I kept seeing the commercials for Experian Boost. They say that I can easily improve my credit score. All I have to do is sign in to Experian and connect my accounts to show that I make on-time utility payments. So I decided to try it. However, I discovered that it’s not necessarily that simple.
What is Experian Boost?
Experian Boost is a new tool designed to help some people improve their FICO credit scores. You sign in to your Experian account (or set one up for free if you don’t already have one.) Then you use some really simple tools to link it with the accounts you use to pay your utilities. It scans your past history of payments then updates your score accordingly.
Therefore, if all goes well, you see an immediate boost to your Experian credit score. You can get credit for the on-time payments that you have made for your phone as well as your utilities.
Experian Boost Worked For Me … Kind Of
At first, the whole process seemed really simple. Moreover, it seemed like it would work for me.
I linked my Wells Fargo checking account. That’s the account I use to make certain utility payments. The tool did its thing. It saw that I make on-time payments through that account. My credit score moved up just a tiny bit. Awesome.
If someone is seeking a small improvement in their credit score and they have a history of on-time utility payments, then this could theoretically be a great tool. So what went wrong?
How Experian Boost Failed Me
In fairness, Experian Boost didn’t really fail me. I just found that I couldn’t maximize its benefits. That’s because it only works when you link your checking account, not when you link credit card accounts. Therefore, if you pay your utility bills with a credit card, then it doesn’t matter that you have a history of on-time payments, because it doesn’t count.
Personally, I pay as many bills as I can with my credit cards. I want the cash back rewards that I get for doing so. The only reason that I pay some of my utilities with my checking account is that certain companies don’t allow you to pay with credit. If a company lets me pay automatically with a credit card, then I do. Therefore, a lot of my history of on-time payments don’t really count. Experian Boost didn’t change my score significantly.
Of course, I could switch out my payment method. After accruing a few months of on-time payments with my checking account, I could try again. However, I don’t think that’s really worth it. Experian Boost doesn’t improve your credit score that much. I’d rather have the cash back rewards.
It’s Worth a Try But Lower Your Expectations
The thing is that there’s really no good reason not to try Experian Boost. If you make any of your utility or phone payments using a credit card, and you have a history of on-time payments, then you might benefit from using the tool. The tool is free. It doesn’t take long to set up. It’s worth a try.
However, keep your expectations in check. First of all, you might not be able to use all of your utilities if, like me, you pay for some on a credit card. Moreover, Experian Boost only improves your Experian credit score. Lenders use a number of different tools to get your score, so even if your Experian score goes up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll automatically get better loans. They say right on the website, “Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.”