Rush Communications Inc., founded by the recording industry mogul Russell Simmons, has introduced a service to help holders of its prepaid debit cards establish credit histories.
The New York company has also begun offering mobile phone text alerts of transaction activity on the RushCard. Both services are free, and cardholders must choose to enroll.
Regular bill payments made using the RushCard by customers who sign up for the RushPath to Credit service will be reported to the alternative credit bureau Pay Rent Build Credit Inc. of Annapolis, Md.
The bureau keeps records of rent, cable, phone, electric and other recurring bill payments by people with little or no traditional credit history, to help them establish creditworthiness when they apply for loans.
Corey Stone, its chief executive officer, said in an interview Monday that the arrangement with Rush would give Pay Rent Build Credit more access to the underbanked population.
Rush is "one of the leading prepaid card issuers" and the deal will yield an "expansion of our data set to include another part of the population who uses these prepaid cards to pay their bills," Mr. Stone said.
"People are using this card in many cases to pay regular bills," he said. "We're capturing these transactions, using them as evidence that people are paying bills on a regular basis."
Rush Communications, whose prepaid cards run on Visa Inc.'s network, said it developed the mobile phone alert feature to help cardholders track their spending and finances.
The text messages can provide information on things like balances and deposits, depending on the cardholder's preferences.