Need to boost your credit score? These 4 programs can help (for free) (2024)

While it may be just three digits long, your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your day-to-day life.

This number—which is calculated by things like your payment history, how long you’ve had credit, and what sort of accounts you manage—can dictate which financial products are available to you, how much you’ll pay in interest when borrowing money, and can even influence the premiums on your auto insurance policy.

Establishing and growing your credit score requires both dedication and time. However, there are some tools and programs you can use to both quickly establish and boost your credit score for free, especially if you’re struggling to get approved for credit-based accounts in the first place.

Programs that help you boost your credit score for free

Building a good credit score can take years of dedication and effort, and it usually involves managing your loans, credit cards, and other consumer accounts responsibly.

But what if you don’t have the credit necessary to access those accounts in the first place?

“Historically, access to credit has been challenging or impossible to get for consumers with a thin credit file or those with no credit history,” says Roy Ng, CEO of the fintech platform, Bond. "Many underserved customers are unaware of options that are available to them besides a simple debit card. They do not realize there are ways to safely build credit when you do not have credit in the first place.”

Here are four such options designed for consumers without credit—or those with a low credit score—which can help boost your credit rating at no cost to you.

1. Experian Boost

Experian Boost is a credit-monitoring and boosting platform offered by Experian, one of the three credit reporting agencies. This free program enables you to not only track your credit activity with regular reports and alerts, but also raise your score and build a credit history with the monthly bills you’re paying anyway. Using Experian Boost, the average user sees a credit score increase of 13 points.

With Experian Boost, you can opt in and include a variety of payment histories, such as your utility bills, rent payments, cell phone bill and even streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. As you pay these accounts on-time each month, they will be added to your Experian credit report; since payment history accounts for about 35% of your FICO credit score, those small bills can add up to a big boost.

Experian Boost is free to use, and makes it easy to connect accounts. All you have to do is sign up and link the credit card or bank account from which you pay your bills. Experian Boost will automatically search for bills that have at least three on-time payments in the last six months, then add those to your credit file.

2. TurboTenant Rent Reporting

If you own your home, your mortgage lender is already reporting your monthly payments to one or more of the credit bureaus. If you rent, however, you’ll miss out on this beneficial credit score-boosting opportunity unless you sign up for a program like Rent Reporting by TurboTenant.

With TurboTenant, your on-time rent payments are automatically reported to TransUnion each month, at no additional cost to you. This allows you to build your payment history with one of your biggest monthly expenditures, without taking on any additional debt.

In order to use TurboTenant’s free service, your landlord will also need to sign up for a free account online. They can then opt into Rent Reporting; this allows them to either receive online rent payments through the platform, or simply record payments received directly.

Each month when your landlord reports an on-time payment received, the record will be added to your TransUnion credit report. If you ever need to turn off Rent Reporting, you can do so with a simple click online.

3. UltraFICO

Your FICO score, provided by the Fair Isaac Corporation, is the most widely-used and trusted credit scoring model available today. FICO, in a partnership with Experian, has recently introduced another optional credit model, called UltraFICO.

UltraFICO is a free, opt-in alternative credit-scoring model that uses different aspects of your daily financial life to generate a score, compared with the standard FICO. With UltraFICO, you will link up your checking, savings, and/or money market accounts. Your score is then determined by things like:

  • Your history of positive account balances

  • How long your accounts have been open

  • How often you conduct bank transactions (and how recently they occurred)

  • Whether or not you have cash on-hand

Your UltraFICO score doesn’t affect your standard FICO score, nor will it replace your FICO. Once you’ve opted in, however, potential lenders and creditors can access this new score and use the result to better determine your creditworthiness.

4. Grow Credit

Grow Credit is another program that uses select monthly bills to boost your credit score. The way they accomplish this is a bit unique, however.

With Grow Credit, you’re given a dedicated interest-free, secured Mastercard. Depending on which plan you choose, you’ll have a maximum monthly spending limit on that card. With the free plan, your spending limit is $17 per month.

Once you receive your card, you can link your existing subscription services on the Grow Credit platform; Grow Credit supports more than 100 subscription services including your Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora accounts, among others.

You’ll then use the Grow Credit Mastercard to automatically pay for those subscription services each month. Your on-time payments will then be reported to each of the three bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), helping establish a payment history and grow your score.

The takeaway

Before you can begin boosting your credit score, it’s important to first recognize where you’re starting your journey. “If you don’t know what is being reported about you on your credit, you can’t begin to fix any issues,” suggests Jeanne Kelly, founder of The Kelly Group and personal credit coach. “It doesn’t hurt your credit to pull your reports regularly from and even track activity with a credit monitoring program.”

Once you know where your credit score stands and have a goal in mind, using one of these free credit-boosting programs can help you establish a credit history, increase your score, and bump you closer to great credit without ever taking on additional debt.

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Need to boost your credit score? These 4 programs can help (for free) (2024)


Need to boost your credit score? These 4 programs can help (for free)? ›

It binds the information collected into 4 broad categories namely Character; Capacity; Capital and Conditions.

What are 4 ways to build your credit score? ›

There is no secret formula to building a strong credit score, but there are some guidelines that can help.
  • Pay your loans on time, every time. ...
  • Don't get close to your credit limit. ...
  • A long credit history will help your score. ...
  • Only apply for credit that you need. ...
  • Fact-check your credit reports.
Sep 1, 2020

How to boost your credit score for free? ›

But in general you can begin to improve your credit score by:
  1. Paying all of your bills on time: ...
  2. Catching up on past-due accounts: ...
  3. Paying down your current accounts: ...
  4. Limiting how often you apply for new credit: ...
  5. Adding bills you're already paying:

What are the 4 main ways that they suggest to improve your FICO score? ›

6 easy tips to help raise your credit score
  • Make your payments on time. ...
  • Set up autopay or calendar reminders. ...
  • Don't open too many accounts at once. ...
  • Get credit for paying monthly utility and cell phone bills on time. ...
  • Request a credit report and dispute any credit report errors. ...
  • Pay attention to your credit utilization rate.

How can I improve my credit score with 4 points? ›

4 tips to boost your credit score fast
  1. Pay down your revolving credit balances. If you have the funds to pay more than your minimum payment each month, you should do so. ...
  2. Increase your credit limit. ...
  3. Check your credit report for errors. ...
  4. Ask to have negative entries that are paid off removed from your credit report.

How to increase credit score by 100 points in 30 days? ›

Steps you can take to raise your credit score quickly include:
  1. Lower your credit utilization rate.
  2. Ask for late payment forgiveness.
  3. Dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports.
  4. Add utility and phone payments to your credit report.
  5. Check and understand your credit score.
  6. The bottom line about building credit fast.

What are the 4 C's of credit score? ›

It binds the information collected into 4 broad categories namely Character; Capacity; Capital and Conditions.

What is the no 1 way to raise your credit score? ›

In just a few hours, you can set due-date alerts for bills, so you know when a bill is coming up. Paying your bills on time Is one of the most important steps in improving your credit score. Pay down your credit card balances to keep your overall credit use low.

What are 3 sources to get your credit score for free? ›

How to get a copy of your credit report. By law, you can get a free credit report each year from the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs). These agencies include Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

How can I raise my credit score in 24 hours? ›

Credit Law Center explains three things to do to improve a credit score in the next 24 hours. First, add a new account or become an authorized user. Second, is to pay down your credit cards or balances. Third, pay for deletion.

What are the 5 factors that help you build credit score? ›

Credit 101: What Are the 5 Factors That Affect Your Credit Score?
  • Your payment history (35 percent) ...
  • Amounts owed (30 percent) ...
  • Length of your credit history (15 percent) ...
  • Your credit mix (10 percent) ...
  • Any new credit (10 percent)

What 4 things is a FICO score based on? ›

What's in my FICO® Scores? FICO Scores are calculated using many different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).

What are the four main ways to view your credit score? ›

How to check your credit scores
  • Use a credit score service or scoring site. ...
  • Request your scores from the three major credit bureaus. ...
  • Check with your bank. ...
  • Check with your credit card issuer. ...
  • Go through a credit counselor.
Mar 10, 2024

Can pay in 4 improve credit score? ›

So, does PayPal Pay in 4 build credit? No, the PayPal Pay in 4 program won't help you build your credit. When you apply to use Pay in 4, PayPal does a soft credit check to determine whether to loan to you, although the company doesn't have a stated minimum credit score to qualify.

Is Kikoff worth it? ›

Kikoff is ideal if you're looking to start your credit journey or rebuild a damaged score. The fact that it doesn't charge interest and it reports to all three major credit bureaus is a huge win. Also, its online store can be a good way to learn more about personal finance and other topics.

How can my credit score be a 4? ›

A tier 4 credit score is generally considered lower-tier credit. Those who have fallen victim to predatory funding options, like easy payday loans, or those who have suffered other financial hardships may find themselves with tier 4 credit.

What are the 4 main sections of credit score? ›

These four categories are: identifying information, credit accounts, credit inquiries and public records.

What builds your credit score the most? ›

Pay on time.

One of the best things you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your debts on time and in full whenever possible. Payment history makes up a significant chunk of your credit score, so it's important to avoid late payments.

What are the five 5 components that make up your credit score? ›

What's in my FICO® Scores? FICO Scores are calculated using many different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).

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