Having a low credit score can be a super limiting factor when it comes to your finances. Not only will you not qualify for certain financing like getting a mortgage, but you also end up paying high interest on things like credit cards. Basically, it’s expensive to have a low credit score. So can services like Experian Boost work to improve it?
All hope is not lost though! In early 2019, Experian came out with the new Experian Boost feature. It’s a free service that can help improve your credit score by taking into account utility bills that you pay on time.
This is definitely great news for those that have a limited credit history or a poor credit score and need a way to improve it. So the question is, does Experian Boost really work? I signed up for it and here are my findings.
How does Experian Boost work?
Experian Boost is free for anyone that wants to use it. It works by connecting to your various bank accounts and credit card accounts to find bill payments. Once it finds those, they are added to your credit file.
The idea of Experian boost is to not only look at your debt payment history but also look at your on-time bill payments. There are people out there that have no debt, or have debt but have a short credit history.
Experian boost works by combing through your bank accounts and checks for your on-time bill payments. Experian is able to connect to more than 8,000 different banks so you will be able to log in and connect your accounts without an issue.
You will have to enter your bank account’s login information so that Experian Boost is able to retrieve your transaction history. If it finds bill payments that have been paid on time in the last three to six months, it can then take those into consideration and might help increase your credit score.
Once you log in, it literally takes just a few minutes for Experian Boost to work and recalculate your credit score based on his findings. If it goes through your bank account and finds nothing that can be used, then it also lets you know.
Is Experian Boost Safe to use?
The idea of playing around with your credit score and credentials to your bank account can make anybody cringe. It’s always been important to always figure out if your online information is safe. With Experian boost, it uses 256-bit SSL encryption to keep your data safe.
This means that Experian boost uses very secure encryption methods to keep all of your data secure. So yes, Experian boost is safe to use.
Can Experian Boost help increase my credit score?
Mileage here can definitely vary. While some people can greatly benefit from The Experian boost, others may get little to no improvement in their credit score by using it.
According to Experian, Experian boost works and has already increased credit scores by more than 30 million points. This means that it does indeed work, and a lot of people have definitely benefited from using it.
If you’re one of the people that have a very limited credit history or have an excellent track record of paying your bills on time, then this might work for you.
There is no easy way to tell if your credit score will improve, but there’s also no harm in trying. The boost feature is completely free and easy to use. You lose nothing by trying, and as long as you have a good history of paying your bills on time, it might benefit you.
Can Experian Boost lower my credit score?
There have been very few cases where people reported having their credit score actually decrease after using Experian boost. It’s not common, but it has happened before! Here is what is typically reported.
If you already have a good credit score, then adding your bills might actually end up diluting your good score if you had accounts go bad in the past. Experian boost is primarily focused on improving those that already have lower credit and need something to improve it.
In the majority of cases, myself included, your credit score will either increase or not change at all. When I tried it myself, my credit score did not change. This is probably because it was already on the high end. That’s just my case though.
So because of this, Experian Boost does work, but you should use it with a bit of caution, and confirm if you indeed really need that boost! If your credit score is already on the lower end, you have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain! In most instances, Experian Boost works as intended and will not lower your credit score.
Advantages of using Experian Boost
- Free: Since you don’t pay anything to use this service, it can only serve as a benefit if you need a credit boost
- Easy to use: The interface and instructions are super intuitive and easy to use. Just connect your accounts and let Experian Boost work its magic
- Effective: This service does exactly what it was designed to do. Helps people that need a boost in their credit score by including your bill payments history
Disadvantages of using Experian Boost
- Security: Although your data is stored securely, there is always some concern about connecting your bank account credentials to an online service.
- Doesn’t affect other credit bureaus: Since there is Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, the Experian Boost only affects the Experian score.
- Not guaranteed: The boost might work for some, and might not for others. This is especially true if you already have a good credit score.
Alternatives to using Experian Boost
If you are genuinely trying to improve your credit score, Experian boost is just one of many ways that you can do this.
For starters, your payment history plays the biggest part in your credit score. You can start off by making sure that you catch up on all of your credit payments, and keep paying them on time. Just by doing this one simple thing can drastically increase your credit score in a short amount of time.
Another way is to use a secured credit card. It’s basically a credit card that you fund with money before you use it. It is simply secured by a cash deposit. This will protect the lender from any potential defaults but also works in your favor by improving your credit score.
A great way to also increase your credit score is to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. If you know someone like a family member that has a good credit score and have a credit card they can add you to, this can definitely have a positive impact on your score.
Lastly, you can apply for a Credit Builder Loan. Credit unions and community banks typically offer this kind of loan. This is excellent for people that have a limited credit history and want to improve their credit score.
So to answer the question, does Experian Boost work to increase your score? Yes, for the most part. It really depends on your current situation and current credit score.
For the majority of people out there, Experian Boost might have a small impact on your credit score if it’s already high. It has a much greater effect if you have a shorter credit history, but have paid utility bills for a longer period of time.
Definitely, something to try out. Give it a go, and let me know how well it worked for you!
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