How To Run a Fast Tenant Credit Check

How to Run a Fast Tenant Credit Check
Running a Tenant Credit Check Is Fast with Today’s Online Services

Twenty years of observing landlords while operating the ClearNow online rent payment service has taught us one powerful lesson. Good landlords screen their tenants. Even better, while in the past tenant screening was a slow and paper-based process, today’s online services make it easy to run a fast tenant credit check.

Tenant Credit Checks Protect the Landlord

As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While tenant screening is not foolproof, a credit report is an indicator of the past financial habits of an individual. For many landlords, their biggest mistake was renting to a tenant that was not qualified and having to deal with an eviction.

Online Tenant Screening is Fast

In the past, running a fast credit check on a tenant was not possible. Now however, the process is lightning quick. With a service like ClearNow SmartMove, the process is as fast as email:

  1. You sign up for a free online account (at
  2. Through your account, you email the tenant to do a background check. You can specify that the tenant pays the fee.
  3. As soon as the tenant does their part, you will receive an email that a report with a credit check and criminal and eviction report is ready for you to view.

Unlike ages ago, tenant screening does not need to take days to process. Get started at today!

The Dirty Secret of Bank Bill Pay for Rent Payment

Dirty Secret of Bank Bill Pay for Rent Payment
Bank bill pay for rent is not as high tech as you think.

Having your tenants pay rent via their bank bill payment system seems high tech. Unfortunately, the dirty secret of bank bill pay for rent payment is that it is the opposite of the high tech wonder it seems. Unless you are a large corporation, bank bill payment typically just creates a paper check that is mailed to you. As a result, landlords who collect rent via bank bill pay encounter some distinctly low tech issues.

The Check is Still in The Mail

When your tenants wrote checks to you, did it ever get ‘lost in the mail’? Mail delays and undelivered mail can still exist if your tenants use their bank’s bill payment service. For anyone except large corporations, the bill payment service simply prints out and mails checks at a central facility based on your tenant’s online bill payment instructions.

Given this process, you still need to be around to collect, sign, and deposit your check. Further, if checks are mailed to you, you can not deposit the check if you are on vacation or out of town and the check is sitting in your mailbox.

Recordkeeping and Credit Reporting are Missing

When a tenant sends you a rent payment via their bank bill pay, you have to record the payment. Additionally, the tenant does not have the ability to build their credit history by paying rent via bank bill pay.

In contrast, there is another popular method for rent collection – “online rent payment”. Unlike bank bill pay, online rent payment does not involve paper checks – just real electronic transfers. There are no paper checks to get lost in the mail or sit in a mailbox waiting to be deposited. Further, with a popular online rent payment service like ClearNow (sign up at, you have great recordkeeping and reporting and your tenants can build credit history when they pay you rent on time.

Build Credit History with Online Rent Payment

Build Credit History
You can build credit history with online rent payment.

Your credit history has never been more important. In today’s world, a good credit score can lead to lower cost loans, which can be a car loan, credit card interest rate, or home loan. Additionally, many employers are now checking credit scores as part of background checks on potential employees. While most people know that a good credit history is important, less well known is that you can build credit history with online rent payment.

Start Now with ClearNow

In the early 2000s, the big 3 US credit bureaus started adding rent payment information to an individual’s credit history. Initially, they offered this only to tenants who rented from the largest apartment companies. So there were still a large number of tenants missing out on this opportunity to build credit history because they were renting from smaller landlords.

In 2012, Experian made a revolutionary step by allowing tenants using ClearNow’s online rent payment service to report their rent payments. In the years that followed, Experian has allowed other online rent payment services to report rent payments.

How Can I Get Rent Payment on My Credit History?

There are a number of services that help tenants build credit history with online rent payment information. Unfortunately, some of them can be a little expensive. RentReporters charges a $94.95 sign-up fee and then $9.95/mo. Rental Kharma similarly charges a $50 setup fee and then $8.95/mo per tenant.

If you can get your landlord to use ClearNow’s online rent payment service (sign up at, there is no fee for you as a tenant to have your payments reported to Experian. Your landlord will be charged $14.95/mo for the first tenant and just $2/mo for each additional tenant.