Experian Boost allows your positive history of paying utility and phone bills to be included on your Experian credit report and factored into your FICO score or VantageScore. Read on to find out how it works and when you can expect to see your credit score benefit from it.
Launched in 2019, Experian Boost is a program that allows your positive history of paying utility and phone bills to be included on your Experian credit report and factored into your FICO score or VantageScore.
The result: a “boost” to your credit score. And the program is a win-win for consumers and the credit bureau. Experian Boost enables many borrowers to get better interest rates and products – and also help Experian sell more credit reports.
How does Experian Boost work?
The Boost program is the result of Experian’s in-house research, which identified a strong correlation between paying utility bills and future loan defaults. FICO and VantageScore agreed with Experian and now you can get these bills factored into your credit score.
Getting those extra points is easy. The free program is an opt-in one that you initiate by visiting Experian’s website. Once there, you’ll need to identify yourself. This is much the same process you follow to get your credit report online.
Once you prove you are who you are, you begin the process by adding your checking account information to your credit file. You can add more than one checking account from more than one bank. You can also use a joint account, but you can’t use a business checking account.
Behind the scenes, Experian uses leading financial data aggregator Finicity to make all the connections between Experian, FICO, VantageScore and your bank. Most banks are already in the network, but some smaller ones are not. If your bank doesn’t connect, just let Finicity know and it will reach out to the bank in question.
Here are a few great features that make the program a winner for everyone:
- It grabs only positive payment information – nothing negative in your checking account will show up.
- It looks back 24 months from the get-go, so most people won’t have to wait for a payment history to be built.
- It covers all kinds of utility payments like electric and gas, cable, cellphones, landlines and even water bills if they are identifiable.
- You can opt out at any time.
Who will benefit the most from Experian Boost?
So, what can you expect from using Boost? Well, the more lines of data you can supply, the better. Here’s who benefits the most:
- Those with thin credit files (five or fewer accounts) will see the biggest impact from the program, but you need to have at least one open traditional account to get a score boost.
- If you’re new to credit (short credit history) or just don’t have much in your credit file, you can benefit from the program quite a bit.
- Those with scores just below the next credit scoring tier might want to consider using the program.
Score increases of approximately 10 to 30 points are typically doable and the impact is almost immediate. During the sign-up process, Experian will give you a free credit report and score. Once sign-up is complete, you get an updated score right away.
Even people with top scores can add a few extra points, but the impact of moving from 800 to 805 is not as dramatic as moving from 680 to 700. The Boost data affects FICO 8 and 9 and VantageScore 3 and 4.
Keep in mind that this service is available only from Experian, so if a prospective lender only uses credit reports and scores from Equifax or TransUnion, Experian Boost may not help you get approved for a credit card or a loan.
Consumer credit advocates love Experian Boost, and there’s more good news: Experian also has RentBureau, which can enable you to report rent payments on your credit report. Additionally, with the new UltraFICO score, you can get credit for good money management and saving habits. With all these ways to boost your score, you shouldn’t have much trouble making one work.