Should You Use Experian Boost?

It’s a personal decision, but Experian Boost is an easy way to improve your credit score. Plus, there’s no fee or monthly obligation associated with the service, and you can discontinue your enrollment at any time. 

Pros of Experian Boost

Experian Boost can’t help everyone, but there are some potential benefits for people who can take advantage of it:

  • It’s free: A lot of credit monitoring companies charge for their services. And while Experian does have some premium features you have to pay for, you can get FICO score access, a free Experian credit report, and Experian Boost for free.
  • It’s easy: It doesn’t take much to enroll. And, according to Experian, it only takes about five minutes to get your boost.
  • You get instant results: If you’re eligible to get a boost, you’ll see your results immediately. Other strategies for improving your credit can take several months before you see a potential change.
  • It can make a difference for many: If you have poor or limited credit, it can be tough to get approved for loans and credit cards. In the right situation, Experian Boost can add valuable information to your credit file and potentially increase your score enough to make a difference in your approval odds and interest rates.

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Is Experian Boost Legal?

You might wonder if all of this is legal. Can Experian expect you to give them access to your bank history so they can see your payment records?  

Rest assured that Boost is 100% legal. The service is optional.  You do not have to participate.  As for their access to your records, that’s Experian’s entire business model. They are a consumer reporting agency.  Every time a credit card company or lender has sent Experian information about you, you have given them permission to do so (probably in the fine print when applying for a new credit card or loan, which few of us ever read).

Experian Boost Support

Experian Boost is easy to use. Visit Experian.com and click “Sign In” in the upper right corner to log in. 

The service is free, but they ask you to upgrade each time. To access your account, just click the option that says “No, Keep My Current Membership.”

Navigating to Experian Boost is easy. Click the menu button and select “Experian Boost” under the “Reports & Scores” section. If you hit a snag, you can call customer support at 866-617-1894.

It helps to have your Member ID number when you call. You can find it by clicking the menu button and then going to your profile.

If you want to cancel your account, it’s easy to do with the automated phone system.

Experian Boost can help you build your credit record with phone and utility payments… and it’s absolutely free! Try Experian Boost Now!

When It Doesn’t Really Help?

But although Experian Boost can increase your credit score, the service doesn’t help everyone

Remember:

This service is only offered through Experian.

So, on-time utility and cell phone payments will only appear on your Experian credit report

The inclusion of these payments on your credit file is only beneficial when future creditors pull your Experian credit report. Or, when they pull your score from credit scoring models that recognize Experian data—FICO (FICO 8 and 9) and VantageScore (3.0 and 4.0).

There are three major credit bureaus, the other two being Equifax and TransUnion.

Some creditors and lenders pull all three credit reports when reviewing credit applications. But others only pull one report. 

So if you improve your Experian credit file, yet a lender reviews your TransUnion credit file, Experian Boost isn’t going to help.

Be mindful that Boost scans your bank account (either your checking or savings account) to look for qualifying on-time payment.

So the service also doesn’t help if you make your cell phone payments or utility payments with a credit card.

Is Experian Boost Worth It?

Experian Boost is a free feature that can help you raise your FICO® Score in a matter of minutes. For anyone who has worked to improve their credit scores over months or even years, seeing those credit scores go up instantly can be extremely rewarding.

Having a good credit score not only makes you feel good, but it can also help you save money and expose you to new financial opportunities. Your improved FICO® Score may help you get a favorable interest rate on a new loan, which could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Your improved credit score may also make you eligible for a new type of credit. These positive outcomes make Experian Boost worth it for many consumers.

How Do You Sign Up for Experian Boost?

It’s easy to sign up for Experian Boost. You can get started online or via the mobile app by enrolling in the Experian CreditWorks℠ Basic membership program. There’s no cost to create an account, and you’ll need to provide your first and last name, current address, email address, and password you’d like to use to access the dashboard.

Once your account is open, you’ll be asked to connect your bank account(s). Experian will analyze transactions to identify qualifying payments you can use. You will be asked to confirm these accounts before moving forward and can disconnect your account(s) at any time if you want to stop using Experian Boost. 

So, Can Experian Boost Improve Your Credit Score?

Two thirds of people who sign up for Experian Boost see an increase in their score, and the average jump is 13 points, according to Griffin.

If your credit score is already at the higher end of the spectrum (mid-700s and above), any boost you see may be minimal. But for people with credit scores of 680 or lower, the average increase is 19 points. 

“The people who see the most impact are people who have a short credit history, a thin credit profile made up of fewer than five accounts, or scores below about 680,” Griffin says. “So if you’re just starting out or you’ve had some credit issues in the past but you’re moving in the right direction, that’s who is benefiting the most.”

If you don’t see any benefits to your score initially, it is possible that Boost will help over time through a sustained positive payment history. Still, you can choose to remove Experian Boost from your credit report at any time with no negative repercussions; your Experian credit score will simply revert to what it was before.

My second Experian Boost

Fast forward to June 2020, and I’d moved again. My Experian app sent me a notification that it was time for me to check my updated score. I did—it went from 645 to 648. I was about to close the app and try to be excited about my 3-point gain, when I noticed that Experian was asking whether I wanted to confirm new utility payments it found on my bank account eligible for Boost. Of course I did!

I had been paying my utilities for over three months now, so they could count toward my FICO score with Boost. I confirmed the payments and raised my score by 9 extra points to 657.

That felt wonderful. Gradually, my FICO score was climbing higher and higher. And one credit limit increase, one credit card upgrade and one new credit card later (thanks, CardMatch!), I  got to 667 this January.

I was getting so close to good credit.

How Experian Boost™ Works

Experian Boost is free to use and there are no existing membership requirements to sign up. To receive a “boost,” individuals create a free Experian account and navigate to the product’s page.

From there, users will be prompted to connect the bank account they use to pay their bills. For those wary of granting third-party access to their account, Experian explains that its product can access only read-only data from a bank, and doesn’t have access to any of the funds. Once an account is connected, the feature scans transactions for on-time utility, cell phone and streaming video plans, including Netflix, HBO, Disney+ and Hulu payments. Experian needs at least three months of payments within a six-month window.

Experian Boost shows users which bills are pulled and when they were paid. The feature only pulls positive payment history, which means it won’t report any negative information that could lower your credit score. Users also have the option to exclude any payments they don’t want to be added to their file.

Read More: How to Review Your Credit Report

Is the Credit Score Increase Immediate?

Yes! After these accounts have been added to a consumer’s Experian credit file, a new “boosted” FICO® Score will be calculated and, just like that, a consumer may have a higher credit score. Higher scores may make them eligible for credit they could not get before.

How Much of a Credit Boost to Expect

Experian Boost has helped more than 1 million Americans increase their credit score. 

According to one study, about “61 percent of Experian Boost users have increased their FICO credit scores by an average of 13 points per user.”

The survey also found that “64 percent of users went from having a very poor score to a fair score.” And among users with a thin credit file, “about 86 percent saw an increase in their scores.”

Can Experian Boost help your credit?

The short answer is: maybe. How much (or even if) Experian Boost helps your credit rating will depend a lot on your existing credit history. For example, if you already have a pretty robust credit history, then you're not likely to see a huge credit boost from adding the extra utility data.

On the other hand, folks with no or limited credit history could benefit from Experian Boost. If you don't have enough credit history to qualify for an Experian credit score, the extra payment history could help you qualify. You may also see a benefit if you have a low credit score due to your limited credit history.

According to Experian, 10% of people with thin files are eligible for a credit score after using Boost. The company also says that Boost improved the scores of 75% of people with a FICO® Score below 680.

One thing to note is that Experian Boost only works with your Experian credit report. You have credit reports from the two other consumer credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. Experian Boost data won't have any impact on your other credit reports. It's hard to predict which credit bureau a lender will query. If they pull your credit history and score from TransUnion or Equifax, the Experian Boost data will not help you.

On the plus side, Experian Boost data will apply to most credit scoring models that use your Experian credit report. This includes your basic FICO® Score, as well as more specific scores like FICO® Bankcard Scores and FICO® Auto Scores.

Who is Experian Boost best for?

Anyone can take advantage of Experian Boost, but the people who may enjoy the benefits the most are consumers with thin credit files and poor credit. If you’re looking to build your credit score or rebuild after you’ve made some mistakes, Experian Boost is a free and easy way to add some positive bill payments to your file.

Just remember that there are some limitations, and it won’t necessarily boost your credit score. But when you’re working to improve your credit score, anything that can help is probably a good thing.

Who will benefit the most from Experian Boost?

So, what can you expect from using Boost? Well, the more lines of data you can supply, the better. Here’s who benefits the most:

  • Those with thin credit files (five or fewer accounts) will see the biggest impact from the program, but you need to have at least one open traditional account to get a score boost.
  • If you’re new to credit (short credit history) or just don’t have much in your credit file, you can benefit from the program quite a bit.
  • Those with scores just below the next credit scoring tier might want to consider using the program.

Score increases of approximately 10 to 30 points are typically doable and the impact is almost immediate. During the sign-up process, Experian will give you a free credit report and score. Once sign-up is complete, you get an updated score right away.

Even people with top scores can add a few extra points, but the impact of moving from 800 to 805 is not as dramatic as moving from 680 to 700. The Boost data affects FICO 8 and 9 and VantageScore 3 and 4.

Keep in mind that this service is available only from Experian, so if a prospective lender only uses credit reports and scores from Equifax or TransUnion, Experian Boost may not help you get approved for a credit card or a loan.

FAQs

  • Yes, Experian Boost is safe to use. Boost only adds on-time payments to your credit report, so it cannot hurt your credit score.

  • How well Experian Boost works will depend on your existing credit history. If you have little or no credit history, you could see a large impact from Boost. However, if you already have good credit, you will likely see much smaller — if any — impact.

  • The best way to improve your credit scores is to use credit responsibly. This means making all of your debt payments on time and keeping your credit card balances low. A simple method to establish and build credit is with a credit card. Use the credit card to pay a small monthly bill, such as a streaming service. Then, set up automatic payments through your bank so your credit card is paid in full and on time every month. This will build your positive payment history. Choose a credit card with no annual fee. If you can't qualify for an unsecured card, try a secured credit card.

How Can a Good Credit Score Help You?

The list is long, but here are a few important ways a good credit score can help you:

  • You have a much better chance of getting approved for credit cards and loans.
  • You’ll likely get better credit terms, such as lower interest rates and fees.
  • You can typically get approved for higher credit limits.
  • You will have more opportunity to open utility or mobile phone accounts without a security deposit.

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