Experian Boost Review: Can It Boost Your Credit Score?
Experian Boost on phone

Experian Boost Review: How Does it Work? Is it Worth it?

Building credit has long been a Catch-22 as getting approved for credit often means already having credit established. Luckily for consumers, in recent years there have been a few innovations that have addressed this issue in different ways. One such option is Experian Boost, which comes from Experian — one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States.

While you may have seen the ads for the service (starring John Cena and a CGI cow), how does the service actually work? Let’s take a closer look at Experian Boost.

Experian Boost
Experian Boost on phone
Experian Boost: A Free Way to Add Positive Payments to Your Credit Report
4.5
Cost
FREE
Eligible bills
Utilities, Rent payments, Phone bills, Internet services, Video streaming services, and more
Experian Boost is a clever free service that allows consumers to add positive payments for services that aren’t otherwise reported to credit bureaus. These include rent payments, utilities, phone bills, and even streaming service subscriptions. Unfortunately, Boosts will only impact your Experian credit report/scores. Additionally, while the service itself is free, Experian might try to sell you on a paid plan. Still, if you’re looking to build credit, Experian Boost may be an easy option.
Pros
  • Free to use
  • Connect accounts and Experian will scan for eligible bills
  • Can improve credit scores
Cons
  • Only impacts your Experian report
  • Experian may try to sell you on a paid membership

Experian Boost: How to Join and What it Offers

Minimum FICO requirements

Even though Experian Boost is meant to help those who may be looking to build credit, the company does note that there are some limitations on just how new to credit you can be. Specifically, there are minimum requirements for FICO. These include:

  • Having at least one account on your credit report that has been active for at least six months
  • Having at least one account on your credit report that has been reported in the last six months

If these requirements are met, then you should receive a FICO credit score. In turn, you should be eligible to try Experian Boost.

Experian Boost Add an account your use to pay bills - screenshot

Signing up

To get started with Experian Boost, you’ll need to create an Experian account. This starts with providing the last four digits of your Social Security number along with your mobile phone number. That phone number will then be confirmed via an SMS message.

To continue the process, you’ll need to provide additional personal information and create a password for your Experian account. Once you’ve completed this process, from the dashboard, you’ll want to click “Credit” and then select “Experian Boost.”

Cost

Experian Boost is a completely free service. Additionally, a basic Experian account is also free. However, the site does offer paid memberships. Because of this, you’ll want to be sure that you’re only signing up for the free service if that’s all that you want.

Linking cards/accounts

This is done via a tool called Finicity, which is owned by Mastercard. If you’ve ever used Plaid, it’s a similar system, allowing you to log into your banking account in order to link it.

As Experian notes, you’ll want to link the accounts that you use to pay your bills. Luckily, if that includes multiple cards or accounts in your situation, you can link them all.

After you link new accounts, Experian will scan for eligible bills (this process can take a moment). Then, your eligible accounts will be highlighted on your Boost homepage. On that note…

Eligible options

screenshot of Experian Boost account options

So what types of accounts can be added with Experian Boost? According to the company, some options include:

  • Phone bills
  • Utility bills
  • Insurance payments (excluding health insurance, must be paid monthly)
  • Residential rent payments made online (but not via P2P platforms)
  • Internet, cable, and satellite providers
  • Video streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, Max, and Hulu)
  • Trash collection services

As I mentioned, when you link your account, Experian will give a list of currently eligible accounts as well as “pending” options. See, in order to be added, an account must have at least three payments in the past six months. Once that threshold is met, Experian will move it up into the eligible section.

Another important note is that the account being added must be in your name (it must match the one on your Experian file).

How it works

When you tap “Add Bill,” Experian will first show you your current credit score. As you can probably guess, it will then display your updated score once the eligible bill is added.

From there, you can continue to add eligible bills or link additional accounts to scan for more possible bills.

It’s important to note that eligible accounts are only added to your Experian credit report. Therefore, only creditors who request credit scores based on Experian data will see the Boosted score.

What impact could it have?

According to Experian, of those who see score improvements, the average increase is 13 points. Of course, your result will vary depending on several factors. These include your starting score, how many accounts you adding, etc. Therefore, it’s hard to predict what increase you could see from Boost.

My Experience with Experian Boost

Experian Boost paid upgrade offer

Dodging a paid subscription

If there’s one thing I hate about Experian’s site it’s that each time I log in to my free account it attempts to have me upgrade to a paid plan. Furthermore, I’d argue that it makes it almost too easy to do so by accident! While it shows an initial payment of $0, looking at the top shows that it’s a 7-day free trial followed by a $29.99 per month subscription. To avoid this, you need to click the “No, Keep My Current Membership” button located below the payment button.

To their slight credit, Experian’s use of the G Pay button does make it quite obvious that a purchase is happening. Still, I can see those rushing to log in accidentally upgrading their service. Thus, I wish there were a way to opt out of this permanently… or at least longer than the time between sign-ins.

My eligible bills

After connecting some credit cards to Experian Boost, I had one eligible account: Netflix. That said, three others were pending because they hadn’t yet reached the three-month threshold. Funny enough, the reason why two of those hadn’t met the requirement is that I no longer have those services. Meanwhile, the third was my utility bill — which, when I checked back this week, was ready for me to add to my report.

The impact

Between my two bills, I was able to Boost my score by… zero points. Honestly, this is the outcome I pretty much expected. However, I think there are a few key reasons for this.

First, my two eligible bills were relatively new. I only started paying for Netflix about six months ago when I switched away from T-Mobile and have only paid utilities for this house for three months. So, I imagine that the length of time (or lack thereof) was a factor. Second, since I already have plenty of payment history on credit cards, adding two more accounts seemed unlikely to make much of a dent.

Given these factors, I don’t think that you should judge Boost by my results. In fact, I knew going in that I wasn’t a good candidate for the service but wanted to test it out anyway. So, please don’t be discouraged from my experience as things could be very different for you.

Final Thoughts on Experian Boost

Experian Boost Scanning for bills...

Experian Boost is a clever product — and one that’s free to consumers! It’s also easy to use and is fairly straightforward. For all of those reasons, it might be worth a try if you’re looking to increase your score by a few points.

As for downsides, though, I don’t appreciate how Experian’s site regularly tries to upsell users on paid plans. While you can decline these offers, the frequency is obnoxious.

The other drawback is that your success may vary — and even in the best-case scenario the benefit may only be a handful of points. On top of that, Boosts will only impact your Experian report, meaning that lenders who utilize other bureaus won’t see these additional accounts.

All things considered, if you’re looking to increase your credit score, Experian Boost could well be worth a try. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to continue paying your bills on time and watch out for Experian upsells.

Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney.)

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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