TransUnion SmartMove

TransUnion’s SmartMove background check service is trusted by more than 400 companies and used by over 3.7 million landlords. The service is designed for the average independent landlord. Independent landlords are at greater risk of renting to high-risk tenants that fail to pay rent.

The service offers a comprehensive screening service, which includes credit checks, eviction reports, criminal background checks and more. Using this information, landlords can make smarter decisions when renting to tenants.

Credit checks play an important role in evaluating potential tenants. SmartMove makes it easier to evaluate and assess background check-related data for each potential tenant.

How Does TransUnion SmartMove Rental Background Checks Work?

how does smartmove tenant screening work?

SmartMove is convenient and easy to use. Here’s how it works:

  • Create an account (it’s free), and send your tenant an invite for the background check.
  • Your tenant accepts the screening invite and completes the application.
  • SmartMove performs a background check and sends over the screening reports.

The SmartMove screening process requires both the landlord and the tenant to participate. Because the tenant initiates the screening process, it saves you – the landlord – time and paperwork.

SmartMove’s screening reports include:

  • Criminal check
  • Credit check
  • Eviction report
  • Income Insights

What does each report offer?

Criminal Check

SmartMove searches more than 370 million criminal records on the state and national level. Results are available in just a few minutes and can be accessed 24/7.

The company uses advanced filters to search:

  • Most wanted databases
  • 44 criminal background checks (state level)
  • National Sex Offender Public Registry

Credit Check

SmartMove uses ResidentScore to predict the risk of eviction. The company claims that this score is 15% more accurate than traditional credit scores.

The credit score report does not have an impact on the tenant’s credit score because it’s a soft inquiry. The report is formatted in a user-friendly manner for easy viewing and is accessible online.

Eviction Report

SmartMove searches one of the biggest eviction databases that are subject to FCRA, which has more than 27 million eviction records. This database covers all states as well as Washington DC.

The eviction report pulls data from public court records as well as information that’s reported directly to TransUnion. Each report includes information about:

  • Tenant judgments
  • Failure to pay rent
  • Unlawful detainers
  • Writs of eviction

A tenant with a history of evictions may be at a higher risk of future evictions. This information allows landlords to make smarter decisions when renting to tenants.

Income Insights

SmartMove’s Income Insights report helps you determine which tenants require additional verification. The goal with this service is to avoid costly and time-consuming manual income checks.

Income Insights can help reduce your risk of issues with tenants making payments. It lets you know whether a tenant is being truthful about their income. The report’s estimate includes both job and non-job-related income sources.

SmartMove uses data directly from TransUnion to generate this report, including:

  • How much tenants pay towards their balances
  • How much they spend
  • The types of balances they carry

By comparing this information with the tenant’s self-reported income, SmartMove will determine whether additional income verification is recommended.

It’s important to note that applicants must have at least one tradeline account on their credit report to return an Income Insights result. Applicants that have no credit or a light credit history may also not return a result for Income Insights.

Also, the report doesn’t tell you exactly how much the applicant earns. It’s merely a recommendation on whether or not additional verification is required.


SmartMove can also provide landlord with a recommendation for each applicant, including:

  • Leasing recommendation for each applicant
  • Income to rent ratio for applications

The Recommendation service is helpful for landlords who need a little extra help determining whether or not to rent to an applicant.

What are the Benefits of Using a Tenant Screening Service?

Why should landlords use SmartMove? There are many tenant screening services out there, but SmartMove offers many benefits.

A Trusted Name

SmartMove is part of TransUnion, which is a credible and trusted credit bureau. Landlords can be sure that the reports they receive include data from reliable sources.

Pay as You Go

It’s free to sign up for an account with SmartMove. The company uses a pay-as-you-go model. Landlords can choose to pass the cost of each check onto the renter, essentially eliminating the expense of the screening service.

Reduce the Risk of Eviction

SmartMove’s screening service can help reduce the risk of evictions. As a landlord, you know that the eviction process is both complex and expensive. According to SmartMove, it can cost $3,500 or more and 3-4 weeks to evict a tenant.

Safer for Tenants

While SmartMove is designed to reduce risks for landlords, it also offers benefits for tenants. Background checks and income verifications are both common in the renting world. Tenants accept it as par for the course, but that doesn’t mean that they feel comfortable providing their potential landlords with such sensitive information.

With SmartMove, tenants are providing their personal information, such as their social security number, with TransUnion, a trusted credit bureau.

Also, applicants don’t have to worry about their credit being harmed by the background check. They initiate the screening process, so the credit check is considered a soft inquiry and will not impact their score.

Quick Results

SmartMove provides reports quickly, so landlords don’t have to waste more time than necessary on the screening process.

In most cases, criminal reports can be provided instantly (with the exception of Wyoming, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Kentucky and South Dakota).

Because SmartMove is a consumer-initiated service, you save time and don’t have to deal with a mountain of paperwork. Reports are delivered in minutes, so you can move through your screening and tenant selection process more quickly.

Easy-to-Read Reports

SmartMove provides reports that are easy to read and digest, so your decision-making process isn’t more complicated than it needs to be.

All of your reports can be accessed online whenever you need to view it – 24/7. The convenience of online viewing and quick reporting makes this service invaluable to landlords who don’t have time to waste on manually screening processes.

What About Costs?

It’s free to create an account with SmartMove, but landlords do have to pay a fee for each screening. The pay-as-you-go model saves money compared to subscription-based services. Landlords can also choose to pass the cost to the applicant.

Costs are reasonable, and there are three levels of screening bundles to choose from:

SmartCheck Basic

  • $25 per screening
  • ResidentScore
  • National Criminal Background Report

SmartCheck Plus

  • $38 per screening
  • ResidentScore
  • National Criminal Background Report
  • Eviction report
  • Full credit report

SmartCheck Premium

  • $40 per screening
  • ResidentScore
  • National Criminal Background Report
  • Eviction report
  • Full credit report
  • Income Insights

The SmartCheck Premium bundle provides the most data for each tenant. If you’re serious about screening tenants and reducing risk, this plan is ideal.

Who is TransUnion SmartMove For?

SmartMove is designed for independent landlords who don’t own hundreds of properties. Yes, they do offer services for property managers and real estate agents, but independent landlords will benefit most from their services.

SmartMove helps landlords reduce their risks of eviction and late-paying tenants by providing detailed reports on the tenant’s criminal, eviction and credit history.