Crowdcube response

Hi all, quick response to some points raised on the crowdcube site regarding our business.

 


Movem: – RentalStep works by using traditional referencing, i.e they still rely on hearing back from the landlord and employer. This is the bit that can take weeks, and require chasing up. There’s no benefit to a RentalStep reference over any other referencing service. This is a fundamental difference. They’re reselling Experian’s tenant background checker (presumably) – we’ve built our own, and one better than what’s available today.

This is not true. We are not using traditional referencing, in fact, we are ushering in a new way of referencing tenants using our Tenant Passport ™ and Tenant Score ™. We are not using Experian’s tenant background checker – we have built our own automated referencing system which is better than anything that is available today.

With our Tenant Passport ™ and Tenant Score ™, we do not have to wait to hear back from a landlord or employer and we have built a machine learning application that automatically detects rent payments.


 

RentalStep are reselling an Experian ‘credit history builder’ product, and we were approached to sell the same thing. I did look into what they were offering, and decided it was uncompetitive and unlikely to ever be adopted in the mainstream. Primarily because of the way payments are handled, and the emphasis on up-selling insurance policies. Because of this, there are few barriers to entry, and it’d be easy to replicate what they do – as long as Experian are continuing to push their product. I’d expect to see many similar services pop up over the next 12 months.

Again, untrue. We are not reselling Experian’s credit history builder. We are contributing to Experian Rental Exchange which provides a boost to a tenant’s credit score which is, of course, a huge benefit to tenants. CallCredit and Equifax are looking to provide something similar in the future. We do not handle rent payments directly and do not up-sell insurance policies.

I heard that the reason movem do not contribute to the Rental Exchange was very different to the explanation Peter put forward.


 

The RentalStep review mechanism has no underlying long-term value for landlords and agencies. On Movem, tenants can go on the site, find the best landlord, and then share their Passport with them. From what I can tell, RentalStep is private and behind closed doors. An agency or landlord with a great rank on RentalStep is worthless, because others can’t find it.

Oops, again, untrue. The long term value to landlords and agents of rentalstep reviews is similar to movem’s – a verified and trusted review of a tenant, landlord or agent, by trusted and verified parties. In my opinion, it is better to ask people to register on our site to access these reviews.


 

RentalStep (according to their website), absorb all the costs of tenant referencing in preparation for a £35 a month subscription service for landlords down the road. This business model would heavily rely on having signifiant funding to pay for those references, whereas Movem makes money on each reference. I believe RentalStep have taken this approach as the government suggested that they would make it an offence for landlords and agencies to force tenants to reference themselves. (This came out in the recent bill change).

Peter, once again, is completely wrong in his assumptions. Our referencing costs are near to zero and we are pioneering an innovative, new approach to referencing for both tenants and landlords using our Tenant Passport ™ and Tenant Score ™ . We have been active in our support and help in drafting the latest Draft Tenant Fees Bill (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-tenants-fees-bill).


 

Because of RentalStep’s reliance on the Experian system, they’re at the mercy of that single provider. For every API in Movem Passport, we’ve already built primary and secondary APIs. This gives us, and our shareholders, security that Passport can’t be switched off by a 3rd party. RentalStep has pushed this ‘credit history’ selling point, which is nice, but it creates a single point of failure. Unless the other 2 credit reference agencies launch a similar product, they’re stuck. It’s entirely possible that Experian will realise this new ‘credit builder’ package is losing money for them, and it’ll be turned off, regardless of the usage on RentalStep.

Oh dear, yet again, completely wrong assumptions. We are not reliant on Experian. We provide data to Experian which is then used to help tenants’ credit file. Our APIs can be used to integrate with a multitude of external systems, of which Experian is just one. I think this statement could be seen as libellous in stating we have a single point of failure and I will be asking Experian to comment on this also.


 

RentalStep can see if a tenant has paid rent on time, only if that tenant has previously used RentalStep. i.e, if a tenant ‘misses a year’, then they’ll have no relevant history. This is entirely plausible given the fragmented nature of the industry. On Movem, we retrospectively look at rental payments, so you can prove you paid rent on time even if you’ve never used Movem before.

Once again, completely wrong assumptions. We also integrate with a tenant’s bank, if that is the way they wish their rent payments to be verified, so we retrospectively look at their income and rent payments.


 

From my conversations with Experian about this same product, for tenants to prove they paid rent on time via RentalStep, they have to actually pay rent through Experian. i.e RentalStep will ask for your rent each month. I think this is unlikely to appeal to tenants, and when something goes wrong – which it always does – will the landlord miss a rent payment? They’ll only need a few instances of this to happen before the industry will lose confidence.

Wrong, yet again. Tenants do not pay rent through RentalStep. We provide a system whereby we see the rent payment going from to tenant to landlord but the payment is direct – we do not handle the rent.


 

In conclusion, RentalStep offers so much more than our competitors and have first-mover advantage is almost all areas of our business. We continue to stick to our great plan 🙂

Mike

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