental Exchange with Experian, the UK’s biggest credit reference agency and Big Issue Invest (part of the well-known Big Issue Group).

 

The Rental Exchange is a way to strengthen your credit report without the need to take on new credit agreements. It does this by taking account of rent payment history as proof of financial standing and reliability in the same way that mortgage history can count towards a credit profile.

 

 

At Home Group, we want to support our customers and ensure they have access to the same benefits as mortgage payers. That’s why we think this is a great scheme.

A lot of organisations rely on credit scoring to decide whether to give customers access to mainstream financial services. A higher credit score means you could get access to cheaper tariffs for goods and services, saving you money each month. It may become easier for you to, for example:

  • Open a bank account
  • Shop online
  • Qualify to pay for gas/electricity via a non-prepay tariff
  • Receive better mobile phone rates.

Sharing your rental payment history also helps create an online proof of identity. This helps prove you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you live. This information helps because it makes you a more reliable potential customer to companies.

How will the information be used?

Not only will Home Group be able to work with you more closely to manage your existing tenancy agreement, sharing your track record will enable Experian to use the information supplied to them in the future to assist other landlords and organisations to: 

  • assess and manage any new tenancy agreements you may enter into
  • assess your financial standing to provide you with 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 decisions about services they offer
  • help prevent crime, fraud and money laundering.

Rental Exchange Opt Out

 

 

 

Please tick here to confirm that you would like to opt out of the Rental Exchange

Some of your questions answered

View the Rental Exchange brochure Rental Exchange Q&A or read on for answers to some frequently asked questions.

 

 

Why is Home Group part of this scheme?

 

 

We believe that you should get credit for paying your rent on time in the same way that homeowners do with their mortgage payments. The Rental Exchange is a way to enhance your credit report without needing to take on new credit agreements. Sharing your rental payment history will also help create an online proof of identity, proving you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you live. A good credit score means it may become easier for you to open a bank account, receive better gas and electricity rates and receive better mobile phone rates. Being part of the scheme will also allow us to work with you more closely to manage your existing tenancy agreement.

 

 

Will the data be shared with third parties for marketing purposes?

 

 

No, Experian will not share any personal data with any third parties for marketing purposes.

 

 

The guidance states that my data will only be made available to a company or organisation if my tenancy information is relevant and I have agreed to them doing a check against my credit file. What does this mean?

 

If you apply to open a new bank account, for example, the bank will ask for your permission to check your credit report with Experian.

What happens if my rent is paid by Housing Benefit?

 

 

Being part of the Rental Exchange will help you create an online proof of identity.

 

 

If you pay your rent by Housing Benefit (in full) your credit history will not be affected, positively or negatively. If some of your rent is paid by Housing Benefit and you pay the rest, your payments will count towards your credit score. Please remember that payment of your rent is your responsibility, so if you begin to receive your benefits directly under Universal Credit or stop receiving full Housing Benefit in the future, you will need to make your rent payments directly to us. From that time onwards, your payment will count towards your credit history.

 

 

If I'm in arrears, but paying a regular amount to address these arrears, will this have an impact on my credit score?

 

As long as the payments are regular and the arrears are reducing, this should start to have a positive impact on your credit file.

What happens if I miss a rent payment; will this affect my credit score?

 

 

Late or missed rent payments will affect your credit score. However, the majority of customers pay their rent in full and on time, so will start to see an improvement in their credit score. If a customer is unable to pay their rent, it is unlikely they are suitable for a loan or other payment agreement, therefore the Rental Exchange supports responsible borrowing and lending and helps people avoid becoming over-indebted. The Rental Exchange will help Home Group to identify those customers who are financially vulnerable and help them to get ‘back on track’.

 

I have no debt and a clear rent account. Why should I join the Rental Exchange?

 

 

You might actually be someone who benefits the most. If there is very little information available about your financial history or circumstances, it can be hard to prove your identity or reliability as a payer. By joining the Rental Exchange and building up your credit history, you may get fairer access to goods and services, such as better deals on household bills. Signing up to the Rental Exchange is free.

 

I have a joint tenancy. How does joining the scheme affect me/us?

As joint tenants, you are both contractually responsible for paying the rent so this would be reflected in both of your credit scores. This means you need to make a joint decision on whether to stay in or opt out of the scheme.

 

What do you need to do to be part of this scheme?

 

 

You don’t need to do anything. We will share your tenancy information with Experian, including your track record for paying your rent and service charges to us. 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.

 

 

 

If I opt out now, will I be able to opt in again later?

Yes, however this is not advised. This creates gaps in your payment history because your rental payments will only be shared from the point at which you re-join the scheme and this does not support the idea behind credit scoring. We would encourage you to read all the information available before making a final decision that is best for you personally.

What about if I remain in the scheme now but want to opt out at a later date?

 

 

We would encourage you to read all the information available before making a final decision that is best for you personally. You can opt out at a later date by filling in the form on this page or

 

contacting the Customer Service Centre, but please bear in mind that your credit score will remain where it is when you opt out. The only way to improve your credit score then would be to take on more credit.

 

I am a new customer. When will Home Group start sharing my data with Experian?

No data will be shared until the 28 day opt out period has ended. If you would prefer not to benefit from the scheme, please fill in the form on this page or contact the Customer Service Centre within 28 days of your tenancy start date.

Opting out

If you would prefer not to benefit from this scheme and do not want us to share your tenancy information, you can opt out by filling in the form on this page or contacting the Customer Service Centre on 0345 141 4663.

How will I know that my opt out request has been received?

We will send you a letter within seven working days to confirm that you have been opted out of the scheme.

What happens with my personal information?

 

 

Home Group and Experian will ensure 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 and your information will not be used for marketing purposes. 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. For further information on how your information will be used, view this brochure: rental-exchange-faqs-for-tenants.pdf

 

 

Why do I need to opt out if I don’t want to benefit; shouldn’t I be given the choice to opt in?

The opt out approach was agreed by Experian and Big Issue Invest after consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the body that oversees data protection. They determined that the benefit of rent data sharing to customers is recognised within the Data Protection Act’s ‘legitimate interests’ provisions (Data Protection Act 1998 Sch2 paragraph 6). This opt-in approach ensures these benefits can be widely realised, whilst customers are free to opt out if they would prefer not to benefit from the scheme. No data is shared until customers have had the chance to opt out.

 

Where can I learn more about credit reports?

 

 

You can learn more about how credit reports work and how lenders use them on the Experian website: www.experian.co.uk/consumer/credit-reports-explained.html

 

 

How can I see my credit report?

 

 

You can get free advice on debt and apply for a free copy of your Experian credit report from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or look in the phone book under ‘Citizens’ Advice Bureau’.

 

 

How long will my rent payment history show on my credit file?

 

 

Rental accounts shared with credit reference agencies will stay on your report for six years after they are closed.

 

 

Where can I get more information?

 

 

•    Experian: www.experian.co.uk/rental-exchange/tenants.html

 

•    Home Group: Contact the Customer Service Centre on 0345 141 4663

 

•    Money Advice Service: For independent advice on how to improve your credit history visit: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-check-your-credit-report