Pinata promises to help renters build credit by reporting on-time rent payments. It may also help you win some rewards and discounts.

Expected pay: negligible

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: 18+; U.S. resident

Pinata Review:

Pinata promises to help renters build credit by reporting on-time rent payments to the three major credit bureaus. It may also help renters earn some rewards and discounts. The product is free to renters. However, landlords may pay fees to the platform to have the site manage collections and for other services. 

Like most reward programs, this one isn’t going to knock your socks off with its generosity. Often, the rewards are the same things you could get elsewhere through manufacturer-provided discounts or free trial offers.

However, the ability to build credit for making rent payments, which traditionally are not reported to credit bureaus, is a valuable benefit. It’s particularly valuable if you are young and have a “thin” credit file or are trying to repair bad credit.

Why? Where mortgage payments are always reported to credit bureaus and are a key component of a homeowner’s credit score, rent payments are not. That can cause renters to have lower credit scores than homeowners, even when they’re equally consistent about making payments.

Lower credit scores are a hurdle for renters who want to someday own real estate or borrow to buy a car. Credit scores determine how much you pay for loans and whether you can qualify to borrow at all. The higher your credit score, the lower the cost of your loans.

Buying and paying through Pinata

That said, buying products through Pinata to get “points” doesn’t make sense. The site’s terms say that Pinata provides no guarantees or refunds. And the points you’ll earn don’t appear to be any more generous than the points you earn when using a rewards card. Moreover, the points can only be spent in Pinata’s marketplace. You can’t convert them to cash.

Pinata’s neutral Husl$core reflects the benefit of the site’s credit-building, while discounting the value of Pinata rewards.

What their users say (Apple App Store)

“I’m in process of setting up my account now but wanted to say thank you ! I’m 65 years old & have pretty much been a renter my entire life. And I am grateful that making my monthly rent payment on time will be acknowledged. My luck in the credit dept. is bad due to my poor choices. But I consistently pay rent, utilities, cell phone, etc without fail. Because that’s not reported to credit bureaus, I appear to be a loser because I have no credit cards, car loan, outstanding school loans and/or real estate loans. Bottom line, no history of payments to creditors then no credit offered or given.”

“I’ve gotten rewards cash for paying rent and I’ve gotten some deals on wine, restaurants, gifts, even soft bamboo pajamas! The app is well designed, snappy, and easy to navigate.”

“I love this as it gives you credit for renting and different options on how you would like to report your payments. I love the mini game also.”

“It’s a good app. But if you put an option to cash out to PayPal would be better.”

Junk rewards

“All of the “rewards” so far have been junk. They were not actually gift cards or free items but the same promos anyone can get, like “free” meals with Hello Fresh when you sign up as a new customer or a “free” custom book IF you subscribe to the $20 a month book club. The only one that wasn’t just a promo was a $10 Target gift card— for $100 of Pinata currency. The only benefit to this service is the credit reporting.”

“I got my hopes up here. A $30 gift card every pay day? Count me in! Unfortunately all the app is doing is preying on the fact that you just got paid to make you spend money. The “$30” becomes just a discount to certain websites, like $50 out of $100 worth of wine, or $20 off something that costs at least $30 plus shipping.”

Lured into spending

“The app is not designed to save you any money. Instead it is designed to make you spend on meaningless things you’ll never need. Uninstall it ASAP!”

“Another consumer selling app that forces you to subscribe to all sorts of random useless junk. You can’t redeem your points without sharing your credit card to their useless third party people which will inevitably sign you up for random subscribers offers. So frustrating!”

“This app is a fun idea to add more rewards to paying rent, however the prizes are a bit annoying because it is for memberships that you have to purchase something to even revive the reward. Recommend actually providing some rewards even if they are small.”

“They will show you $30 initial rewards as you can chose from Uber and Grubhub and many other useful sites, but once you try to redeem, it will show you can only chose from some meal kit subscriptions and wine subscription. This is mentioned by many users and it’s true. Deleted my account within 5 minutes of making it.”

Reviewed 11/8/2021