Qualifying for loans of pretty much any kind will have an impact on your credit. Your credit accounts go on your credit report and how you manage your accounts determines whether your credit score is good, bad or average. Pay your bills on time and it can improve your scores. Fall behind or go into collections and your credit scores will likely fall.
Because of the way credit accounts affect credit scores, it stands to reason that someone leasing a car would think that making their payments on time and in full would have a positive effect on their credit rating.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case for some people who recently leased vehicles through Uber’s Xchange Leasing program. The program was setup for Uber drivers who may not have great credit but still needed clean, late-model cars to help them earn cash picking up Uber fares.
The leasing program was geared toward drivers who had poor credit or no credit history at all, and had few other means of buying a new car. A lot of these drivers reportedly thought leasing through the Xchange program would help them improve or even establish credit. Sadly for many, that hasn’t been the case.
According to a recent report by Quartz Media, Uber “never told drivers that leasing from Xchange would improve their credit.” The program, billed as a flexible financing solution, offered drivers no mileage caps, like a traditional leasing program would.
“Xchange leasing did not claim that participation in Xchange would improve credit scores,” an Uber spokesman reportedly said in an emailed statement.
In spite of that, many drivers assumed the leases would help them not only make money, but regain their credit standing. But when they checked their credit scores, they weren’t seeing any change. It turns out, Xchange wasn’t reporting their accounts to the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Build Your Credit By Being Careful
If your credit is not so hot, chances are there are plenty of offers out there to give you credit at less-than-stellar interest rates. Some can be helpful to building or establishing credit as long as you manage them responsibly. But before accepting any kind of credit account, it’s important talk to the company making the offer and ask if they report to the major credit bureaus. Get their answer in writing. Require it. If they don’t make those reports, your account won’t do anything to improve your credit scores.
If they do, use your new account wisely so that you can improve your credit. If you have accounts with substantial balances – whether credit cards, student loans or even your mortgage – it could also help to enlist the assistance of a service that help you automate your payments so they’re made on time every month, further improving your credit scores. Whatever credit choices you make, paying down your debt is one of the most important things you can do to improve your credit scores and your financial health in general.
[Editorial Disclosure: PayDownMyDebt.com is a service that provides people with tools to pay down their debts through automatic payments. The purpose of this article, however, is not to encourage users to purchase that service. This article is educational and journalistic in nature and aims to help people learn how to pay down their debt, whether they use our site, another, or go it alone.]