You may have heard the buzz surrounding credit booster programs. Experian Boost and UltraFICO are two programs designed to give a facelift to the credit profiles- and the credit scores- of many. But they’re not for everyone. Here’s how to determine whether a credit booster program is right for you.
What are Credit Booster Programs?
Experian Boost and UltraFICO enable you to link additional data like phone and utility bills to your credit report. These types of payments are not typically included on your credit report, but recently, the bureaus have acknowledged that consumers with reliable utility/phone payment histories tend to be better at paying off debts in general. Thus, credit boosted programs were created.
Both services enable you to link your checking and savings accounts, and will scan them for signs of positive payment history to add to your credit report. They’re free, and you’ll also receive a copy of your credit report in the process.
Who Benefits from Credit Booster Programs?
Because payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score, adding these payments can have a real impact, depending on how long you’ve used credit. If you have a “thin” credit history with few accounts, adding this information could significantly raise your score. In fact, Experian says that on average, Boost users have seen their credit scores increase 13 points.
Let’s say your credit history has been tarnished in the past, but you’ve gotten back on your feet in recent months. This would be a great scenario to get started using a credit booster, because it considers recent payments on your bills.
However, if you’ve missed several payments recently, the addition of these new features may not be beneficial to you. Your score won’t decline (since both services only take into account positive payment history), but chances are you won’t experience the same positive score increase as others on the program.
So if you’re a credit rookie, or you’re trying to make up for past credit blemishes, boosters may be a good option to look into- after all, you’ve got nothing to lose.