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How Can I Build Good Credit When I’m Legally Blind?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am legally blind. I partially see out of my right eye and am totally blind in my left. I don’t work and my finances comes from getting Social Security Benefits from my father’s retirement.

I live in an apartment and trying to move because the rent has increased again in the 4 years I’ve been here.

My sister and I went to apply for an apartment but I was turned down because we were told I didn’t have enough credit history.

I’ve had several apartments and the utilities are in my name. I do not have any credit cards and of course I don’t have a car note. My sister is typing this by the way.

How do I go about establishing credit in my situation?

Shirley

Answer:

Dear Shirley,

Your situation highlights a problem faced by many who might as well have horrible credit because they don’t have anything bad to show on their credit report.

What I’m about to tell you has nothing to do with logic or fairness. This is just the way the system works.

Credit reporting bureaus don’t go out and hunt down information about you. It is typically submitted to them by creditors who pull a lot of credit reports. They feed information to the bureaus in order to get a discount when they pull credit reports.

The most common creditors who report are the big banks, finance companies, and unsecured revolving creditors.

While an apartment complex might report to one of the few specialized reporting agencies for rental companies, most don’t. And if the landlord or rental company doesn’t go out of their way to check one of those specialized reporting companies, or your previous landlord has not supplied information to them; it doesn’t give you any street cred.

Companies like RentReporters.com say they report to the credit bureaus but I’m not sure which one or how many they pass this information on to.

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Credit bureaus don’t share information so if it is only reported to Credit Bureau A and your next landlord checks Credit Bureau B, they won’t see your reported history.

At least one of the major credit bureaus, Experian, says if your rental company uses one of a few reporting companies, that payment history may appear on your Experian credit report. TransUnion says they also include some rental reports from some sources.

So one easy option or solution you might investigate right away is to contact your current or past rental company and see if they report payments to a credit bureau rent reporting company. Then you can find out which credit bureau that company reports to and you can tell your future landlord to check with that credit bureau to see your history.

All of that sounds logical. The world of credit and debt does not move by logic.

The reality is you have two easy and alternate ways to tackle this problem. You can look at renting from a private landlord who is less likely to have a concrete policy or procedure that requires a major credit bureau report.

Or you can just work on building your major credit bureau reports so you look like a credit score rock star. Building exceptional credit is not hard at all. For more on how to do this, just read “How to Easily Rebuild and Repair Your Credit After Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, or Repossession.”

While you are not trying to recover from one of those unfortunate events, you are trying to recover from something worse; not having any credit at all.

With help from your sister you could make this process work to your advantage.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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