How They Are Similar
Both of these programs are offered by credit bureaus with the aim of helping borrowers boost their credit scores as fast as possible.
- Experian Boost helps you to improve your credit score by including information in the score calculation that is not usually used. Added items include utility bills and mobile phone accounts - since you pay these bills every month, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t count toward your credit score.
- UltraFICO lets you designate a bank account to be included in your credit history. The transactions that take place in this account will count toward your credit score. You’ll also get extra points for having positive balances and no bounced checks or payments.
Both services are free of charge and easy to apply for from Experian and FICO respectively.
How They Are Different
UltraFICO and Experian Boost look quite similar at first glance - but they work quite differently.
- Experian Boost uses the same credit score calculation as a regular Experian score - it just allows you to include additional data in the calculation. Instead of only using your credit accounts this feature allows you to add your utility bills and phone bills to the mix. This could improve your payment history.
- UltraFICO doesn’t just include extra information in your credit score calculation - it’s a totally different scoring system. Adding your bank account to your credit record means you’ll be sharing a lot of data about recurring payments with FICO. That could boost your score by proving that you pay your bills on time.
Pros And Cons
- Free service with no hidden fees
- Allows you to specify what specific utility bills will be added to your credit record
- Doesn’t require you to share highly confidential information like your bank balance
- May not be as effective for borrowers who don’t have utility and phone bills in their name
- Thin file borrowers may not benefit as much given shorter payment histories for utility bills
- Also free of charge
- Allows borrowers without a long credit history - but with an established banking record - to receive a credit score
- Counts various aspects of financial conduct (like bank balances) toward credit scores and not only credit account payments
- Requires sharing confidential banking information with a third party
- May not be effective for customers who have large overdrafts or bounced payments
How Do I Decide Which One I Need?
The choice between UltraFICO and Experian Boost comes down to several factors: the length of your credit history, how you manage your bank account, and how many utility bills are in your name.
- If you have a credit history shorter than 6 months you won’t be able to use Experian Boost. Your utility and phone bills will need to have been launched more than 6 months ago in order to qualify.
- UltraFICO may be ideal for newer borrowers without a lengthy track record - but your bank account will need to contain positive financial information about you. If you have low balances and very few recurring payments, there won’t be much data for FICO to judge you on - and your score may not improve.
Overall, you’ll want to ask yourself: do my utility bills or bank account give a better impression of me as a borrower? Your answer should help you choose between the offerings from Experian and FICO.
Experian Boost and UltraFICO are two innovative add-ons that can help you increase your credit score quickly using data that’s not usually considered by credit bureaus.
UltraFICO is better suited to new credit customers with a banking history and a few recurring payments on their accounts.
Experian Boost allows utility and phone bills to be added to your credit history and is well suited for borrowers who wish to rebuild their credit.