Increase on-time rent payments by integrating automated rent reporting to credit bureaus

Case study

Increase on-time rent payments by integrating automated rent reporting to credit bureaus

Credit rating agencies and credit bureaus collect, analyze and arrive at credit scores by using historical patterns of loans and credit card bill payments. However, a person who doesn’t have any formal obligations to these transactions is denied from having a healthy credit score. Over the last few years, other forms of timely payments like rental payments are being considered in calculating an individual’s credit score. This option can be availed by the tenants if the property owners or the property managers opt for rent reporting services. The rental reporting services collect rent payment data, verify and report it to different credit rating agencies/credit bureaus in prescribed formats.

Our client CredHub is an emerging rent reporting service provider, whose vision is to ‘Give credit where credit is due’. CredHub aims to resolve late and skipped rent payments, and at the same time rewards on-time payments by submitting the rent reports. As the rent payment is reported to the credit bureaus, the tenants get motivated to make on-time payments. This reduces the late and skipped payments, which are the major pain-points of the property managers.

To tap into niche segment of the credit reporting market, CredHub was looking for the right IT partner to innovate their services.

To execute our business plan, we needed an IT partner that could handle all the data complexity at both ends of the value chain from the property manager client to the credit bureaus. The solution needed to be automated and scalable. Given the sensitive nature of the data we handle, encryption and security was vital. Finally, the client experience, including their interface to data through the portal, needed to be simple. Imaginea was the perfect partner to help us go to market. They made the complex simple for our clients and for our employees, met all of the challenges we faced, and have helped put us in a position to grow our business in the years to come.

Requirements

As a rent reporting solution provider, CredHub wanted to:

  • Refine the rental data that comes in multiple formats from multiple Property Management Systems (PMS) and generate reports in formats specified by different credit bureaus.
  • Quickly onboard various Property Management Company (PMC), by automating the workflow right from receiving residents rental data till reporting to the credit bureaus.

Challenges

  • Credit bureaus like Equifax & TransUnion accept rental data in different formats
  • Rental data coming from PMS are not standardized and they come in various formats
  • Lack of unique identifiers to build a relationship between data across multiple reports for consolidation
  • The pipeline involves handling sensitive private data like SSN and DOB

Solution

Imaginea proposed to build an integrated framework for processing data from multiple sources with the ability to have customized processing rules for each of the PMCs who use a PMS. The solution involved automating the entire pipeline from receiving rental data to submission of rental information in Rental1 and Metro2 formats. We also provided a portal, where the CredHub Account Managers who manage the PMCs can configure business rules. Property Managers can make changes to the rental details and schedule the timelines dates for the rent reports to be auto submitted to the credit bureaus.

The custom business rules feature allows property managers to define and apply custom rules on the processing of rental data. For example, a PMCmay want to remove all units coded as “Spot Hero”, where as another PMC may want to report payment history of past (moved-out) residents’ data, for only upto 60 days.

In addition, we proposed to integrate QuickBooks with CredHub. This helps CredHub in automated invoice generation and emailing it to the property managers, who avail their services.

Tech stack

How Our Solution Helped

With our automated rent reporting solution, CredHub resolves the property management pain points by drastically reducing late and skipped rent payments and helps build credit score for on-time rent payers.

Our Approach

We built an integrated framework, which is comprised of Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), rules engine and a portal that is integrated with QuickBooks.

The details of these components are given below:

  • Portal: We implemented a dashboard approach where the account managers / admin can define customized business rules, Property Owners/Managers can edit the rent details before report submission. There is a provision for automatic submission of files on a specific date to the credit bureaus.
  • SFTP: This is to ensure data security and integrity of the input data from the PMS. SFTP acts as the starting point for accepting the source of input in the integrated framework. The incoming tenant files go through pre-check validation before applying the business rules.
  • Rules engine: The validated files are passed through the rule engine, where default or custom business rules are applied. After this, the reports are generated in predefined formats and uploaded to the portal from where it can be automatically submitted to the credit bureaus.
  • QuickBooks integration: After report submission, this integration enables CredHub to automatically generate invoices and email it to the property owners/managers with their respective payment links.

We used Azure Blob storage to securely store large sized unstructured data. Since it is REST-based object storage, the CredHub portal can be accessed from any region without intervention. For complete protection of the files, the data is saved in an encrypted format. We used the Azure Data Factory for managing the different pipelines. Integrating with custom-built Dot Net rule engines and SQL databases, the Azure logic apps help accomplish the entire workflow.

Here is an overview of our approach:

Integrated Framework High Level Design

Results

  • Secure rent report compliant system
  • Easy onboarding of PMC
  • Allows admin/account managers to customize business rules
  • Promotes on-time rental payments by building residents credit history
  • Reduces the workload of property/account managers to maintain reporting compliance
  • Automated report processing saves time and eliminates delay in report generation due to public holidays or weekends and improves sustainable business operation

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