Chris Bridges, Founder and CEO, VITAL Card Inc.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your credit score, look no further than Experian Boost. This innovative new add-on to your Experian Credit File allows you to add your rent and utility bills to your credit report. This can help improve your credit score by demonstrating that you’re able to handle debt responsibly. Here is a walkthrough of the process of adding bills and rent to your Experian Boost account, as well as all the info you might want about Experian Boost.
Credit Score: A Brief Overview
Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness. It is used by lenders to determine whether you are a good candidate for a loan and what interest rate you will be offered. Credit scores are also used by landlords, employers, and insurers to evaluate your risk.
Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit report. This report includes your payment history, the types of credit you have, the amount of debt you have, and other factors. Payment history is the most important factor in achieving a good credit score.
Lenders want to see that you have a history of making on-time payments with minimal late payments. Other factors that are taken into account by credit scoring models include the types of credit you have (revolving, installment, etc.), the length of your credit history, and your credit utilization ratio.
There are many different types of payments that can go into your credit report. The most common are revolving payments, such as credit card payments, and installment payments, such as car loans or mortgage payments. Typically, only payments that go to a traditional lender (like a bank or credit card company) will count toward your score.
What Is Experian Boost?
If you are like most people, then you likely have consistent monthly payments that would demonstrate your trustworthiness to pay the money back on time. This can include things like your utility bills, phone bills, rent payments, and even some subscription services.
Before Experian Boost, there was no simple way to report these payments to a credit bureau to have them reflected in your score. Now, with this free service, anyone can link their bank accounts to add their regular payments like rent, phone payments, student loans, and utilities to their FICO credit report and Experian’s free credit report almost instantly.
Experian Boost is completely free for anyone to use and can be particularly useful to people with a small credit history, or people looking for a quick score boost before opening a new line of credit for better terms.
How To Add Utility Payments & Rent to Experian Boost
While the process on Experian Boost is very straightforward, it might feel a little confusing at first. Here is a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to add your bills and rent payments to Experian Boost to improve your credit score.
1. Create an Online Account
The first step to adding your bills and rent to Experian Boost is to create a free online account with Experian. They will need information about you like your name, address, and other identifying information to be sure they are dealing with the correct person. An account with Experian is totally free and only takes a few minutes to set up properly.
2. Grant Read-Only Access to Experian Boost
After you have created an online account, you will be prompted to grant Experian Boost read-only access to your bank and credit card accounts used to pay for your bills and rent. Read-only access means that Experian will not be able to do anything in your accounts, but will only be allowed to see the transactions on the account. Experian uses this information to create accounts for your regular payments that reflect your history of positive payments.
3. Select the Accounts To Add to Your Credit Score
Once Experian Boost has put together your regular payments into separate accounts, you can then select the exact accounts that you want to be added to your FICO credit score. You can choose any or all of your accounts, and select them individually. This allows you to choose carefully which payments you want on your credit report and which payments you don’t.
4. Enjoy Your Boosted Credit
Once you have selected the accounts you want to be added, all you have to do is let Experian Boost handle the rest and your score will be boosted almost instantly. There is nothing left for you to do, other than keep your boost updated with your payment accounts if you add a new account to your regular payments.
Common Questions About Using Experian Boost for Credit Repair
Now that you know exactly how you can add your bills and rent payments to your FICO credit score with Experian Boost, you probably have a few more questions. Never fear, we have your back — here are the answers to some of the most common questions about using Experian Boost.
1. How Big of an Experian Credit Score Increase Should I Expect?
The typical boost from Experian Boost is about 13 points added to your FICO score. While that might not sound like a lot, that is a massive move that can happen almost instantly.
You may see a larger boost if your credit history is weaker, shorter, or less robust. A thin credit file may see a smaller increase from making bill payments with Experian Boost. However, If your credit is already well-built, then Experian Boost may not impact your score at all.
2. Does Experian Boost Work for All Credit Bureaus?
Unfortunately, Experian Boost can only affect your score from Experian’s credit reports, and those that recognize Experian’s data. These include both your FICO and VantageScore, but do not include your credit score as reported by the other two major bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. There is not currently a system to simply and easily add your bills and rent payments to these other bureaus’ reports.
3. Is Experian Boost Trustworthy?
Experian Boost is a service run by Experian, which is one of the world’s leading financial data and credit reporting institutions. When you give your information to Experian you are not dealing with a third-party service, but rather directly with the Experian credit bureau. This means that your data is going to be as secure as possible, and you don’t have to worry about using Experian Boost.
4. What Kind of Accounts Can Experian Boost Add?
Experian Boost can help credit accounts for many of your regular bills and payments, but not all of them. Experian Boost is able to add your bills and payments for:
- Electricity bills
- Water bills
- Rent payments
- Streaming services, like Hulu, Netflix, HBO max, and Disney +
- Cable bills
- Cellphone bills
Experian Boost is always trying to become even more helpful, and this means including more kinds of bills. Be sure to check with Experian directly to see what kinds of bills and payments they will accept.
Other Tips to Boost Your Credit Score
While Experian Boost can be a wonderful way to support your credit and get rewarded for your positive payment history, it is far from the only way to boost your score. Here are a few other tips you can follow to help build your credit over the long term for your financial success.
1. Keep a Low Credit Utilization
One of the primary factors that credit scoring algorithms consider when calculating your score is your credit utilization rate, which is the ratio of your outstanding balances to your credit limits. In general, it’s best to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%, and ideally below 10%.
This means that if you have a $1,000 credit limit, you should keep your outstanding balances below $300. By keeping a low utilization rate, you can not only improve your credit score, but you may also be less likely to incur late fees or finance charges.
2. Keep Your Accounts Open
Most people close their accounts after they pay them off, but this can actually hurt your credit score. Closing an account means that the history of that account is no longer being reported, which can shorten your average credit history and make it appear that you’re using less of your available credit. Instead of closing your accounts, try to keep them open and use them responsibly. This can show creditors that you’re a responsible borrower and help improve your credit score over time.
Experian Boost: A Handy Personal Finance Tool
Experian Boost is a great and free way to add bills and rent payments to your FICO credit score. While there are plenty of other ways to boost your credit, this is a method that can quickly have an impact on your overall credit score.
Building credit can help you enjoy lower interest rates on loans and get new credit cards with better benefits. One great credit card for you to consider is VITAL Card. VITAL rewards you for sharing and spending responsibly to grow your VITAL score and enjoy unbeatable cashback rewards that keep growing.
VITAL Card blog posts are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial or any other type of advice.