The following article is a guest post from Dara Duguay, executive director, Credit Builders Alliance.
A good credit history is crucial in today’s economy. Far more than just a number, a good credit score can make the difference in being able to access the affordable lending products necessary to go to college, buy a home, or start and grow a small business. Renting an apartment, paying for car insurance, signing up for utilities and even landing a job can also be affected by a person’s credit history – or the absence of one.
Unfortunately, for many of the 64 million Americans with no or “thin” credit files, the ability to establish a good credit history is hampered by lack of access to affordable mainstream credit building financial products. A disproportionately large number of these individuals are low-income and many live in areas underserved by traditional financial institutions. They depend on predatory financial service providers who do not report their borrowers’ on-time payments. Thus, many of these low-income households find themselves trapped in a vicious credit cycle: the use of predatory financial products prevents them from building good credit and their impaired or nonexistent credit furthers ongoing dependence on asset stripping alternative financial products.
Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) launched CBA Reporter in 2006 as a way for non-profit lenders to help build the credit history of disadvantaged entrepreneurs and consumers by reporting their monthly repayments to the major Credit Bureaus. Experian has been a partner in CBA’s Reporter service since CBA’s inception. This service enables non-profit lenders to offer their clients not only a loan to start a business or meet a household need, but also the ability to build a positive credit history. By strengthening one’s credit history, their access to affordable financial products and services will also be strengthened.
CBA is proud to have partnered with Experian in a first-ever national study of CBA’s membership to understand the impact of reporting loan repayments on one’s financial health. The analysis confirmed exactly what our experience has shown to be true—when people pay regularly on their credit obligations and these payments are reported to a credit bureau—individuals will benefit through building stronger credit reports and scores.
The results of Experian’s analysis supports credit building as a strong tool to assist the most vulnerable to become more financially stable and prosperous.