CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission from Experian if you sign up for Experian Boost via the links on this page, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
Having a good credit score is important, since a strong score can give you access to the very best loans, mortgages and credit cards. But what if your credit score isn’t very good? Or you have a limited history with credit? Lenders can be reluctant to approve people with poor credit scores for new credit cards or loans, which makes it even harder to build — or rebuild — your credit history.
While there are a lot of “credit repair” companies that claim to fix your credit, they can be expensive, and it’s not always clear which ones have a less than stellar track record. However, there’s a relatively new way to potentially increase your credit scores in just a few minutes — and it’s free.
The feature is called Experian Boost™*, and it’s definitely legit. In fact, Experian® is one of the three main 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 actually improve your FICO® Score**, which is utilized by 90% of top lenders? Let’s take a look.
Experian Boost is designed to help give people credit where credit is due. By providing your information to Experian, you can get credit for on-time payments that aren’t normally part of your credit history, such as utility, telecom, cable and some streaming service payments.
On-time payments account for 35% of your FICO® Score, so if you’ve been on the ball in paying your utility bills, phone bills and even your Netflix® streaming service payments each month, you can add them to your credit report and potentially boost your FICO Score***.
Related: What’s 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 within the last six months from the same account, Experian Boost will pick up positive payment activity and add it to your Experian credit file. Best of all, it won’t report negative payments — only those that were paid on time.
Click here to increase your credit scores for free with Experian Boost.
The Boost process is quite easy and takes just a few minutes. After creating an Experian account, you then link your financial institutions where you maintain your checking, savings or other bank or credit card accounts that you use to pay your bills, and enter your login credentials to seamlessly link them.
If you have multiple accounts at the same financial institution, Experian allows you to select which accounts you want included so you can just add the accounts you use to pay your bills.
Once you’ve linked your accounts, Experian will automatically go through all your recent transactions and identify payments that qualify to be added to your Experian credit file, such as utility bills. It then shows you a list of eligible bills and allows you to select 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 scores.
Make your selections and within moments, Experian Boost factors in the new information and shows you your new (hopefully improved) FICO® Score. Since Experian Boost doesn’t include missed payments, your FICO Score won’t go down, but it might not change if there either isn’t enough information from the added accounts or your FICO Score is already relatively high.
Even if it doesn’t make a difference to your FICO® Score, the process is as easy 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 scores if future payments make a difference.
Use your on-time payments to improve your credit scores with Experian Boost.
It depends. According to Experian, US users have boosted their FICO® Scores by close to 45 million points, and the average FICO Score has increased 12 points when using Experian Boost. Those with little to no credit history and those with very poor to fair credit generally see the biggest FICO Score increases.
We tried Experian Boost ourselves and found the process to be very straightforward, but we didn’t see any increase in our credit scores. That’s likely because the CNN Underscored reviewers who tried it already pay their bills on time and have high credit scores to begin with.
Our reviewers didn’t see any change to our FICO® Score with Experian Boost, but people with little to no credit history and those with very poor to fair credit generally see the biggest increases.
But people who pay their bills through their bank account and don’t have a longstanding credit card or loan history may see a bigger impact. That’s because you’ll start to fill in your “payment history” component of your FICO® Score, which is one of the most important factors in a credit score.
There aren’t really any true disadvantages of Experian Boost — the worst that can happen is it doesn’t change your
How to instantly improve your credit scores for free with Experian Boost
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