The Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account is a powerful personal finance management tool designed to assist users in managing their finances and boosting their credit scores. It has a user-friendly interface and offers extensive features through an Experian membership that give consumers a detailed overview of their financial health, including their credit score, debt, and spending habits. This guide delves into the features and advantages of Experian Smart Money. It also assesses whether it is an effective tool for individuals seeking to enhance their financial stability.
Experian is a global information services entity offering credit and identity theft solutions to individuals, small business owners and corporations, including credit reports and credit scores. It consists of a team of 21,700 employees in 30 countries around the globe.
What is the Experian Smart Money Digital Checking Account?
Experian Smart Money is a digital checking account designed to help you increase your credit score without going into debt. It also comes with a virtual debit card you can use immediately. (You also have the option to get a physical debit card upon request once your account is funded with either a cash deposit or direct deposit.)
Like many online accounts, there are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. It also comes with various perks, including a free credit-building feature, a cash bonus when you enroll in direct deposit and access to over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
How Does Experian Smart Money Work?
Banking services are provided by Experian’s partner, Community Federal Savings Banks (CFSB), Member FDIC. When you sign up for an account, you can deposit funds and use the virtual debit card to make bill payments and everyday purchases. Experian Smart Money syncs with Experian Boost to help you build credit instantly.
Key Benefits of the Experian Smart Money Digital Checking Account and Debit Card
If you’re leaning towards opening an Experian Smart Money checking account, below are some key benefits that could make your decision easier.
Build Credit Without Debt
Instead of resorting to high-interest debt to build credit, Experian Smart Money simplifies the process. It syncs with Experian Boost, a free feature that lets users add qualifying payments made to service providers to their Experian credit file, which could improve their FICO Score provided by Experian in real-time.
No Monthly Fees or Minimum Balance Requirements
The Experian Smart Money Digital Checking Account has no monthly maintenance fees. Even better, there are no minimum monthly balance requirements, so you won’t have to worry about pesky fees if your balance falls below a certain amount.
Secure and FDIC-Insured
Deposits are housed in a pooled deposit account at Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. This means up to $250,000 of your deposits (per account, per category) are insured by the federal government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Other Features and Perks of Experian Smart Money
You should also know about other perks available to Experian Smart Money account holders.
Earn a One-Time $50 Bonus
Enrolling in direct deposit makes it easier to receive and manage your money. Experian may also reward account holders who enroll in direct deposit with a one-time $50 bonus.
Track Your Bills, Spending and Subscriptions
Monitor your expenditures in real-time with the user-friendly mobile app. That way, you can track bill payments, everyday spending and subscription payments and manage your finances more effectively.
Use Your Virtual Debit Card Instantly
When you open an Experian Smart Money account, you’ll receive a virtual debit card right away. Simply add it to your digital wallet for instant use online or at retailers where tap-to-pay is accepted.
55,000+ No-fee ATMs Worldwide
You can also make fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs around the world. Use the mobile app to find locations near you.
Live Customer Support 7 Days a Week
You can get real-time assistance from a customer service representative seven days a week.
How Does Experian Smart Money Compare to Other Checking Accounts?
Like other online checking accounts, Experian Smart Money comes with zero monthly maintenance fees. Plus, there are no monthly minimum balance fees to help you keep costs down. But you won’t have the luxury of earning a return on your hard-earned money as checking accounts do not come with a generous APY.
The Extra Debit Card is a competitor that links to your checking account, but you’ll also earn reward points on everyday purchases. That said, it comes at $199 (or $149 if you prefer to build credit and forgo rewards). Experian Smart Money doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Sesame Debit also shares similar features with Experian Smart Money. However, it comes with a $9.99 monthly fee unless you deposit $500 into your Sesame Cash account using direct deposit or make $1,000 in purchases using the same account. Otherwise, you will be charged a $3 monthly inactivity fee.
Is Experian Smart Money Worth It?
Experian Smart Money can be worth it for users looking to improve their credit scores and better understand their financial health. It also comes with an assortment of features that can help users manage their finances and build their credit, including Experian Boost, which allows users to build a positive payment history with eligible bill payments.
Furthermore, Experian Smart Money comes with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users to navigate the app and track their progress. However, it’s important to note that this digital account may not be the best fit for everyone, particularly those not interested in actively managing their finances.
Ultimately, whether or not Experian Smart Money is worth it depends on your unique financial goals and needs.
How to Get Started with Experian Smart Money
When you’re ready to sign up for an Experian Smart Money account, here’s how to move forward:
Visit the website, navigate to the Experian Smart Money landing page and click the “sign up” button. You’ll be redirected to an online questionnaire to complete the registration process.
Download the Free App
Once your account is open, download the free mobile app to easily manage your account. It’s available on the AppStore or Google Play.
Start Depositing Money
Fund your account by initiating an external transfer from another bank account or depositing cash at a popular retailer, like Walmart or CVS Pharmacy. You can also enroll in direct deposit to fund your account and receive a one-time $50 cash bonus.
Use It Instantly
You’ll also get an Experian Smart Money Debit Card with your new account. It comes in digital form, and you can use it immediately once it’s added to your digital wallet. If you’d prefer a physical debit card, you can request one once your account is funded.