Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.
Having a credit history is necessary to make some of life’s biggest moves, 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 reaching 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 lacking a credit history, who are sometimes referred to as “credit invisible.”
The good news is 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 just minutes.
Once you download the Experian Credit Report mobile app, you’ll be asked to enter some personal details (first/last name, phone number, current address, date of birth and last four digits of Social Security) to enroll in a free Experian membership. Experian will then ask a few questions about any lines of credit already in your name, like a former car loan or student loan. As it generates a credit report based on your information, Experian will offer personalized recommendations about how you can add to your credit report and ultimately build a credit score that lenders are able to use to approve you for important financial products.
Subscribe to the Select Newsletter!
Our best selections in your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help upgrade your life, delivered weekly. Sign-up here.
So you can be on your way to establishing and building credit, the Experian Go tool will provide suggestions like becoming an authorized user on 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 suggest.)
Experian will also introduce you to Experian Boost™, a free feature that lets you add your on-time cell phone, internet, cable, utility (gas, electricity, water) and streaming payments like Netflix®, HBO™, Hulu™ and Disney+™ to your Experian credit report. Once you connect 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 adding them to your credit report and you may then automatically see a boost in your credit score.
Experian Boost is great for those lacking a credit history because it allows the bill payments you’ve already been paying to count toward your credit profile. According to Experian, early analysis shows 91% of consumers with no credit history who connect to Experian Boost can become scoreable in minutes with an average starting near-prime FICO® Score of 665.
On Experian’s secure site
Average credit score increase
10+ points, though results vary
Credit report affected
Credit scoring model used
Part of your Experian membership also includes access to articles about bettering your credit, as well as credit monitoring tools and more.
How to check your credit score for free
Users of Experian Go will have 24/7 access to their credit score, specifically the FICO Score 8 model. FICO has over a dozen credit score versions, but FICO Score 8 is the most widely used version by lenders and is typically the best one to check to get an overall idea of where you stand.
You don’t have to be an Experian member to get free access to your credit score, however. Many banks and credit card issuers offer cardholders their credit score, but they vary. Some issuers, such as Citi and Discover, provide free FICO Scores, while others, such as Chase and Capital One, provide your free VantageScore®. FICO and VantageScore will pull your credit score from one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion.
There are also free credit score resources that anyone can access, regardless of being a credit cardholder. In addition to Experian Boost, there is the following:
These resources also provide insight into the key factors affecting your credit score, simulators on how certain actions may affect your credit and helpful tips for improving your credit score. And if you want more credit score intel, 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.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.