Your credit score can impact just about every aspect of your life, from getting a cellphone to buying a car. So if you don’t have a credit history, your options may be limited.
“It can mean that you can’t access low-cost credit,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy for Experian. “You may not be able to get the best rates or terms on things like leasing an apartment or buying a car or getting a credit card.”
Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, is now offering Experian Go.
“Experian Go is a tool that’s specifically for helping people who are credit invisible become visible,” he said.
Visible, he said, by creating a credit file you can then build on.
“All you have to do is download Experian’s free app and enroll,” he said.
He said the enrollment process is simple – you’ll have to provide some basic information including your social security number, along with a picture of a government-issued ID and a selfie.
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“We’ll need to get some identifying information,” Griffin said. “We’ll need to know who you are.”
After that, you’ll have a credit file with Experian and you’ll likely be able to add up to two years’ worth of payment histories for things like utility bills or streaming subscriptions using Experian Boost.
“What we’re finding is in our analysis, about 91% of people are able to add Experian Boost and the average credit score when they do is about 665,” Griffin said.
“This is actually a great thing for people who maybe have been off the credit grid but you’ve been paying your cell phone on time, you’ve been paying your streaming services, utilities,” said Ted Rossman of Bankrate.com. “You can quite literally get credit for things you have been doing that just haven’t counted toward the traditional credit score.”
Rossman said there are also other programs that can help you add your rent payment history to your credit files, though most charge a fee. He said this is all part of an overall push to expand access.
“There’s a big market here for getting more people into the credit system because there is increasing acknowledgment that the way we’ve always been doing things has left a lot of people behind,” Rossman said.