We can’t let Valentine’s Day slip by without mentioning what is arguably one of the most long-lasting relationships in financial history: America and credit.
Even after all these years, the two just can’t get enough of each other.
It’s true – the relationship hasn’t always been smooth – ‘toxic’ may be the right word here.
But counseling can do wonders. And with its new tool Experian Go, Experian may be able to change the narrative surrounding credit scores and credit reports.
In a nutshell, Experian Go is a program available on Experian's app that allows people who are otherwise considered credit invisible to establish a credit profile.
Users plug in some personal information into the app, including a government issued ID – like a drivers license or a passport – and a selfie to confirm that it’s them.
What the program does is establish a credit profile for the credit invisible without them having to go into debt to get it. “It's a credit profile that doesn't have history,” said Jeff Softley, president of direct to consumer.
After the user signs up, the program offers suggestions and guidance on how to build a positive credit score.
According to Softley, the idea for Experian Go came about as a way to build on the already existing Experian Boost.
Experian Boost, which was launched a few years ago, let’s consumers share timely payments which otherwise wouldn’t have counted towards their credit scores – like utility and streaming services. Boost has so far increased the aggregate FICO scores by 70 million points, according to the company. Over 10 million people use it today.
Using both tools in conjunction, consumers are able to establish a credit history pretty quickly – one that’s a bit more flattering to lenders.
“About 90% of consumers who share information through the Experian Boost platform after creating their Experian Go profile are getting a FICO score instantly,” said Softley. “And it's their first FICO score. And the average credit score is about 665, which is a really good place to start.”
The main appeal of Experian Go, according to Softley, is that it makes the world of credit feel more accessible to the consumers, so that when they apply for a financial product they don’t feel so in the dark regarding what they qualify for.
“They know that they're visible, and that they have a good credit score,” he said. “And we think that that gives them a lot of confidence, and is very empowering.”
Since its launch a few weeks ago, Experian Go has had 20,000 consumer sign ups.
As for what’s next, Experian has plans for more products like these. One example that’s recently taken off is a tool that allows the user to purchase insurance in a simpler way.
“It allows you to use your current insurance carrier policy to shop for new coverage that's as good as what you have but cheaper,” said Softley. “So I think we'll continue to look for that intersection between technology and our unique role in consumer empowerment.