If you’re hoping to quickly boost your credit score, a program from credit reporting agency Experian might help.
Experian Boost could raise your credit score by adding your on-time utility, streaming service and rent payments to your credit file.
“Experian Boost is good for people with little to no credit history as well as established borrowers looking to increase their credit scores,” says Kevin Everhart, chief growth officer, direct to consumer at Experian.
Programs such as Experian Boost can deliver what they promise, adds John Ulzheimer, a credit expert formerly of FICO and the credit bureau Equifax.
“The newly added data can lead to higher scores,” he says. “That has been well established.”
What Is Experian Boost?
Experian Boost is a free program that could raise your credit score by giving you credit for your regular rent, utility and streaming service payments.
Since Experian Boost launched in 2019, 8.6 million consumers have used the program to improve their FICO scores, Everhart says. The average increase has been 13 points for those who saw a boost.
Experian analysis also shows that users whose scores increase will continue to notice improvement by an additional nine points, on average, over the next 12 months, Everhart says.
Experian Boost applies to multiple FICO models and VantageScore models, according to Experian.
Furthermore, the program has allowed more than 10,000 users without enough information for a FICO score to receive a score each month.
How Does Experian Boost Work?
To use Experian Boost, go to the Experian Boost webpage and provide some basic information about yourself to create a free account. You will then connect the credit card and bank accounts you use to pay bills and allow Experian to search for qualifying payments.
Experian looks at two years of payment history to find bills that are eligible for the program. You’ll need to have made at least three payments in the last six months, including at least one in the last three months, for a bill to qualify.
“Experian will continue to identify the eligible payments as long as the consumer stays enrolled in an Experian membership and their accounts stay connected to Experian Boost,” Everhart says.
You will need to decide which payments to add to your Experian credit file and verify the information. Your credit score will be calculated with the new information, and any increase will show up in a few minutes.
The following types of bills qualify for Experian Boost:
- Mobile and landline phone.
- To install Cable and satellite.
- Gas and electricity.
- Residential rent paid online.
- Video streaming services.
- Power and solar.
Specifically, you can get credit for your timely payments to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, AT&T, Spectrum and Verizon.
If you rent, your on-time monthly payments can also help your credit score as long as you pay an eligible property management company or payment platform. Experian Boost supports payments from more than 1,500 US property management companies and platforms such as AppFolio, Buildium, Yardi Breeze and Zillow Rental Manager.
“Experian also intends to add individual landlords and smaller property management companies over time,” Everhart says.
How Much Does Experian Boost Cost?
Experian Boost is free. You simply create an account and opt in to the program.
On the day you register, you can immediately access credit tools, including:
- A chance to increase your credit score with Experian Boost.
- A free copy of your Experian credit report and FICO score.
- Your credit report and score are refreshed every 30 days.
- Experian credit monitoring and alerts.
- A free dark web surveillance report.
Is Experian Boost Safe to Use?
Experian says it uses “bank-level” secure sockets layer security encryption, a protocol for safeguarding sensitive information. The company also pledges to keep your information private.
“Data security has always been – and always will be – our highest priority,” Everhart says. “As with all of our data, we’ve implemented the highest levels of security with Experian Boost.”
He adds that Experian requires read-only access to a customer’s bank account to identify payments. “Experian itself doesn’t see nor retain any credentials in the process,” Everhart says.
Pros and Cons of Experian Boost
- It’s free. You have nothing to lose by trying it. Cancel at any time.
- You could improve your credit score. Years of on-time payments could help you increase your score.
- It works quickly. You don’t have to wait a long time to see results if you opt to include your positive payment information. “Consumers can potentially see an increase in their FICO score almost instantly,” Everhart says.
- Even if it doesn’t help you, it won’t hurt you. Experian Boost won’t damage your credit score. It uses no credit inquiry and looks at your bank data instead.
- You could qualify for an Experian credit score. The tool can give you extra credit history if you haven’t had enough to be assigned a score.
- Your credit score may not improve. Experian Boost is not guaranteed to work. Some payments are not eligible, and not all scores are affected by Experian Boost.
- It only works with your Experian credit score. You won’t see a difference in your TransUnion or Equifax scores.
- You have to share personal data. This is required for Experian to create your account and search for qualifying payments.
Who Can Benefit From Experian Boost?
Those most likely to benefit from Experian Boost include consumers with little to no credit information on their Experian credit reports, Ulzheimer says. Others who may benefit include “consumers who need just a modest improvement in their scores,” he says, to qualify for credit or better terms.
People with limited credit histories and FICO scores below 620 have seen the biggest benefit from Experian Boost, Everhart says.
Among those who have benefited, subprime consumers have improved their FICO Score 8 by nearly 17 points on average, according to Experian. Those with thin credit files have seen a jump of nearly 20 points.
Experian Boost vs. Other Ways to Build Credit
Other programs similar to Experian Boost can help you improve your credit score, such as eCredable Lift, which adds utility payments to your TransUnion credit report. However, that program costs $24.95 per year.
“I’m generally not a fan of the other fee-based services because the best options for building credit are free,” Ulzheimer says. “I don’t think getting into the habit of paying to build your credit report is a smart long-term solution.”
Instead, he recommends building your credit the old-fashioned way: opening accounts in your own name, “like we all had to do.”