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Having a credit history is necessary to take some of life’s biggest steps, such as renting an apartment, applying for your first mortgage, taking out a car loan, or even applying for a new job. Yet there are many Americans who miss out on these milestone moments because they lack credit.
According to Experian research, nearly 50 million consumers have a nonexistent or limited credit history. If you’re in this boat, you may already be familiar with the term reserved for those with no credit history, which is sometimes referred to as “invisible credit.”
The good news is that things are changing for this segment of consumers. With the recent launch of Experian Go™, a free tool offered by the credit bureau, you can create a credit report and get a credit score in minutes.
After you download the Experian Credit Report mobile app, you will be asked to enter some personal information (first/last name, phone number, current address, date of birth, and last four digits of Social Security) to register for a free Experian membership. Experian will then ask you some questions about any lines of credit already in your name, such as a former car loan or student loan. Because it generates a credit report based on your information, Experian will provide personalized recommendations on how to supplement your credit report and ultimately build a credit score that lenders can use to approve you for major financial products.
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Experian Go’s personalized recommendations to help you build credit
So you can be on your way to acquiring and building credit, the The Experian Go tool offers suggestions like becoming an authorized user of a family member’s credit card or applying for a new credit card for beginners – it recommends certain cards based on your credit profile. (Experian may have partnerships with the products they propose.)
Experian will also introduce you to Experian Boost™, a free feature that allows you to add your cell phone, internet, cable, utilities (gas, electricity, water) and streaming payments like Netflix®, HBO™, Hulu™ and Disney+ on time . ™ to your Experian credit report. Once you link your bank account to Experian Boost, it will run through your statements to identify these recurring bill payments. It will then ask you to approve to add them to your credit report and you may then automatically see an increase in your credit score.
Experian Boost is great for those with no credit history because it ensures that the bill payments you’ve already paid count towards your credit profile. According to Experian, early analysis shows that 91% of consumers with no credit history who connect to Experian Boost can score in minutes with an average starting near-prime FICO® Score of 665.
On Experian .’s secure site
Average Credit Score Increase
10+ points, although results vary
Credit Report Affected
Credit scoring model used
Part of your Experian membership also includes access to articles on improving your credit, as well as credit monitoring tools and more.
How to check your credit score for free
Experian Go users can access their credit score 24/7, especially the FICO Score 8 model. FICO has more than a dozen credit score versions, but FICO Score 8 is the most widely used version by lenders and is usually the best to check to get a general idea of where you stand.
However, you do not need to be an Experian member to access your credit score for free. Many banks and credit card issuers offer cardholders their credit score, but they vary. Some publishers, such as Citi and Discover, offer free FICO scores, while others, such as Chase and Capital One, offer your free VantageScore®. FICO and VantageScore retrieve your credit score from one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.
There are also free credit score resources that: everybody access regardless of whether you are a credit card holder. In addition to Experian Boost, there is the following:
These resources also provide insights into the key factors that affect your credit score, simulators on how certain actions can affect your credit, and helpful tips for improving your credit score. And if you want more information about credit scores, don’t forget to check out Select’s ultimate beginner’s guide to credit scores so you can better understand and improve yours starting today.
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Editor’s Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations in this article are those of the Select editors only, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.