Credit scores affect many areas of your life. This includes your financial, personal, and even professional life. Low credit scores make renting an apartment, buying a car, applying for a mortgage, or even getting a job hard.
If you have a low credit score but want great interest rates or better credit card offers, you may consider Experian Boost.
Created by one of the three credit bureau agencies, Experian Boost helps increase your credit score for free. But, is the program worth it? Should you try it?
Check out our review below.
What is Experian Boost?
Experian Boost gives consumers a chance to show they can pay their bills on time by reporting their utility bill payments. If you pay your telephone or utility bills on time and with your checking account (not credit cards), Experian will report the information for you. Positive credit history may help increase your credit score.
Experian believes by adding the positive history to your account, your FICO 8 credit score, which most lenders pull, will benefit.
Who is Eligible for Experian Boost?
Anyone with a social security number, a checking account, and utility bills may use Experian Boost. Consumers with a thin credit profile or poor scores benefit the most, though.
It’s free to sign up for an account and use Experian Boost. If you pay your utility bills on time and think your credit score needs a boost, it’s worth a try.
How Experian Boost Works
Using Experian Boost is simple. Sign up for an Experian account and then opt into the Boost program. Experian will ask for access to your checking account. This is ‘read-only’ access. Experian cannot change your account details or have access to it.
You choose the accounts you want Experian to include in your score – only utility and phone bills work. But, Experian doesn’t automatically report the information. They reach out to you first.
You can omit any information you don’t want included. For example, if you pay your phone bill late, Experian won’t report it, so it won’t hurt your credit score. They’ll only report positive information, but you must make at 3 payments within a 6 month window to qualify.
Pros and Cons
- Experian Boost is free
- It only reports positive information so you can’t make your credit score worse
- Experian Boost uses 256-bit SSL encryption and your bank account data is read-only
- Your credit score may increase immediately (if you have positive information to report)
- You can increase your credit score without using a credit card or applying for a new loan
- If you pay your utility or phone bills with a credit card to get rewards, you can’t use Experian Boost
- You need at least a 3-month history of utility payments for Experian Boost to work
- You must pay a vendor directly; sending electronic payments to your roommate to pay the bill won’t count
- The accounts must be individual; any combined utility accounts won’t show up in Experian Boost
Should you Use Experian Boost?
What’s the bottom line? Is Experian Boost worth it?
While Experian claims millions boosted their scores already and the average user increases their score by 13 points, it’s not that clear.
Most people that benefit from the program are those with low or thin credit scores. For example, if you only have a few secured credit cards, you have a thin credit profile. You may not even have a credit score, but Experian Boost may change that by including your utility bills as a tradeline.
If you have established credit and just want a ‘boost,’ though, you may not see much of a change with the program. A few months of utility payments (even made on time) may not make much of a difference. While you may see your score increase by a point or two, it won’t be enough to make a drastic change.
If your credit score needs help, consider Experian Boost, but in addition to your own efforts. Make sure you pay your bills on time and don’t overextend your credit. Use your credit responsibly by not applying for new credit you don’t need. The combined efforts with Experian Boost may help improve your score enough to make a difference.