Credit reference agency Experian has revealed that rent payments will appear on credit reports for the first time from the end of this year.
The move will mean landlords and letting agents credit checking potential tenants will be able to see if they a tenant has consistently paid rent on time or late in the past. This will enable them to make a more informed decision about offering them a tenancy.
As well as reducing their chances of getting a new tenancy, tenants who pay rent late will also find it more difficult to secure a mortgage or credit card in the future.
Those who pay their rent on time should find it easier to access mainstream financial products if their payments are recorded.
Experian has analysed around 24,000 social housing tenants' rent payment records, and reports 93% would benefit if their payment records contributed to their credit ratings.
When set up, the scheme, called Rental Exchange, will be run by Experian and Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of The Big Issue magazine.
The two outfits are working with 160 social housing providers, who look after two million tenants' homes, to enable people in social housing to build a credit history in the same way mortgage holders can.
Experian's managing director of UK customer information, Jonathan Westley, says: "For credit providers to lend responsibly, but also prevent fraud, they need a more complete view of customers' financial commitments and payment history.
"The addition of rental payment data will improve the insight available to make accurate and responsible decisions.
"This initial analysis clearly shows the overwhelmingly positive impact the Rental Exchange will have. The more housing associations that start to share data with us, the more we can help address the problem of financial exclusion in the UK."