Experian Boost™ is for consumers with little credit or a lower score who still do a good job of paying their monthly bills on-time. It provides an opportunity for bills that don’t normally get reported to credit bureaus to™ contribute positive payment history to your credit profile to boost your score.
UltraFICO is a brand new credit scoring model that can help increase your score by considering your positive money management habits like keeping a checking and savings account and having a long-term positive balance history.
Your credit score is one of the most important financial numbers you have. Maintaining a good credit score can help you secure a loan for your home, obtain a credit card or even get lower insurance rates for your vehicle.
When it comes to monitoring your credit, there are many different options to choose from these days. If you’re looking to use a tool that is free and very accurate, Experian Boost™ and Ultra FICO are some of the top contenders. Both Experian Boost™ and Ultra FICO take a newer approach to calculate your credit score by including additional factors like your utility bill payments and your long-term positive checking account and savings account balance.
Why You Should Monitor Your Credit Score Regularly
Monitoring your credit score is one of the first steps to take when you’re trying to improve your credit or maintain an excellent credit profile. It’s important to check your score and credit report to review your accounts and see if everything looks accurate. Plus, consistent credit score monitoring is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft.
If you see an account was recently opened without your knowledge, you can quickly report it to the credit bureaus before too much damage is done. Credit monitoring programs can help you do this and also provide alerts whenever your score changes, a new account is opened, or a balance is decreased or increased.
Monitoring your credit is also important if you’re looking to hone in on the specific factors that are impacting your score. Maybe you want to limit how many hard inquiries you have or lower your overall utilization of your credit cards. Using a credible credit monitoring system can help you track everything all in one place and make necessary improvements to your credit along the way.
Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus (along with Equifax and TransUnion). Located in Dublin, Ireland, Experian has been around since 1996 and collects credit information on more than 1 billion people and businesses across the world.
Lenders report your payment and credit history to Experian and this helps them calculate your score. Since Experian is a major credit bureau, they are able to issue their own FICO Score based on your credit reports. As a result, the credit score Experian provides is considered an "official" score used by lenders.
This is important to know and a huge benefit if you are looking to obtain your most accurate credit score through a credit monitoring program. If you’ve ever used a free credit score site before and wondered why the score they give you is so different from what lenders actually see, it’s probably because the site uses a scoring model that imitates your real FICO Score. With Experian, your score and credit report is the real deal.
You can also file any disputes through Experian and the other two major credit bureaus if you ever do come across a discrepancy.
FICO, which stands for Fair Isacc and Company, is a leading analytics software company that created its own credit scoring model in 1956. Today, that credit scoring model is widely used around the world to generate what’s commonly known as your FICO Score.
FICO Scores range from 300 to 850 with a “good” credit score ranging from 670 to 739. The great news about monitoring your FICO Score is these scores are used in over 90% of lending decisions. Whereas, other free credit score sites may not provide you with an accurate credit score that is even remotely close to what lenders might see.
FICO scoring models update every few years but generally include payment history for loans and other borrowed credit, account balances, and mix of credit accounts (like your mortgage, car loan, student loans etc.) However, the UltraFICO score was recently rolled out which is an opt-in credit scoring model that factors information from your checking, savings, and money market accounts to help determine your credit score.
Experian Boost™ Features
Experian Boost™ is Experian’s very own credit monitoring service that helps users instantly boost their credit score by factoring in on-time bill payment when determining their FICO Score. This service is free and provides some exceptional features as well.
Experian Boost™ gets its name from its ability to help give your credit score an instant boost. Unlike other credit monitoring tools, Experian Boost™ widens the range of credit factors that can impact your score. Once you sign up for a free account, you’ll be able to add your utility and telecom bill payment history to your Experian credit file. So long as you’ve been paying your bills on time, this can help improve your score.
Experian Boost™ is secure and helps users with limited credit or no credit boost their credit score by considering payments that were once not included on a basic credit report. The best part is that you control the “boost” by giving Experian permission to see your bank accounts and utility and telecom payments.
Free FICO Score
When you use Experian Boost™, you’ll get a free FICO Score based on the FICO Score 8 model--the most common scoring model used by lenders especially with auto and bank lending. However, keep in mind that if you try to apply for new credit, there’s no guarantee your specific lender will use that scoring model when running your credit.
Your credit score could vary depending on which credit monitoring software you use and which scoring model your lender uses but it’s still a good idea to track and monitor your score with a service like Experian Boost™. You’ll get a good idea of where your credit score stands and get that extra boost by factoring in your on-time bill payments as well.
Free Credit Report and Credit Alerts
Have you ever used a free credit monitoring service that didn’t allow you to also see your credit report for free? Some free tools, like CreditSesame for example, allow you to see your credit score and receive alters but charge an extra fee to show your full credit report. Luckily, this isn’t the case with Experian Boost™.
Experian Boost™ provides a free Experian credit report so you can stay up-to-date on all your latest credit information. Seeing your score is nice, but it’s also crucial that you get to see the factors that are impacting your score so having access to your credit report will definitely come in handy. You’ll want to keep track of any new accounts or sudden changes to your credit report. It’s also not uncommon that a credit bureau may make an error and inaccurately report something. With full access to your credit report, you can notice any errors and move quickly when it comes to getting them fixed.
Related: How to Correct an Error on Your Credit Report
Plus, with Experian Boost™, you can visualize your progress over time and also receive real-time alerts when your score changes. Are you paying down a credit card with the hope that your credit score will go up? Experian Boost™ will alert you of any changes to your credit score the moment they happen.
UltraFICO helps you leverage your money management skills to increase your FICO Score. Similar to Experian Boost™, UltraFICO introduces new factors important to the credit scoring process.
Improve Your FICO Score
UltraFICO creates additional credit opportunities for people who don’t have a FICO Score or have a thin credit profile. With this credit monitoring service, you can increase your score by linking to your checking, savings, or money market account to grow your score based on healthy financial habits.
The purpose of an UltraFICO score is to show lenders that healthy financial habits and proper money management can and should be considered when determining your creditworthiness.
Your UltraFICO score is made up of:
- Length of time that your accounts have been open
- Recency and frequency of bank account transactions
- History of positive account balances
If you’re trying to borrow money it should matter to lenders that you have a positive bank account balance and can budget and pay your bills. Your UltraFICO score shares a more comprehensive view of your credit profile and luckily more lenders are opting-in to using this credit scoring model so it’s worth signing up for.
Complete Picture for Lenders
Lenders that use UltraFICO will be able to see the complete picture when it comes to assessing your creditworthiness. Other credit scoring models don’t consider the fact that you pay your bills on time and have a savings account. However, this information can be used to demonstrate the fact that you are likely to make on-time payments for a new loan since you’ve already established healthy financial habits.
Another way UltraFICO helps lenders and you is it can make the approval process easier especially if you have a thin credit profile or want to avoid getting a cosigner.
Related: Which FICO Scores Do Mortgage Lenders Use?
UltraFICO Pros and Cons
Helps consumers with scores in the upper 500s or lower 600s
Considers banking history and healthy financial habits for creditworthiness
70% of people with at least $400+ in their savings and no overdrafts for a three-span saw an improvement in their score
Doesn’t help prevent identity theft
No credit monitoring aspect unless you sign up for MyFICO
Not available through lenders who use Equifax and Transunion scores
Experian Boost™ Pros and Cons
Free to use
Potential score improvement instantly by connecting your utility and telecom bill accounts
Improve your credit by just paying utility bills on time
Great for consumers with poor or limited credit but pay bills on-time
Doesn’t guarantee score improvement
Only available through lenders who use Experian scores
Boost doesn’t contribute to all FICO® Scores, only FICO 8
Why Choose Experian Boost™?
You should choose Experian Boost™ if you’re looking to boost your credit score fast and monitor your credit report consistently. The fact that Experian provides a free FICO Score along with a free credit report and credit alerts is also a much-needed perk.
Why Choose UltraFICO?
You may want to choose UltraFICO if have a thin credit profile but good money management habits. Another reason to choose this option would be if a lender uses it directly. If you’re applying for credit and a lender mentions they use UltraFICO scores, it could be in your best interest to give it a try. With UltraFICO, you will need to opt-in to receive your UltraFICO score and this can be requested through their website. UltraFICO is also still in its pilot stage and only available to a limited number of people.
Which is a Better Choice?
At its core, UltraFICO is a credit scoring model which has the potential to change the entire credit reporting industry. With FICO being a major credit score provider and often setting the standard for lenders, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that many more lenders will be using this scoring model in the near future. While UltraFICO is a great idea, there’s no telling how many lenders are actually using it along with how many consumers have opted in or what that will look like in the future.
On the other end, Experian Boost™ currently uses the widely popular FICO 8 scoring model. Experian Boost™ also does a better job of allowing you to closely monitor your credit score. With either option, FICO Scores are used by over 90% of lenders, but you may be better off starting with Experian Boost™ until UltraFICO becomes more popular and widely accepted.
Right now, Experian Boost™ seems more promising since you can actually sign up for the program and opt in to get your credit score boost.
Learn More: Best Apps to Boost Your Credit Score
If you want your credit score to include positive payment history for household bills and consider some of your other healthy financial habits, Experian Boost™ and UltraFICO are just the tools you’ve been looking for. Both options are geared toward consumers with limited or less than perfect credit.
Experian Boost™ does a much better job at providing credit monitoring services for free as well as credit updates. With UltraFICO, you may need to sign up for another credit monitoring service like myFICO to see your full credit profile.
Learn More: Credit Karma vs. Experian