Experian Officially Launches Smart Money Checking Account
The credit bureau Experian is expanding its platform and introducing a new checking product.
About the account:
After an initial soft launch, today, Experian officially announced its new Smart Money digital checking account and debit card.
The account will integrate with Experian Boost. When customers use their Smart Money debit card to pay for Boost-supported bills, such as utilities, rent, phone bills, etc., Experian will add these payments to the consumer’s credit files. In turn, users can help build their credit without needing to use a credit card or loan. According to Experian, more than 14 million users have tried Experian Boost (which connects to an existing checking account or credit card), with an average score increase of 13 points.
In addition to the Boost feature, the Smart Money account will give customers access to fee-free ATMs, allow them to receive their direct deposit payroll funds up to two days early, and more. The account has no monthly fees or balance minimums and is available to free and paid Experian members. Additionally, new Smart Money customers can currently earn a $50 bonus when they open an account and set up direct deposit.
More from Experian:
The debut of Smart Money comes on the heels of another announcement involving Experian. Last month, the credit bureau alongside Equifax and TransUnion confirmed that their free weekly credit report feature (which was introduced in 2020 and has been extended multiple times) would become permanent. Previously, consumers could only obtain their reports once per year. Individuals can request their free credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
What they’re saying:
Announcing the new account, Group President of Experian Consumer Services Jeff Softley stated, “With Experian Boost and Experian Go, we enabled millions of people who pay bills regularly to leverage their positive payment history to build their credit profiles. Now, we’ve made it more seamless to have those positive payments reflected with the Experian Smart Money Digital Checking Account so more consumers can reach their fullest financial potential.” Softley continued, “We have been revolutionizing the way credit and everyday finances mingle, and this offering is a natural next step in how we are using our technology to provide consumers greater credit-building power and financial control.”
On the one hand, it’s a bit odd that a credit bureau is offering a checking product. After all, these bureaus have long been companies that consumers were customers of without any direct interaction. Of course, that’s changed in recent years — especially with Experian as they’ve not only offered premium credit monitoring but also their Boost product and now Smart Money.
In any case, the account itself seems like a decent option for those who want to take advantage of Boost without linking an external account. However, I’m a bit surprised that the account doesn’t double as a secured credit card akin to some credit-building FinTech options. Nevertheless, I’ll be interested to see how Experian Smart Money is received – and I might open an account myself in order to score that $50 bonus.