CNN underscored Financial products like credit cards and bank accounts are reviewed based on their overall value. If you sign up for Experian Boost via the links on this page, we may receive a commission from an expert, but our reports are always independent and objective.
It is important to have a good credit score, as a strong score can give you access to very good loans, mortgages and credit cards. But what if your credit score is not very good? Or do you have a limited history with credit? Credit lenders may be reluctant to approve people with poor credit scores for new credit cards or loans, which makes it harder to build – or rebuild, your credit history.
While there are many “credit repair” companies that claim to fix your credit, they can be costly and it’s not always clear which one is below the stellar track record. However, there’s probably a relatively new way to increase your credit score in just a few minutes – and it’s free.
The feature is called Experian Boost 7 *, and it is valid. In fact, Experian® is one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States and has been in business for over 20 years, so it has a lot of experience with credit scores. But does Experian Boost really improve your FICO® score **, which is used by 90% of top donors? Let’s take a look.
Experian Boost is designed to help give people credit. By providing your information to Experian, you can get credit for on-time payments that are not usually part of your credit history, such as utility, telecom, cable and some streaming service payments.
Payments account for 35% of your FICO® score on time, so if you’re going to pay your utility bill, phone bill and even your Netflix® streaming service payment each month, you can add them to your credit report and potentially increase your FICO score ** *.
Related: What is a good credit score?
When you access Experian Boost, it allows you to connect your checking, savings and other bank or credit card accounts that you use to pay your monthly bills so that your payment history can be added to your Experian credit file.
As long as you have at least three consecutive months of payments in the last six months from the same account, Experian Boost will accept positive payment activity and add it to your Experian credit file. After all, it would not report negative payments – only those that were paid on time.
Click here to increase your credit score for free with Experian Boost.
The boost process is quite simple and only takes a few minutes. After creating an Experian account, you link your financial institutions where you enter your checking, savings or other bank or credit card accounts that you use to pay your bills, and login credentials to seamlessly link them.
If you have multiple accounts in the same financial institution, Experian allows you to choose which accounts you want to include so that you can add the accounts you use to pay your bills.
Once you link your account, Experian will automatically go through all of your recent transactions and identify eligible payments to be added to your Experian credit file, such as utility bills. It shows you a list of eligible bills and allows you to choose which ones you want to add to your report.
Experian Boost keeps you informed as it searches for potential payments that can improve your credit score.
Pick yours and in a moment, the new information will show you the Experience Boost Factors and your new (hopefully improved) FICO® score. Since Experian Boost does not include missed payments, your FICO score will not decrease, but it may not change if there is not enough information from the added accounts or your FICO score is already relatively high.
Even if it makes no difference to your FICO® score, the process is as simple as it sounds and literally costs nothing. And once you have it all set up, Experian Boost will continue to monitor your payments, and may increase your credit score if future payments make a difference.
Use timely payments to improve your credit score with Experian Boost.
It depends. According to Experian, US users have increased their FICO® score to close to 45 million points, and the average FICO score has increased by 12 points when using Experian Boost. Those who have no credit history and those who have very few poor fairies usually have the highest FICO scores.
We tried to boost the experience ourselves and found the process to be very straightforward, but we didn’t see any increase in our credit score. This is probably because the CNN underscored reviewer who tried it has already paid their bills on time and has a high credit score in the beginning.
Our reviewers did not see any change in our FICO® score with the Xperia Boost, but those who do not have a credit history and those who have very poor credit usually increase the most.
But people who pay bills through their bank accounts and who don’t have a long credit card or loan history can be affected. Because you will begin to fill in the “Payment History” component of your FICO® score, which is one of the most important aspects of a credit score.
The Experian Boost has no real disadvantages – the worst that can happen is that your FICO® score doesn’t change. It costs nothing, and it won’t hurt your credit, so the only thing you can lose is your few minutes to set it up. Experian membership provides your FICO score for free on an ongoing basis, which is beneficial for your work to improve your credit rating.
However, there are some caveats to keep in mind. First, Experian Boost only adds this positive payment to your Experian credit report – it cannot add any information to the report from other credit agencies, such as Equifax or Trans Union. So if you apply for a credit card and the payer draws your credit report from another bureau, the payer credit score will not increase.
Related: Does opening a new credit card hurt your credit score?
You will find that the tool does not work for bills that are not in your name, even if you contribute them. For example, if you are with roommates and send some of your gas bill to your roommate via Venmo or PayPal, or give them a check or cash, Experian Boost will not accept those payments.
Finally, some people do not feel comfortable giving their bank login to a third party. According to Experian, when you use Experian Boost, Experian only uses your bank credentials to capture your ongoing positive payments and identify any potential new boosts.
For added security, Experian makes sure that your bank account name and address match your Experian membership profile. However, if you are concerned about privacy, you may decide that the reverse of Experian Boost is not the same as transferring your personal information.
If your FICO® score can be of some help, then there is basically no downside to trying Experian Boost.
Honestly, yes, especially if your credit score can help something. Not everyone’s FICO® score will increase with Experian Boost, but the service is free, and it takes a few minutes to enter your information and connect to your accounts. There are very few downsides to using this feature, and you can always remove the history of payments added from your Experian credit file if you wish.
The best way to permanently improve your credit score is to systematically reduce your debt by paying off your loans, mortgages and credit card bills each month. But that process can take time, so try to boost your credit scores a bit for free with Intermediate, Experience Boost.
Learn more about improving your credit score with Experian Boost.
* Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or differences of approval. Not all donors use Experian credit files, and not all donors use scores affected by Experian Boost.
** Credit score is calculated based on FICO® score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a FICO score of 8, or a different FICO score than any other type of credit score. Learn more.
*** Experian and Experian trademarks used here are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian and its associates. The use of any other trade name, copyright or trademark is for identification and reference purposes only and does not imply any relationship with the copyright or trademark holder of their product or brand. The other products and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.