Experian, one of the big three credit bureaus, recently launched a program that claims to immediately boost your credit score. It sounded too good to be true, so Debt.com’s product review team put it to the test. Here’s what we learned.
Who can use Experian Boost?
The short answer is anyone. But, there are a few specific groups that could benefit from using this new program:
People with “Thin Files”
Having a “thin file” means that you don’t have enough credit history to get a credit score. This can be a big issue if you need a loan or want to buy a car. According to Experian, 10% of those with “thin files” were able to get a credit score after using Experian Boost.
People with Bad Credit (Scores Below 680)
If your credit score is below 680, there’s a good chance Boost can help you. In fact, 75% of consumers with bad credit scores that used Experian Boost saw their credit score increase.
People who want to move up 1 credit tier
Between 5 and 10% of Experian Boost users moved up by a FICO Score tier. That refers to going from bad to fair, or fair to good. If you are in the process of building credit, this may give you the step up you need.
The Signup Process
If you already have an account with the Experian credit bureau, signing up for Experian Boost is very simple. Just like when you get your free annual credit report, you will answer questions about your financial history that confirm your identity. Fill out these extra questions to verify your information. Then you can move on to connect your online bank accounts.
How it works
After verifying your personal info, Experian Boost will ask for access to your bank account information through their secure system. You will need your bank routing number and your checking account number. Then, Boost analyzes your bank accounts for evidence of on-time payments and uses that evidence to positively boost your score. It’s that simple.
Experian Boost vs. UltraFICO™
Experian Boost examines your utility and telecom payments to get you a higher credit score. UltraFICO looks at deeper ̶ it examines your bank accounts. Your account balances, lack of overdrafts, and not going under the minimum balance are all factored into UltraFICO. The biggest difference between UltraFICO and Experian Boost is that UltraFICO is a score in itself, while Experian Boost is a method of raising pre-existing scores.
FICO and Experian worked together on both of these projects, but for FICO, this wasn’t their first attempt at a better scoring system. Back in 2007, they launched the FICO Expansion score. FICO Expansion was almost identical to the modern UltraFICO, but when the recession hit, lenders didn’t take to the new scoring model that would let more people have access to credit.
Does it really boost your score?
The answer depends on which credit score you are trying to raise. You don’t just have one credit score ̶ there are multiple different scores that lenders and creditors use to judge your credit history. So, depending on which score you are being judged by, Experian Boost may or may not help.
Fortunately, the score that Experian Boost raises is your FICO Score 8, the most widely used FICO credit score. One member of our review team had her FICO Score 8 boosted by 7 points because Boost picked up on her on-time electric bill payments.
If you’re keeping track of your score through apps like Mint or Credit Karma, you may not see your boost. Mint reports your TransUnion VantageScore™ and Credit Karma reports both your TransUnion and Equifax scores based on VantageScore 3.0.
Does your credit score need more than just a little boost? Connect with someone who can help.
Our Final Thoughts
Although this doesn’t raise every type of credit score you may be judged by, it’s a simple, fast, and free way to raise your most widely used credit score. Our review team was skeptical at first, but we were all proven wrong. Experian Boost™* actually boosted our scores, and if your bank accounts show evidence of on-time utility, cable, and phone payments, it can raise yours too.
Our final thought on this service is “why not?”
Learn more about Experian Boost™ here.
*Results may vary; See website for Details