CNN underlined examines financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their aggregate value. We may receive a commission from Experian if you sign up for Experian Boost through the links on this page, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
Having a good credit score is important because a good score can give you access to the best loans, mortgages, and credit cards. But what if your credit score is not very good? Or do you have a limited credit history? Lenders can be reluctant to approve people with bad credit scores for new credit cards or loans, making it even more difficult to build – or rebuild – your credit history.
While there are many “credit repair” companies that claim to repair your credit, they can be expensive, and it’s not always clear which ones have less than stellar track records. However, there is a relatively new way to potentially increase your credit scores in minutes – and it’s free.
The feature is called Experian Boost ™*, and it’s definitely legitimate. In fact, Experian® is one of the top three credit reporting agencies in the United States and has been in business for over 20 years, so it has extensive experience with credit scores. But does Experian Boost actually improve your FICO® score **, which is used by 90% of major lenders? We will take a look.
Experian Boost is designed to help give credit to people where credit is due. By providing your information to Experian, you can get credit for on-time payments that are not normally part of your credit history, such as payments for utilities, telecommunications, cable, and certain streaming services.
On-time payments make up 35% of your FICO® score, so if you’ve been on the ball in paying your utility bills, phone bills, and even your Netflix® streaming service payments each month, you can get them. add to your credit report. and potentially increase your FICO score ***.
Related: What is a good credit score?
When you access Experian Boost, it allows you to connect your checking, savings, and other bank or credit card accounts that you use to pay your monthly bills so that your payment history can be added to your credit report. Experian.
As long as you have at least three consecutive months of payments within the past six months from the same account, Experian Boost will detect positive payment activity and add it to your Experian credit report. Best of all, it won’t flag negative payments – only those that were paid on time.
The Boost process is fairly straightforward and only takes a few minutes. After creating a Experian , you then link your financial institutions where you manage your checking, savings, or other bank or credit card accounts that you use to pay your bills, and enter your login credentials to link them seamlessly.
If you have multiple accounts at the same financial institution, Experian allows you to select which accounts you want to include so you can just add the accounts you use to pay your bills.
Once you’ve linked your accounts, Experian will automatically review all of your recent transactions and identify payments that can be added to your Experian credit report, such as utility bills. It then shows you a list of eligible invoices and allows you to select which ones you want to add to your report.
Experian Boost keeps you informed as it searches for potential payments that may improve your credit scores.
Make your selections and in a few moments Experian Boost takes the new information into account and shows you your new (hopefully improved) FICO® score. Since Experian Boost does not include missed payments, your FICO score will not decrease, but it might not change if there is not enough information about added accounts or if your FICO score is already relatively. Student.
While this doesn’t change your FICO® score, the process is as easy as it sounds and literally costs nothing. And once that’s all set up, Experian Boost will continue to monitor your payments and may increase your credit scores if future payments make a difference.
It depends. According to Experian, US users increased their FICO® scores by nearly 45 million points, and the average FICO score increased by 12 points while using Experian Boost. Those with little or no credit history and those with very low to fair credit generally see the largest increases in the FICO score.
We tried Experian Boost ourselves and found the process very simple, but we didn’t see any increases in our credit scores. This is probably because the CNN underlined reviewers who have tried it already pay their bills on time and have high credit scores to begin with.
Our evaluators did not see any change in our FICO® score with Experian Boost, but people with little or no credit history and those with very low to fair credit generally see the largest increases.
But people who pay their bills through their bank account and don’t have a credit card or long-standing loan history may see a bigger impact. This is because you will begin to complete your “payment history” component of your FICO® score, which is one of the most important factors in a credit score.
There aren’t really any real downsides to Experian Boost – the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t change your FICO® score. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t hurt your credit, so the only thing you might lose is a few minutes of your time setting it up. Membership in Experian also provides your FICO score for free on an ongoing basis, which is useful as you work to improve your credit rating.
However, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. First, Experian Boost adds only those positive payments to your Experian credit report – it cannot add any information to reports from other credit bureaus, such as Equifax or TransUnion. So if you apply for a credit card and the lender pulls your credit report from another office, the lender won’t see improved credit scores.
You will also find that the tool will not work for invoices that are not in your name, even if you contribute to them. For example, if you live with roommates and send your share of the gas bill to your roommate through Venmo or PayPal, or give them a check or cash, Experian Boost will not collect those payments.
Finally, some people are not comfortable providing their bank ID to a third party. According to Experian, when you use Experian Boost, Experian only uses your bank credentials to capture your current positive payments and identify any potential new bonuses.
For added protection, Experian also ensures that your bank account name and address match those on your Experian membership profile. Nonetheless, if you are concerned about privacy, you might decide that the Experian Boost benefit is not worth sharing your personal information.
If your FICO® Score can help, there is essentially nothing wrong with trying Experian Boost.
Frankly, yes, especially if your credit scores could be of help. Not everyone’s FICO® score will increase with Experian Boost, but the service is free and it only takes a few minutes to enter your information and connect your accounts. There is very little downside to using this feature and you can always remove the added payment history from your Experian credit report if you wish.
The best way to permanently improve your credit scores is to methodically reduce your debt by paying your loans, mortgages, and credit card bills on time every month. But this process can take some time, so in the meantime, potentially try to give your credit scores a little boost for free with Experian Boost.
* Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval ratings. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use Experian Boost impacted scores.
** Credit score calculated using the FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a FICO score other than the FICO 8 score, or any other type of credit score. Learn more.
*** Experian and the Trademarks of Experian used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian and its subsidiaries. The use of any other trade name, copyright or trademark is for identification and reference purposes only and does not imply any association with the copyright or trademark holder of their product or Mark. Other product and company names mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.