Helping you to improve your credit score

What is the Rental Exchange?

Social housing tenants sometimes struggle to get affordable loans, a mortgage and credit cards or to open bank accounts. Often this is because they do not have a credit history. If you want to buy something on credit, then it helps considerably if you have a good credit history (a track record of paying off credit agreements). Companies use credit history to assess your creditworthiness before making a lending decision.

Having a good credit history also helps to provide proof of your identity, and where you live and have lived before. This can help you access a range of goods and services online, including getting the best deals on mobile phones, TV and broadband packages and car insurance.

Homeowners with a mortgage have an advantage as their mortgage payment history can count towards their credit history and Sandwell Council believes that your rent payment history should be used in the same way to help you access more affordable credit.

Sandwell Council has teamed up with Big Issue Invest, part of the well-known Big Issue Group, and Experian to take part in the Rental Exchange. The Rental Exchange is a way to strengthen your credit report without you needing to take on new credit. The scheme enables us to share details about the rent you pay with Experian monthly. This is then included in your credit report, meaning you will then be recognised for paying your rent on time.

How will I benefit?

Sharing your rental payment history will help create an online proof of identity, proving you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you live and allow tenants with a history of little or no credit, to build a credit score.

Being able to prove your identity and show a track record of paying your rent, will open new channels and services, giving fairer access to services and may make it easier for you to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Get a new credit card
  • Secure a loan
  • Online shopping
  • Better gas and electricity rates
  • Better mobile phone rates

What do I have to do?

The good news is you don’t need to do anything. Unless you have told us not to, we will share your tenancy information with Experian. including your track record for paying your rent and service charges to us. This could make it easier for you to apply for credit or bank accounts in the future.

What if I have rent arrears?

We understand that in some circumstances current tenants may have rent arrears. Where this is the case, we will work with you to address these and if you feel that your current rent arrears are having a negative impact on your credit score you can tell us that you no longer want us to share your rental data and want to opt out of the scheme.

Details on how to opt out can be found below.  You can ask us at any time to start sharing your rental data again if your financial circumstances improve.

If you have outstanding rent arrears on a former tenancy, details of your balance will continue to be shared with Experian until the balance is cleared.

Can I opt out?

Yes, you can opt out by emailing us at

Alternatively, if you want to speak to us about opting out you can call us on 0121 368 1166 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

FAQs for tenants

To find out more use the links below

Rental exchange FAQs for tenants

Rental Exchange Privacy Policy