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Experian Boost: A New Way to Help Your Credit

October 2, 2020

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Experian Boost might be the quick way you’re looking for to boost your credit score.

Whether you’re shopping for a loan or a new credit card, a little boost to your credit score never hurts. 

If you’ve done a little digging, you may have found that there’s not many ways to do it quickly.

If you need a bump soon, Experian Boost might be that ticket.

Here’s a quick overview of how your credit score works and how Boost might help.

The FICO Score 8 model

There are a few different types of credit score models, but the FICO Score 8 model is the most widely used by all three credit bureaus and the majority of lenders.  

And that’s good news because your FICO Score 8 is the one that Experian Boost can improve.

All credit scores are three-digit numbers between 300 and 850. The higher your number, the better your credit score.

There are specific ranges for different credit rankings. They are:

  • 300-579: Very poor

  • 580-669: Fair

  • 670-739: Good

  • 740-799: Very good

  • 800-850: Exceptional

A good, very good, or exceptional credit score will open up more credit options to you. 

That might mean credit cards with better benefits or a car loan with a lower interest rate.

FICO calculates your credit score based on a few distinct factors. Those include:

  • Whether or not you make payments on time towards your credit cards and loans. This is the biggest factor that goes into your credit score, accounting for 35% of your score. 

  • How much of your available credit you’re using. Generally, aim to only use 30% of your available credit. So if you have a credit card with a $20,000 limit, try to never have a balance of more than $6,000. 

  • The length of your credit history (longer is better).

  • Your credit mix. Try to get a good blend of credit cards, auto loans, student loans, a mortgage, etc.

  • Minimal new credit. Opening a bunch of new credit cards will drop your score, for example.

Many of these take time to grow your score. 

If you’ve missed payments in the past, all you can do now is keep making payments on schedule. 

And the only way to improve your credit history length is to wait. 

Sure, you might want to improve your credit mix, but you don’t want to open too much new credit too fast, either. 

How Experian Boost works

When you register with Experian Boost, you allow the program to connect to your bank accounts. 

Then, it looks at your account statements to see if bills are paid on time regularly.

Historically, only payments you make towards your loans and credit cards count toward your credit score. 

With Experian Boost, you can grow your score with on-time payments for other things—like your internet or streaming subscription bills— toward this number. 

Specifically, Experian says they count utility, telecom, and Netflix bills toward your Boost points. 

Is Experian Boost worth it?

Well, it’s free.  

Registering for Experian Boost takes about five minutes. If it finds qualifying on-time payments, you’ll get a credit score boost instantly. 

Experian says average users saw their scores increase by 13 points after using Boost. 

Still, though, we had a couple of concerns. First, if Experian Boost finds late payments, will it actually hurt your credit score? Secondly, is it safe?

We found good news on both fronts.

Experian Boost only pulls positive payment history. If you have late payments, Boost will skip right over them.

As far as security goes, this process is tight. 

When you register with Experian Boost, it uses read-only access to your bank statements. 

It goes through them, pulling the record of any on-time payments. Once it’s done, it doesn’t store any of your bank credentials. The only thing it keeps is the data on those positive payments. 

And if your score does dip, you can just disconnect Experian Boost. Once you do, your score should go back to its original number. 

That shouldn’t happen, but Experian says they have a complex algorithm for calculating your Boost. They can’t predict all outcomes when you register for this program. 

Ultimately, we think Experian Boost is worth it because:

  • It helps you use the bills you’re already paying to get a higher credit score

  • It’s free

  • Registering is easy and safe

  • Any late payment info won’t get applied

  • You can just disconnect it if you don’t like it or your results

All told, if you’re looking for a quick (read: nearly instant) way to improve your credit score, Experian Boost is just about your only option. We’d say it’s worth taking for a spin. 

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).
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Julian Dossett

Julian Dossett

Julian is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency to personal loans and credit cards. His work has appeared at The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, and Blockchain Beach. As a former Cision editor, Julian worked across the table from many of the nation’s most trusted brands. He’s currently based in New Mexico.

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