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The rules for achieving a decent credit score haven’t changed much since credit scoring was invented: Pay all your bills on time, don’t use too much of your available credit and build a long history of responsible behavior.
But credit novices and those looking to rebuild after missteps now have two new tools they can use: Experian Boost and UltraFICO. Both reward good financial habits that go unrecognized by current credit scoring models.
Credit bureau Experian and analytics company FICO, most commonly known for the FICO credit score, say they created Boost and UltraFICO to help people starting out with credit or those who want to build it anew. They are likeliest to help those with in the 500s and 600s, the companies say.
launched in March 2019 and is available to consumers on Experian’s website. is an opt-in service that consumers may use so that savings and checking account balances and payments can be used to help evaluate financial habits.
Both products have quirks you need to understand. Here’s the lowdown on Boost and UltraFICO and how to decide whether to use them:
This free service lets you add points to your existing credit score. Here’s how:
What to know:
This new type of FICO score is free to use, but you must opt in. It works in two steps:
What to know: Unlike with Boost, you cannot check your UltraFICO score to see the effect. The only time you may see it is if you are turned down after the lender’s second look; it will send you a notice in the mail explaining why, says David Shellenberger, vice president of scores and predictive analytics at FICO. As with Boost, you can opt out at any time.
If you know you manage money responsibly and your score doesn’t reflect that, Boost and UltraFICO may be worth exploring. However, you need to be comfortable .
Experian says nearly two-thirds of consumers who’ve signed up since Boost’s launch added points to their score, with an average jump of more than 13 points. Some users have reported trouble connecting their accounts, specifically those with USAA Bank, an issue Wright says Experian is trying to fix.
Right now both Boost and UltraFICO only work with credit scores based on data in your Experian report.
Using traditional methods to , while slower to show results, is more likely to help all versions of your credit score: