Content of the material
- 4. Limits Your Requests for New Credit—and the Hard Inquiries with Them
- Does removing hard inquiries improve your credit score?
- Experian Boost Support
- When It Doesn’t Really Help?
- Should I use Experian Boost?
- How does Experian Boost work?
- Is Experian Boost Legal?
- How Much of a Credit Boost to Expect
- Will Experian Boost Strengthen Your Credit Score?
- What Is Experian Boost™
- How To Sign Up for Experian Boost
- My third Experian Boost
- The Bottom Line
4. Limits Your Requests for New Credit—and the Hard Inquiries with Them
There are two types of inquiries into your credit history, often referred to as hard and soft inquiries. A typical soft inquiry might include you checking your own credit, giving a potential employer permission to check your credit, checks performed by financial institutions with which you already do business, and credit card companies that check your file to determine if they want to send you pre-approved credit offers. Soft inquiries will not affect your credit score.
Hard inquiries, however, can affect your credit score—adversely—for anywhere from a few months to two years. Hard inquiries can include applications for a new credit card, a mortgage, an auto loan, or some other form of new credit. The occasional hard inquiry is unlikely to have much of an effect. But many of them in a short period of time can damage your credit score. Banks could take it to mean that you need money because you’re facing financial difficulties and are therefore a bigger risk. If you are trying to improve your credit score, avoid applying for new credit for a while.
Does removing hard inquiries improve your credit score?
Yes, having hard inquiries removed from your report will improve your credit score—but not drastically so. Recent hard inquiries only account for 10% of your overall score rating. If you have erroneous inquiries, you should try to have them removed, but this step won’t make a huge difference by itself.
Experian Boost Support
Experian Boost is easy to use. Visit Experian.com and click “Sign In” in the upper right corner to log in.
The service is free, but they ask you to upgrade each time. To access your account, just click the option that says “No, Keep My Current Membership.”
Navigating to Experian Boost is easy. Click the menu button and select “Experian Boost” under the “Reports & Scores” section. If you hit a snag, you can call customer support at 866-617-1894.
It helps to have your Member ID number when you call. You can find it by clicking the menu button and then going to your profile.
If you want to cancel your account, it’s easy to do with the automated phone system.
Experian Boost can help you build your credit record with phone and utility payments… and it’s absolutely free! Try Experian Boost Now!
When It Doesn’t Really Help?
But although Experian Boost can increase your credit score, the service doesn’t help everyone
This service is only offered through Experian.
So, on-time utility and cell phone payments will only appear on your Experian credit report.
The inclusion of these payments on your credit file is only beneficial when future creditors pull your Experian credit report. Or, when they pull your score from credit scoring models that recognize Experian data—FICO (FICO 8 and 9) and VantageScore (3.0 and 4.0).
There are three major credit bureaus, the other two being Equifax and TransUnion.
Some creditors and lenders pull all three credit reports when reviewing credit applications. But others only pull one report.
So if you improve your Experian credit file, yet a lender reviews your TransUnion credit file, Experian Boost isn’t going to help.
Be mindful that Boost scans your bank account (either your checking or savings account) to look for qualifying on-time payment.
So the service also doesn’t help if you make your cell phone payments or utility payments with a credit card.
Should I use Experian Boost?
Registering for Experian Boost is generally a good idea because there’s no cost or risk involved. It can be particularly helpful if you have a thin credit file.
However, if you’re looking to build credit, signing up for Experian Boost is just a start, not the only step you should take.
To get the best results, educate yourself on how credit works and how your credit score is calculated. If you’re just starting out, you can also explore credit-building tools such as credit-builder loans and secured credit cards, which are designed to help people with thin credit files start building their credit.
How does Experian Boost work?
The Boost program is the result of Experian’s in-house research, which identified a strong correlation between paying utility bills and future loan defaults. FICO and VantageScore agreed with Experian and now you can get these bills factored into your credit score.
Getting those extra points is easy. The free program is an opt-in one that you initiate by visiting Experian’s website. Once there, you’ll need to identify yourself. This is much the same process you follow to get your credit report online.
Once you prove you are who you are, you begin the process by adding your checking account information to your credit file. You can add more than one checking account from more than one bank. You can also use a joint account, but you can’t use a business checking account.
Behind the scenes, Experian uses leading financial data aggregator Finicity to make all the connections between Experian, FICO, VantageScore and your bank. Most banks are already in the network, but some smaller ones are not. If your bank doesn’t connect, just let Finicity know and it will reach out to the bank in question.
Here are a few great features that make the program a winner for everyone:
- It grabs only positive payment information – nothing negative in your checking account will show up.
- It looks back 24 months from the get-go, so most people won’t have to wait for a payment history to be built.
- It covers all kinds of utility payments like electric and gas, cable, cellphones, landlines and even water bills if they are identifiable.
- You can opt out at any time.
Is Experian Boost Legal?
You might wonder if all of this is legal. Can Experian expect you to give them access to your bank history so they can see your payment records?
Rest assured that Boost is 100% legal. The service is optional. You do not have to participate. As for their access to your records, that’s Experian’s entire business model. They are a consumer reporting agency. Every time a credit card company or lender has sent Experian information about you, you have given them permission to do so (probably in the fine print when applying for a new credit card or loan, which few of us ever read).
How Much of a Credit Boost to Expect
Experian Boost has helped more than 1 million Americans increase their credit score.
According to one study, about “61 percent of Experian Boost users have increased their FICO credit scores by an average of 13 points per user.”
The survey also found that “64 percent of users went from having a very poor score to a fair score.” And among users with a thin credit file, “about 86 percent saw an increase in their scores.”
Will Experian Boost Strengthen Your Credit Score?
The average Experian Boost user sees a 12 point increase in their FICO Score 8. That figure could be higher or low, depending on your credit profile. There’s also a chance you won’t see any improvement.
The good news is the service may help you, regardless of your current credit rating. If you’re a credit newbie, the positive payment history reported will improve your credit health instantly. But if you have bad credit, adding these accounts to your credit profile can help reduce the impact of the negative marks you already have.
Be mindful that some lenders exclude credit information from Experian Boost when evaluating credit applications. Consequently, the credit score they see could be lower than what’s reflected in the Experian portal.
What Is Experian Boost™
On-time payment history is the most important factor in your credit score accounting for 35% of your total credit score, followed by credit utilization which makes up 30% of your credit score. This product allows consumers to add additional on-time payments to their Experian credit report by linking their bank account. Additional on-time payment history can help increase your credit score.
Using Experian Boost to boost your credit scores isn’t complicated. The first thing you’ll need to do is connect the account that you use to pay your qualifying utility, cell phone and video streaming service payments. After connecting the bank account, users can choose which positive payment histories from these services to add to their Experian credit report. If applicable, you may see the results of Experian Boost instantly.
Those most likely to benefit have “thin” credit histories, meaning they don’t have many credit accounts to report on-time payments to their credit report. According to Experian’s website, average users who received a boost improved their FICO Score based on Experian Data by 13 points. Remember that results may vary, and are dependent on factors like your existing credit profile.
Read More: What Is a Good Credit Score?
Yes, Experian Boost is safe to use. Boost only adds on-time payments to your credit report, so it cannot hurt your credit score.
How well Experian Boost works will depend on your existing credit history. If you have little or no credit history, you could see a large impact from Boost. However, if you already have good credit, you will likely see much smaller — if any — impact.
The best way to improve your credit scores is to use credit responsibly. This means making all of your debt payments on time and keeping your credit card balances low. A simple method to establish and build credit is with a credit card. Use the credit card to pay a small monthly bill, such as a streaming service. Then, set up automatic payments through your bank so your credit card is paid in full and on time every month. This will build your positive payment history. Choose a credit card with no annual fee. If you can't qualify for an unsecured card, try a secured credit card.
How To Sign Up for Experian Boost
Visit the Experian Boost webpage or download the mobile app to enroll in the Experian CreditWorks℠ Basic membership program.
When prompted, enter your first and last name, current address, email address, and preferred email address to access the dashboard. Next, connect your bank account(s) and wait for the platform to analyze activity. Once Experian identifies qualifying payments, select and confirm the accounts you want to use for Experian Boost.
You can disconnect one or several accounts at any time. And if you prefer to stop using Experian Boost altogether, you also have the option to unenroll from the service at the tap of a fingertip without consequence.
My third Experian Boost
I’m not a Boost addict, I swear. This time, I’ve done it for you, dear reader. Before I started writing this article, I decided to boost again because I had some data to add. I was paying for the Internet with a card I hadn’t connected yet. Plus Experian now lets you report your Netflix payments.
Boosting my FICO score while binging Bridgerton? Yes, please.
So I’ve boosted again. This time, I’ve added all of my credit card accounts, just to be sure every eligible payment will count toward my score. I didn’t expect much, but I wanted to get the most out of the service.
My score has increased by 13 points, taking my score to the next credit tier—from “fair” to “good”.
Now my FICO score is at 680, and in total, Experian Boost has raised my score by 22 points. It’s less of a boost than other users report. But without it, it could take me another year to reach good credit. Now that years of fair credit are officially behind me, I may qualify for some of the most exciting credit cards (I’m looking at you, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card), and I’m considering refinancing my car loan.
The Bottom Line
Improving your credit score is a good goal to have, especially if you’re planning to either apply for a loan to make a major purchase, such as a new car or home, or qualify for one of the best rewards cards available. It can take several weeks, and sometimes several months, to see a noticeable impact on your score when you start taking steps to turn it around.
You may even require the aid of one of the best credit repair companies to remove some of those negative marks. But the sooner you begin working to improve your credit, the sooner you will see results.