Experian Boost is a free service that adds on-time utility and telecom payments to your credit file. The service connects your online checking or savings account to your Experian account and searches for qualifying on-time payments that aren't traditionally included in credit reports. Those payments are added into your credit file and could potentially increase your credit score.
Does Experian Boost Work?
- 61% of Experian Boost users saw their credit score increase, by an average of 13 points.
- 86% of users with very poor credit experienced an increase, averaging 21 points.
- 87% of users with less than five accounts increased their score, by an average of 19 points.
Experian Boost Pros and Cons:
Does Not Work with Most Credit Scores. The main drawback of Experian Boost is that it only impacts your FICO Score 8 calculated with Experian data. None of the other 1,000+ credit-score models currently in use will see a boost. Even FICO Score 8 credit scores calculated based on a TransUnion or Equifax credit report will be unaffected. As a result, Experian Boost might not actually save you much money. Mortgage lenders generally do not use FICO Score 8, for example.
Low Impact on High Scores. The value of a service like Experian Boost decreases the higher your credit score already is. If you already have a top-tier score, think 750 or above, that means you are already making payments on time and have a strong credit history. Adding another on-time payment likely won't bump your score up by that much.
Bank Accounts Only. In order to find on-time payments, you have to link Experian Boost with the checking or savings account you use to pay utilities or telecom bills (credit cards do not apply). You must have a pattern of payments over three months for the program to find what it needs, but the reporting can check back as far as 24 months.
Experian Boost Alternatives:
Experian Boost is just one of multiple services out there that add alternative data to certain credit score calculations. These services are currently limited, though. For example, UltraFICO adds bank account information like balances and transactions to your FICO score but is in a pilot program that only some lenders have access to. Similarly, eCredable Lift reports on-time utility payments, but only to TransUnion.
There are also third-party rent-reporting services that can add on-time rental payments to your credit report.
Experian Boost isn't for everyone. You have to pay your bills with a checking or savings account for it to even function and then the impact on your credit score will vary based on a number of factors. If you have relatively few active credit accounts and a lower credit score, Experian Boost will have a more dramatic impact.
The good news is Experian Boost is entirely optional and can be turned off at any point. If for some reason activating the program decreases your credit score, you can disconnect your bank account and your credit score should return to its previous level. That means there's no downside to signing up and seeing if your credit score increases.