A credit score is a necessity in today’s world – you need it to get a car loan, mortgage, even insurance in many cases. Even if you don’t have bad credit, having no credit history can be almost as much of a problem in the eyes of lenders.

Enter Experian Boost. You may have seen commercials claiming that this financial product can help you improve your credit score fast – but is that actually possible, and is Boost the right option for you? Read on to find out.

About Experian Boost

Boost is a free product recently introduced by credit reporting firm Experian to help people take advantage of their utility and phone payments in order to give their credit score a little lift. It’s an innovative concept, considering that utilities aren’t normally calculated into your credit profile.

How It Works

Signing up for Experian Boost is pretty simple:

  • Create an Experian account.
  • Connect your bank account information so that Experian Boost can scan for payments.
  • Verify the utility and phone payments you want applied to your credit score.

According to Experian your eligible payments will take effect immediately. One thing that’s important to understand, however, is that Boost operates on the FICO Score 8 model. There are several different types of credit scores that lenders may look at. Boost works with FICO Score 8, FICO Score 9, VantageScore 3, and VantageScore 4. If your lender uses a different model they won’t see any potential increase you’ve gotten via Boost.

Who Should Use Boost?

Experian designed this credit score product specifically to help pad files for those who may not have much credit experience, giving them a way to showcase their responsible financial behaviors. This means Boost is good for students and other young people who don’t have a lot to show on their report yet.

Experian Boost may also be beneficial to people rebuilding their credit after a financial difficulty. Experian claims that 2 out of 3 users see a jump in their score after using Boost. Those odds are pretty good if you’re trying to get back on your feet.

Pros 

  • It’s free
  • Any increase in score becomes effective instantly
  • Only positive data is applied – late payments are ignored
  • No commitment – withdraw at any time

Cons

  • Must give Experian access to your bank account
  • Not everyone will see an increase in credit score
  • Not all types of credit scores are affected

Summary

Experian claims that the average user sees a 13-point credit score boost by using this program. That much improvement can make a considerable difference in your approval rate, particularly if your score is already on the verge of moving up a band on the FICO scale.

On the other hand, some people are uncomfortable giving companies access to their banking information. If you are okay with that, however, Experian Boost appears to be a solid product with the potential for helping customers get credit where credit is due.