Posted by William Charles on December 22, 2018
Credit Scores

Published on December 22nd, 2018 | by William Charles

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Experian Boost: Add Utility & Telecom Bills Paid On Time & Get A Score Increase

Consumer reporting agency Experian has launched something called ‘Experian Boost‘. Experian boost allows consumers to add their utility and telecom bills to their credit report, to do so you need to give Experian access to your online bank account. If these bills have been paid on time then your score will increase. One nice thing about Experian Boost is that after adding access your FICO score is updated in real time.

Experian Boost will officially launch in early 2019, but you can register now for early access. You have to sign up for a free Experian membership to be eligible (credit card is not required). Experian states that according to their research 75% of consumers with a FICO score below 680 saw an immediate improvement and 10% of consumers who previously had a ‘thin credit file’ (unable to generate a credit score) became scoreable after using Experian boost.

The downside to Experian boost is that you need to provide Experian with additional data and access to your online accounts. It isn’t clear how that access is provided, is Experian handling that directly or are they using a known third party (similar to the access provided to Mint and other fintech companies). Given that competitor Equifax had data breached consumers have a right to be concerned over handling over this information. A better solution would be allow telecom and utility provides the ability to furnish this data, they would have an incentive to do so as it would mean consumers were more likely to pay bills on time.



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joE
joE

aka sell your soul to the devil for a few extra points

AlBee
AlBee

I tried Experian with Boost but it did not help very much! I am in the FAIR credit rating score (around 660) since I paid off my car loan & credit card. Both accounts are now closed. I no longer have / want a credit card, but I want my Credit Rating back in the 720 range. My 2 Credit karma scores are about the same, but the Experian rating is -35 points lower. Adding Boost and using 3 accounts (Cell, Internet,& Electricity auto payments) from my bank account (using 57 payments made) my credit score only increased +16 points. WOW, Hardly enough to give up my bank info. C K suggestion is to open a new credit card and put those auto payments on the new CC (not my bank account). But with FAIR credit rating APR is 25% on most cards I would qualify for. Seems like you can’t win unless you are in debt!

AlBee
AlBee

I noticed it mentioned below complaints about forking over your bank account number. When I signed up for Boost, as a credit agency Experian already has your bank account numbers, the only thing you provide regarding our bank account is the password. I have WF and they only allow a one time password code to allow Experian to scan your bank account payments. But adding +14 points to my credit score is hardly enough using 57 auto payments made over two years. As noted above I am the FAIR credit rating target, and this should really help out my score. But it dosn’t! I Guess I will keep using my bank card with anybody that accepts Visa because the Credit Agency’s S__K!

Bill
Bill

Maybe this will inspire more banks to allow me to make a read-only password to give out to these kinds of services.It’s such a great and obvious feature and it drives me nuts that so few offer it.

Hari
Hari

Which bank does that currently ?

Bill
Bill

Capital One is the only one I know of, but hopefully there are others:

https://www.capitalone.com/support-center/bank/personal-finance-access-code

Aditya Shrivastava
Aditya Shrivastava

Wow! Had no idea they offered this!

art
art

suppose u pay the utilities with a credit card..how would it work ?

datapoint
datapoint

[quote] .. utility provides the ability to furnish this data… it would mean consumers were more likely to pay bills on time [/quote]

Consider that statement for a moment. Why would the utilities go through the expense of the project development costs as the Lights Out, Power Off, No calls for You — is certainly enough of an incentive to pay on time.

Ann
Ann

Power companies usually let people get several months behind before cutting them off, from what I’ve heard. It’s bad PR to let people die from cold or heat exposure. So this would be more of an incentive to pay on time instead of just paying eventually.

cytraveler
cytraveler

Right, and in some states there are significant hurdles to pass to cut off service.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Depends on the company but you can usually be late on your utility bills with very little to no consequences, they’ll usually let you slide for a month or two before even threatening to shut them off, maybe charge you a few pennies in interest on your past due balance. Its actually illegal for companies to shut off utilities during the winter in some places, even if you aren’t paying. And in my town at least, with water, even with an order the shut off water to a building they’ll do it when they get to it, which is usually weeks (I was told). Learned that when the previous owners of my house shut off the utilities before I moved in, when we went to the power and water company to turn them back on the receptionist told us they never got around to shutting the water off, so it was still on. The power they shut off right away though.

Back before my electric company had online accounts I used to pay my bill late all the time. They would send me a bill via snail mail and I’d have to either mail them a check or physically stop by their office during business hours. Since that was out of my normal routine (online bills are my normal routine), I’d forget to pay all the time. I had to pay a few cents in interest a couple times is all. I’m talking less than a dime here. This was before online bill pay was really a thing, and it probably wouldn’t have helped, the bill was always a different amount, and I’d misplace the bill, so I wouldn’t know how much to pay. Of course, since there was no consequences of paying late, I had no urgency to pay, so that contributed to me being late all the time.

TB
TB

800 is the new 700

Charlie
Charlie

It ain’t happening here.

Ann
Ann

Sounds like it won’t help people with already-high scores anyway, but it could be made less intrusive by paying those bills using an account you don’t use for anything else.

M
M

Can we sell our souls and account numbers directly to foreign hackers and bypass Experian?

Frank
Frank

Did you pay your utility bill on time? Great, give us you bank account login ?!?!! Uh, how’s about maybe my utility bill login at best…

Beefer
Beefer

Now I’m waiting for someone to find out that it’s extremely poorly coded and something stupid like any ACH debit will boost your score.

bax
bax

Voluntarily fork over more personal/household info for their profits and hacking leaks?

Ben
Ben

I thought the credit bureaus didn’t control credit score calculations (other than to show you), they provide the report data and the prospective lender applies the scoring algorithm (usually one licensed from FICO but private algorithms are possible). So Experian would have to report this data through (as additional open accounts, does that mean switching electricity providers nuke average age of accounts?) and you hope the score calculation decides to use it somehow.

Besides that, looking at checking account data for on-time telecom payments really is useless for people with decent scores, because if you have good credit, why wouldn’t you be paying those through Ink Cash for 5x points, or at least through a 2% cashback card?

Snorlax
Snorlax

I would imagine they would report a utility bill as a revolving credit account, which is essentially is.

The other option is they would report it as “utility bill” and FICO has been updated to understand that.

Rabbmd
Rabbmd

So I haven’t paid my electric bill or cell phone bill via my bank checking account for over a decade… why miss out on the credit card points (and cell insurance). How does providing my account info help this now?

Abey

+1

JV
JV

+1 I actually get so far ahead on all utilities it’s like once a year payment for me. Gotta love cc spending bonuses

Nick
Nick

Yep, this was my thought too. I wonder if manually submitting a tiny overpayment from my bank account would be enough. I wonder if the amount matters. Probably.

Gerald
Gerald

Lucky you. My telecom providers allow fee-free CC payments (Ink Cash, 5X), but my gas and electric providers charge fees for CC payments.

Krista check my posts
Krista check my posts

So do most people’s. That’s the reason for the large payments/ advance payment. However I know of one gas company that charges 5%plus fixed fee. I make sure that relative is paying with ach.

Ryan Goldstein

Why not use Arcadia Power for that one? No CC fee and can get 5% cash back with some cards. https://www.doctorofcredit.com/arcadia-power-pay-your-electric-bill-with-credit-card-for-no-fee-available-nationwide/

Bill
Bill

They cannot work with my utility since they implemented two-factor login.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Doesn’t seem to work with a lot of utility companies?? I have municipal utilities and I signed up with Arcadia Power and the only thing they did was asked me to subscribe to some dubious service, no way to pay my bill, no way to add the utility login.

Bill
Bill

Mine (Con Ed in NY) charges but it turns out it’s “only” $3.35 fixed charge per payment. I paid 2 months at a time last time and used my US Bank Cash+ card which has utilities as one of the 5% categories. I may do 3 months at once next time.

ed
ed

No Way On Earth would I allow such a voluntary data mining. It’s bad enough that much of our financial data has been breached or allowed lawfully in the name of security or scores. I’ve nevet had a personal FB account because I knew what that would mean. At least it’s voluntary for individuals right now. How long will that freedom exist? The freedom to choose what we believe, what we say, how we live, how we worship or what we worship are freedoms that were once protected in certain countries by constitutions, but they’ve eroded over the decades. I know I’ll never be totally free while in humanity, but at least the U.S. still has a Constitution and Bill of Rights even though some don’t adhere to it or think they can re-interpret what the writers meant. Data mining is all about money, power, infuence, some real security and some not. We’ve all been hacked. It’s all about protecting yourself the best you can. Trust not in man. – I’m in marketing.

AkJohnny
AkJohnny

I pay my water bill with money orders because they charge 4% fee for using a credit card and I prepay my electric bill via $500 visa gift cards… bank account statements say nothing of my ability to pay my utilities.

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