Launched in 2019, Experian Boost™ has helped millions of consumers instantly improve their credit scores. It’s offered by the largest credit bureau, Experian, and there is no minimum credit score, income or other stringent eligibility criteria. Even better, it’s free, and you’ll only need a few minutes to enroll. Let’s review how it works so you can determine if Experian Boost is really worth it for you.
What Is Experian Boost?
Experian Boost is a service that factors on-time utility payments (i.e., electric, gas, water, satellite, cable) along with payments to eligible cell phone and streaming service providers into your credit score. These include AT&T, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Spectrum and Verizon.
You can also get credit for rent payments made through select online payment platforms or participating property management companies. (Note: If you pay rent using cash, a personal check, money order, CashApp, Venmo, PayPal or Zelle, rent payments cannot be used with Experian Boost).
Since payment history is the most important part of your credit score, accounting for 35 percent, adding positive payment history to your credit report could help boost your credit health and improve your score.
Experian Boost won’t report late payment information.
Is Experian Boost Worth It?
Before deciding if Experian is a valuable service, ponder the following questions.
Can It Really Raise Your Credit Score?
Does Experian Boost really work? That’s a common question amongst consumers considering the tool, but the answer depends on the individual.
The average credit score increase for Experian Boost users is 13 points. Some users don’t see any improvement in their credit scores, though. But, again, it depends on your credit history and what’s in your credit profile.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Experian Boost?
- Experian Boost affects several credit scoring models, including FICO and Vantage Score, so there’s a high probability that lenders and creditors using Experian credit scores to make lending decisions will see the boosted credit rating.
- It allows you to build credit using eligible bills for everyday expenses that aren’t usually reported to the credit bureaus.
- Experian Boost works with many banks and credit unions – so you won’t be excluded if you have an online bank.
- You can request that Experian add non-participating service providers to get credit for your timely payments.
- Your credit score could improve and help you qualify for more favorable interest rates on loans and credit card products, potentially leading to cost savings of several hundred or even thousands of dollars.
- It’s free when you register for a CreditWorks℠ Basic membership and only takes a few minutes to set up.
- You’ll also get access to your FICO Score based on Experian data and your Experian credit report with monthly updates, Experian alerts and credit monitoring of your Experian credit file, dark web surveillance and a credit card and loan matching tool.
- You can start boosting your credit score without hiring a credit repair company.
- It won’t hurt you to test drive the tool as it’s free and only reports on-time payments.
- Experian uses bank-level SSL security encryption to protect your data from cyber thieves when connecting your bank account and to add qualifying payments to Experian Boost.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
- Not all users will see an increase in their credit score in Experian – particularly people with established credit history and a good or excellent credit rating.
- Experian Boost doesn’t work for Equifax and TransUnion scores.
- Some creditors and lenders won’t use your updated score from Experian Boost to make lending decisions.
- Not all banks are compatible with Experian Boost.
- You’re required to provide access to your banking information and share personal information.
- Payments made to service providers through cash, check, or accounts outside those you select to use with Experian Boost won’t be considered. (Credit card payments are also ineligible for use with Experian Boost).
- If you’re buying a home, lenders use other credit scoring models that aren’t boosted to make a lending decision.
- Payments made to mortgage lenders don’t qualify for Experian Boost.
Who Is Experian Boost Best Suited For?
Experian Boost is ideal for individuals with no credit history or just starting out with their past few credit accounts. You could also benefit from Experian Boost if you’ve had a series of past financial missteps and are working to improve your credit health.
Even if it only adds a few points to your credit score, the increase could help you move into a new credit score range. Depending on where your score started, it could mean the difference between qualifying for a loan or a credit card. In some cases, a slight increase may get you a more competitive interest rate that saves you hundreds or even thousands of dollars more on loan products.
However, you may not see the type of results you’re seeking from Experian Boost if you have an established credit history and your credit score is on the higher end.
How To Sign Up For Experian Boost
If you think Experian Boost is worth a try, visit the Experian Boost webpage to get started. You can also download Experian’s mobile app on your iOS or Android device. You’ll be prompted to sign up for an Experian CreditWorks℠ Basic membership before you can begin using the service.
Input your name, address and email to create your free account. Next, log in to access the online dashboard and connect the accounts you use to pay your monthly bills. (Quick note: If the name of the utility provider isn’t included in the transaction description, Experian Boost likely won’t flag it as a qualifying payment).
Experian will evaluate your bank account to identify qualifying payments and allow you to choose which you want to use for the service. (Quick note: You must have three or more months of payment history to a particular service provider for the bill to be eligible for use with Experian Boost).
That’s all there is to it, and you could see an increase in your credit score right away. If you decide at any time that Experian Boost is no longer a good fit, you can unenroll at the tap of a fingertip.
What To Do If Experian Boost Doesn’t Work
As mentioned above, there’s a chance you won’t see an improvement in your credit score by using Experian Boost. Still, it’s not necessary to disconnect your bank account and stop using the service right away.
Instead, review the accounts and payments you selected when setting up the account to ensure you’ve accounted for all qualifying monthly payments. If you missed a few, now’s the time to connect them to the online platform.
Remember, Experian Boost gives you credit for up to 24 months of on-time payments. So even if you don’t see results right away, that doesn’t mean your score won’t start to improve from the alternative payment data over time.
Other Ways to Build Credit
Experian Boost is worth a shot if you want to level up your credit health. However, it’s equally important to understand how your credit score is calculated, so you’ll know what to focus on. Your FICO® Score, which is used by 90 percent of lenders and creditors to make lending decisions, is determined by these factors:
- Payment history (35 percent of your FICO score)
- Amounts owed (30 percent of your FICO score)
- Length of credit history (15 percent of your FICO score)
- Credit mix (10 percent of your FICO score)
- New credit (10 percent of your FICO score)
Refer back to your credit report from the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – if you have it handy and identify ways to improve your credit rating. You’ll also find tips on the dashboard when you sign up for a free Experian account and select the CreditWorks℠ Basic membership to start using Experian Boost.
Here are some suggestions to help increase your credit score:
- Pay all your bills on time since payment history is the most significant component of the FICO-scoring equation.
- If you’re past due on any accounts, bring them current as soon as possible.
- Reach out to lenders and creditors to make payment arrangements to bring any past-due accounts current (if needed).
- Reduce your outstanding credit card balances to reach a utilization rate of 30 percent – 10 percent or lower is even more ideal.
- Maintain a healthy balance of revolving (i.e., credit cards) and installment (i.e., personal loans, auto loans, home loans) accounts.
- Don’t close old credit accounts in good standing.
- Only apply for new credit as needed to avoid excessive hard credit inquiries.
Here are some other ways to improve your credit profile and boost your score, whether you’re just starting out or have had a series of past credit missteps while allowing Experian Boost to work for you:
- Apply for a credit-builder loan. These loans offer individuals the best of both worlds – the ability to build or improve their credit scores while saving money. Unlike traditional loans, though, you won’t receive the funds when approved. Instead, they’ll be held in a savings account, and you’ll make monthly payments to reduce the balance over the loan term. Once the balance is paid in full, the loan proceeds are released to you and can be used however you see fit. Most credit unions offer credit-builder loans, but you can also find them through online platforms.
- Get a secured credit card. It works like a traditional credit card but requires a deposit that’s generally equivalent to the credit limit you’re approved for. The deposit is held as long as the account is open and the card remains active or if the credit card issuer decides to upgrade you to an unsecured credit card. But if you fall behind on the credit card payments, the credit card company will recoup the amount you owe from the security deposit used as collateral.
- Become an authorized user. Ask a friend or relative to be added to their credit card account as an authorized user. Ideally, the account should have exceptional payment history and a low utilization rate for this tactic to be most effective.