Can You Strengthen Your Credit?

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Having good credit can improve your financial health. Even a small increase in your credit score may lead to significant savings on interest payments for big purchases.

Unfortunately, building good credit can be challenging. Most lenders want to see a good credit score before providing a loan, but you typically need a loan to build your credit in the first place. 

Experian Boost offers a unique opportunity to build your credit score without any credit accounts. Our Experian Boost review can help you determine if this service can help you improve your credit score. 

Experian

Summary

Experian Boost can help you build credit based on the on-time payments you are already making to utility companies and streaming services.

Pros

  • Free
  • Add positive information
  • Proven results

Cons

  • Checking account payments required
  • Only reports to Experian

What is Experian Boost?

Experian Boost was created by Experian. With this relatively new service, the credit bureau offers an opportunity to use utility payments as positive information for your credit report. 

The idea is that these payments will give your credit score a boost. In some cases, the boost might even be instantaneous. 

Experian Boost home page

Basically, if you regularly pay your bills on time but don’t have a credit account, then Experian Boost could be a game-changer for you.

How Does Experian Boost Work

Experian Boost essentially “boosts” your credit score. But how exactly does it work?

How Experian Boost works

The process starts by signing up for a free Experian Boost account. Once you create an account, Experian will ask you to connect to the bank account that you use to pay your bills. 

It’s important to note that Experian only accesses your bank account to read information. It won’t have any access to your money. 

Once Experian Boost can see your transactions, it will scan for on-time payments for certain bills. 

As of now, these bills include:

  • Utility payments
  • Cell phone services
  • Streaming services

In order for a bill to be eligible, there must be a record of at least three months of payments within a six-month period. If you want any payments excluded from your credit file, you can let Experian know. 

When this positive payment history information is added to your credit file, it should give your score the boost you are looking for. 

Since Experian Boost only pulls positive information from your bank account, there’s no chance that your credit score will suffer at the hands of Experian Boost. 

Experian Boost Pricing

You might be surprised to learn that Experian Boost is absolutely free to use. 

Experian Boost pricing

You won’t have to pay a dime to use this credit score boosting service. This differs from many other credit building services currently on the market.

Key Features

When considering Experian Boost, the features are what make it an exciting opportunity. 

Reports Payment Information for Non-Credit Accounts

Experian Boost reports

Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score. As the biggest part of your credit report, it’s clear that a history of on-time payments is critical for building good credit. 

Traditionally, only credit accounts are reported on your credit report. These include loan payments or lines of credit that you make payments to. For example, credit cards and auto loans are considered credit accounts. 

But, chances are that credit accounts aren’t the only bills in your budget. After all, most of us pay for utilities, cell phone services and streaming services. 

If you are making on-time payments to one of these non-credit accounts, that can feel unfair. 

Experian Boost changes this by reporting payment information from several different types of accounts. 

Here are the account types that Experian Boost can report:

  • Water
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Cable
  • Cell phone
  • Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu

In order for the account to be included, you must have made at least three payments in the last six months. 

Importantly, Experian Boost will only report positive payment history. So, if you missed one of these payments, that won’t show up on your credit report. 

This means that the service can only help, not hurt, your credit score.

Improve Your Credit Score

Who is using Experian boost

According to Experian, the average Experian Boost user improved their FICO score by 13 points. This can be a major benefit when it comes to your personal finances.

With even a small credit score boost, you could unlock better financing terms to save yourself thousands on major purchases. This is especially true if the boost gets your credit score over the threshold from fair to good. 

Experian Boost is a useful option for those with a thin credit file. It will add information to your account that will expand your report. 

Easy to Use

Experian Boost offers the chance to improve your credit score for free. Plus, you won’t have to wade through a time-consuming process to do so.

It should only take a few minutes to start using Experian Boost. Once you connect your bank account, Experian will automatically search for payment information. 

You’ll have the chance to verify the positive payment history that you’d like added to your file. If one of your bills isn’t showing up, you can contact Experian Boost to see what the hold-up is. 

But, with thousands of utility providers connected, yours should already be in the system. 

Includes Credit Monitoring and Alerts 

Experian Boost Credit monitoring

Experian Boost comes with many of the regular benefits that an Experian account offers. Specifically, you’ll have free access to credit monitoring and alerts. 

With that, Experian will update you if there are any issues with your credit report. Plus, it will ping you when any new credit activity is happening. 

Dark Web Surveillance Report

No one wants their information on the dark web. But how can you find out if it’s there?

Experian Boost can help with that. The service provides a free dark web surveillance report. Within the report, you’ll see if any of your information has been compromised. 

Experian Boost dark web monitor

If it has, it’s time to make some changes to your passwords. 

Access Your Experian Credit Report and FICO Score

When you want to give your credit score a boost, it’s a good idea to understand where you are starting from. Experian Boost makes that easy by providing access to your Experian Credit Report and FICO Score. 

With this information, you can start to work towards a better score. 

Focuses on FICO Scores

Although Experian Boost will only add your positive payment history to your credit file, the service will only help you at one credit bureau. This data is only added to your Experian credit report. 

Unfortunately, this means that your credit report on file at TransUnion and Equifax will not receive this positive information. Only your FICO score will be impacted.

As a result, you might have major score discrepancies across the three bureaus. 

If a lender checks your score with another credit bureau, then you might not qualify for the loan or you may receive a higher interest rate than you would with a lender who considers FICO scores.

The good news is that most lenders only review FICO scores, so this shouldn’t be a huge deterrent when you are evaluating this service.

Customer Reviews

Every financial service has advantages and disadvantages. The great thing about customer reviews is it’s easy to see what people like and don’t like about a service. You can use that intel to decide if a service is a good fit for your needs.

Here’s how Experian Boost stacks up on various rating websites:

Website Ranking Number of Reviews
Trustpilot 3.7 out of 5 38,000+
Google Play 4.7 out of 5 365,000+
Apple App Store 4.8 out of 5 Over 1.8 million
BBB 1.03 out of 5 290+

Here’s some feedback that users left on different websites:

I was able to bring my credit score from 626 to a 723 with in the 4 month. I greatly recommend it you get notified when something changes your score whether is positive or negative. App keeps you informed.Maria Ramirez

This was a joke for the boost only to give me 4 points won’t recommend this or use this again” – Leonard Trejo

I love the boost. The boost sent my credit score up.” – Angela Ross

Is a long way away from when it should be implemented. Not up to par as of yet. Don’t bother.” – Gary Jordan

Alternatives To Experian Boost

Experian Boost won’t be the right fit for everyone. Specifically, it isn’t ideal for those who primarily use a credit card or work with a lender that doesn’t evaluate FICO scores.

Fortunately, Experian Boost is not the only way to build a better credit score. 

From other companies that let you build credit by paying subscription fees to credit builder loans to credit-building debit cards and more, here are a few of the top Experian Boost alternatives.

Credit Strong

Credit Strong offers a credit builder loan that basically forces you to build savings into your budget. 

It’s important to note that you won’t receive the funds upfront. Instead, the company will put your funds into a savings account. You’ll receive the principal value of your loan at the end of your loan term. 

Credit Strong reports that it can build the average user’s credit score by 70 points in one year. That’s a much bigger boost than Experian claims to give. However, this is a more involved option.

Extra is a debit card that offers you the chance to build your credit score by spending the funds already in your bank account. This means that you won’t have to carefully watch your credit limit. 

Instead, Extra will connect to your bank account. When you spend money, Extra will cover the cost. The next day, you’ll pay Extra back. 

Each month, Extra reports the sum of your on-time payments to Experian and Equifax. 

Although there is a fee to use this card, it could be the right move for your credit score. 

Grow Credit

Grow Credit is a service that is designed to help you build credit by paying your online subscriptions each month. In that sense, it’s very similar to Experian Boost.

The major difference between the services is that you’ll use a Grow Credit Mastercard to pay for your online subscriptions every month. Experian Boost just reviews your bank transactions with no new card required.

When you use the Grow Credit Mastercard, your balance will be automatically paid off through your connected bank account. Each month, this on-time payment is reported to all three major credit bureaus. 

If you are looking to give your credit score a boost across all the credit bureaus, then Grow Credit is a good option. There’s even a free plan to help you get started. 

Self

Self offers credit builder loans to borrowers. With automatic payments and the ability to track your credit score, it can be easy to build a history of on-time payments. 

Importantly, you won’t receive the principal from a credit builder loan upfront. Instead, Self will set up a CD account for you to store the funds. 

As you make payments, Self will report those to the three major credit bureaus. You’ll receive the principal balance when you pay off the loan. 

Keep in mind that you’ll incur interest fees that range from 14% to 16%. Plus, loan terms range between 12 and 24 months. 

FAQ

If you still have questions about Experian Boost, these answers might be able to help you determine if the service is right for you.

Can Experian Boost hurt your credit?

No. Experian Boost only adds positive payment history to your credit file. Since it doesn’t add negative information, this service cannot hurt your credit score.

Which credit bureaus does Experian Boost report to?

Experian Boost only reports this positive payment history to Experian. In turn, it will only impact your FICO score. The additional payment information won’t be reported to the other major credit bureaus. 

How do I contact Experian?

If you run into any issues with your Experian Boost, you can reach out to customer support. The options include a contact form on their website and a customer support line at 866-617-1894. 
When making a call, have your member ID ready to expedite the process. 

Is Experian Boost safe?

Yes. Experian Boost is safe to use. The system implements 256-bit encryption to keep your bank records safe. 

Additionally, the company will only have access to read your information. It won’t be able to make any changes to your account. 

Summary

When you are building credit, don’t underestimate the importance of time and a positive payment history. Although you likely won’t see the results of credit-building strategies overnight, Experian Boost can help you in the long run. 

As you build credit, this free service definitely won’t hurt. If you know that you make regular on-time payments for utilities or streaming services, tapping into that payment history could be a boon to your credit score.


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