One of the most important indicators you can use for your finances is your credit score. While your credit score isn’t exactly a true measure of how well you handle money, it’s a number used by financial services companies when evaluating your ability to handle credit and debt.
With a good credit score, you end up paying less when you get a car or home loan and can also qualify for better credit card offers. On top of that, in some states, your credit score can potentially impact your car insurance premium.
If you want to improve your credit score, using an app to identify problem areas and track your progress can be helpful. Here are five apps designed to help you improve your credit score.
Overview: Best Apps to Boost Your Credit Score
|Experian Boost||Free (with paid services options)||Immediate increase in your credit score|
|Self||Administrative fee and finance charge||Building credit from scratch|
|Credit Karma||Free||Low-cost monitoring and recommendations|
|myFICO||Monthly plans: $19.95, $29.95, $39.95||All three reports and scores|
4 of the Best Apps to Boost Your Credit Score
1. Experian Boost™
With Experian, you’re going straight to one of the sources. Experian is a credit reporting agency. It offers a product called Boost, designed to give you a little nudge in the right direction, including helping your Experian credit score by looking at some of your recurring bills, such as rent and your gym membership.*
Experian’s score is based on information in your Experian credit report and uses FICO 8 to determine your score. In addition to offering insight into your credit situation, you can also see a dark web scan to see where your personal information has been compromised on the web. Use Experian Boost™ by connecting a bank or credit card account, and then the app will review your spending patterns to identify rent, insurance payments, and gym memberships. Regular payments of these items can help improve your Experian credit score.
However, it’s important to note that Experian Boost doesn’t work with all banks and financial accounts, so you might not get the boost you expect. Experian offers a free basic account, including a Boost, although you can add credit monitoring and other products at a cost.
*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.
One of the more active ways to boost your credit score is with Self (formerly Self Lender). The idea here is that you can build a credit history while setting aside money in savings. With the Credit Builder account from Self, you basically set up a situation where you make monthly payments that are reported to the credit bureaus. At the end of your term, you are rewarded with a CD.
Plans with Self begin with a $25 commitment. However, you do have to pay an administrative fee and a finance charge. This can be an ideal account for someone who doesn’t have any credit at all and is looking to build. Plus, it’s a bonus that most of the money you pay goes into a CD used for your own benefit. It encourages you to save while at the time building your credit.
3. Credit Karma
Credit Karma offers you access to your TransUnion and Equifax consumer scores based on VantageScore 3.0. With Credit Karma, you can see the actions in your report that contribute to your credit score and review negative items to see if they need to be disputed or reported as fraud.
In addition to providing scoring information, Credit Karma recommends different actions you can take to potentially help you increase your score. This includes showing you how different actions potentially impact your credit score, as well as recommending products and services that might have a positive influence on your score. You can use Credit Karma to track your progress and even get special hacks designed to help you make progress.
Credit Karma is free to use, although the company does get a kickback if you sign up for products and services through its site.
The Fair Isaac Company is often considered the premier credit scoring provider. When you go to myFICO, you get access to your FICO scores. However, there is no version of myFICO. The cheapest access costs $19.95 per month and only includes your Experian credit report.
If you want access to all three of your credit bureau reports and scores, you need to pay $29.95 per month, and your scores only update every three months. For monthly score updates from all three bureaus, you need to pay $39.95 per month.
However, this comes with the advantage of seeing different types of scores, including those that might be considered for car loans or mortgages. You can also get identity monitoring, credit monitoring, and identity theft insurance. With myFICO, you get detailed information about your score and what’s dragging it down. You can use that information to make tweaks and improve your credit score.
Why are there different credit scores?
Your credit scores are based on the information in your credit reports. Because each credit report is a little different, your scores will also be different. Additionally, different tweaks are made using various scoring models, resulting in a different score. In fact, the score you see with an app might not be the same score that a lender uses.
How can I maintain a good credit score?
The best way to maintain a good credit score is to make all your payments on time, keep your debt level relatively low, and use credit judiciously.
What goes into a credit score?
Various scoring models are different, but in general, the FICO scoring model is based on your payment history (35%), credit utilization (30%), length of your credit history (15%), recent credit (10%), and your credit mix (10%).
How We Came Up With This List
When determining this list, we considered different types of consumer credit scoring websites, taking into account various features that might work for different situations and financial circumstances. There’s a good chance you’ll find something on this list that will fit your needs.
Your credit score can be an important part of your financial picture. While these consumer scores might not exactly match what a lender would use, they can provide you with a ballpark estimate of what you might expect and help you track your progress.