Do you always pay your cell phone and utility bills on time? If so, you may be able to get a lot more credit for it, thanks to the credit bureau Experian.
With the new Experian Boost program, consumers can have mundane bill payments incorporated into their credit score, potentially instantly raising those scores.
In this article, I’m going to show you how Experian Boost helped raise my credit as well as some pros and cons about the service.
Experian Boost review: How I raised my FICO score in real time
I tried out Experian Boost to see if I could help my credit. Although I was comfortable with my score and didn’t really feel like I was in need of a boost, I can see how this program will be useful for people trying to edge up increase their scores when it comes time to qualify for loans and credit cards.
Here’s how it works:
When I signed up for Experian Boost, it immediately produced a credit report (part of my complimentary Experian membership), an updated FICO score and an overview of my financial profile. Here is what was included there:
- Credit rating
- Credit usage
- Payment history
I thought that my “boost” had started, but not yet. I had to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Experian Boost button. That took me to a page that showed icons for electric, water and wireless bills.
Once you click the button, a pop-up screen opens that asks permission to link the bank account you pay your bills with to Experian Boost. It will then send a code to your phone for verification.
Once my account was linked, it took me to my FICO score and said “let’s see if we can boost it.”
Next, it scanned my bank account. This took a couple minutes, but soon I was being shown two bills that could be used to raise my score. All I had to do was confirm that I wanted those bills added to my credit file.
Once I hit the blue “Continue” button, the screen loaded for less than a minute before finally saying this:
Experian Boost added nine points to my FICO score. As long as I continue to pay those two linked bills on time (they’re both on autopay) my score could continue to go up.
Experian Boost may not be for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons about the service.
Experian Boost: Pros and cons
|The service works instantly||Only works with Experian, not TransUnion & Equifax|
|Boosts appear to be minimal (under 10 points for me)||You have to link your bank account|
|You can easily add or remove account information||You need to have three months of payment history|
After giving Experian Boost a try, I can say with certainty that if you want to pad your FICO score up to be more attractive to lenders, this is a quick and relatively painless way to do it. The whole process took around 5 minutes.
Like Credit Karma, Experian Boost might show you numerous credit card offers, but it’s not obtrusive.
Although it’s still in beta mode, early results from Experian show that it Boost has raised users’ scores an average of 10 points. If you’ve already got great credit, that may not matter much. If your credit is less than stellar, it could matter a great deal.