John Lewis has announced details of a partnership with rental app Canopy to provide employees with the opportunity to have their rent payments recognised in their credit scores.
Any of the group's 85,500 partners who are currently renting will have access to Canopy's rent tracking product which automatically reconciles rent payments and can improve credit scores via Open Banking technology.
The retail superpower - which counts Waitrose among its brands - is also working to provide a 'tailored property search service' for its partners via Canopy.
Commenting on the partnership, Canopy's chief executive and founder, Tahir Farooqui says: "We want to support all parties in having a voice and a choice regarding how they rent, so that it works for them financially. John Lewis Partnership shares this vision.”
Stacey MacDougall, leisure benefits development manager at the John Lewis Partnership, adds: "For a number of years, we have seen shelter, accommodation or housing as one of the most important gaps in our offer."
"The importance of good shelter has a critical impact on individuals, their wellbeing, their effectiveness and happiness at work. Having listened to feedback from our Partners we made the decision to work with Canopy to help us bridge the gap in the shelter space."
The Canopy app was founded in 2016 by Tahir Farooqui. It provides a deposit-free insurance alternative for tenants as well as a credit score improving tool backed by Experian.
Canopy's 'Rent Passport' allows tenants to build a 'Trust Score' which instantly verifies everything from their income, creditworthiness, and employment to their regular rent payments and past references.
The startup was recently named as one of six winners of the government's Rent Recognition Challenge - which aims to provide the technological means for tenants to be able to share their rental payment histories with mortgage lenders and credit reference agencies.
Meanwhile, the overall movement to ensure tenants' rental payment histories are included in their credit scores has been gaining momentum in recent months.
The Creditworthiness Assessment Bill - which aims to make it a lawful requirement for rent payment to be recognised for future finance - continues to move through Parliament and has received support from many industry commentators, including PayProp’s Neil Cobbold.
*This story has been amended from the original version published on the morning of May 24.