Disclosures: This post is brought to you by Experian and contains affiliate links. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
The process of trying to raise your credit score can be both disheartening and exhilarating. A significant drop in your score feels especially bad, while watching your score increase feels incredibly good. It’s almost as if your credit score is inextricably tied to so many aspects of your life.
It kind of is.
Credit scores are one of the most important factors in determining your creditworthiness, and they play a pivotal role in everything from buying a car to renting an apartment to determining how much interest you’ll pay to lenders. And while you might be making all your payments on time each month, not all your good deeds are actually reported on your credit report. Things like utility, phone, and cable bills aren’t a factor in determining your credit score, regardless of if you’ve never missed a payment.
But now there is a way for that responsible behavior to be taken into consideration. Introducing Experian Boost®, a new tool that can help millions of consumers receive credit where credit is due. Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.
What is Experian Boost?
Experian Boost is a completely free, easy-to-use, and innovative solution that allows you to factor your phone and utility payments into your credit file. First launched by major credit bureau Experian back in March 2019, more than 1 million Americans have since enrolled in the process.
Traditionally, credit scores have been calculated using the information in your credit report, which can include lines of credit like credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and more. But after growing efforts to change the way these scores are calculated, consumers across the country finally scored a win.
In June 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation known as the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2017 — a bill aimed at giving those with limited credit history or poor credit scores more access to credit and better credit options. The bill allows non-traditional payments, such as cell phone, rent, and utility payments, to be reported to the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Experian immediately acted on this new legislation to help consumers get credit for these types of payments. “This industry-first online platform will give consumers an opportunity to instantly improve their credit scores...” wrote Brian Cassin, CEO of Experian, just months before the launch of Experian Boost.
How Experian Boost works to help you improve your credit scores
Experian Boost is quick and easy, and you can see the positive effect on your credit score in real time. The process works by scanning your bank account to identify phone and utility bill payments you’ve consistently made. The entire process takes just a few minutes to complete, and if qualifying payments have been identified, you can include this positive information in your credit file.
Experian® looks for at least three positive payments, so learn how to manage your money and be consistent in paying your bills — it's the best way to see a boost. Only positive information will be included in your credit report, so if you have any negative marks, such as late or missed payments, those won’t count against you.
Since launching, Experian Boost has collectively increased FICO® Scores across America by over 10 million points. However, results can vary. Where some people can see 13 or more points added to their scores, others may only see a few points added or none at all.
Important things to know about Experian Boost
Experian Boost is an optional tool, so you have to opt into the service to use it. As mentioned above, one of the benefits of using this service is that it only reports positive payment history for the accounts you link.
You ultimately have control over which accounts are linked to Experian Boost, and you’re free to unlink any accounts whenever you wish. Just keep in mind that once you remove a linked account, you’ll lose any points that came with it.
Is it safe to use Experian Boost?
Experian is given read-only access to your bank account payment history, and it does not store any of your bank credentials. This is no different than what many people grant to their budget-tracking tools or apps.
Who can benefit the most from Experian Boost
Those with FICO® Scores considered to be poor (300-579) have seen the most improvement from using Experian Boost, according to Experian. In fact, 86% of Boost users who have a poor FICO Score improved their score by more than 22 points on average.
Many have also seen their scores move up to the next FICO® Score tier. According to Experian, 64% of people who used Experian Boost improved their score tier from a poor to fair FICO® Score, and 26% improved from fair to good.
If you are trying to improve your credit score and feel like you aren’t making progress, a Boost might be what you need. Experian Boost does work, and it can help you raise your FICO® Score.