For many of us, a healthy credit score can seem like a far-off goal. That rating will help determine the type of car we can afford or our options for purchasing a future home. While paying bills on time is key to credit score growth, there’s another way that is often overlooked: You could try to pay rent online.

In 2017, TransUnion studied 12,000 renters who reported their rent payments to credit bureaus over the course of a year. The study found that renters’ scores rose an average of 16 points within six months, and the benefit was greatest for those who started with a credit score below 620.

It doesn’t take a mountain of effort to pay rent online is easy. But to ensure it counts toward your credit score, make sure to take two important steps.Â

Make sure your payments are reported correctly.

While property managers are quick to report renters who fail to pay their rent, many often don’t think about sharing a positive payment history with the major credit bureaus unless you ask.

“While property managers and companies that process rent payments are reporting such data more frequently than they used to, it’s still not a standard practice. And many landlords that own only a small number of properties don’t take this step,” explains Christine DiGangi of “Each of the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—will include positive rent payment history on credit reports if they receive it.”

So how do you make sure your rent payments are reported? At Northwind Apartments, we offer an online rental payment system that reports information to the credit bureaus. That way, credit bureaus receive a record of your on-time payments whenever you pay rent online, which contributes to your good credit. 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.

Use a credit card to make online rental payments.

By setting aside a credit card exclusively to pay rent online, you can add to your credit score through positive reporting from your landlord and build up a positive payment history on your credit card.

“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.”

You don’t have to pay your rent with a credit card, but it can be a nice little boost to your credit score in combination with the benefits of paying your rent online. The trick is to pay off your credit card in full each month.

Give your credit score a boost and pay rent online through our resident portal. As you do so, we’ll report those payments to the credit bureaus. Plus, if you choose to pay rent with a credit card, you may increase your score even more. These two steps will have a positive impact on your credit score, thus opening the financial door to a great credit score today for future financial dreams.