What is Experian?
Experian is a multinational consumer credit reporting agency founded in 1996. It’s one of the three major credit reporting bureaus in the United States, alongside TransUnion and Equifax. Experian’s headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland.
Experian provides products and services to over one billion consumers and businesses worldwide. Today, we will be reviewing Experian CreditWorks, a comprehensive credit service provided by Experian with free and paid options.
How does Experian CreditWorks work?
Experian CreditWorks is a credit reporting service with rich benefits and features. There are two different CreditWorks products—CreditWorks Basic and CreditWorks Premium. CreditWorks Basic is completely free, and there is no credit card required to use the service. CreditWorks Premium is a paid service that starts offers comprehensive credit and identity protection solutions.
On top of Experian’s subscription plans, you can also choose to buy one-time credit reports and scores for one-time fees.
In this Experian CreditWorks review, we will be going over the features and benefits of both the Basic and Premium plans. We’ll also review the one-time plans and discuss when these may be useful to you. By the end of this review, you’ll be able to decide which plan is right for your needs.
Experian CreditWorks Basic features
The Basic plan offers minimal benefits compared to the Premium plan. However, if you only have basic requirements, then this plan may appeal to you. Let’s go over all the features and benefits of the CreditWorks Basic plan.
Free FICO Score
With an Experian CreditWorks Basic account, you’ll have access to your Experian FICO credit score for free. Track your credit score with an interactive FICO Score tracker and receive customized alerts when your score changes.
You’ll also be able to see what credit factors are affecting your credit score the most using Experian’s built-in features. Check specific score factors such as your payment history, credit history length, amount of debt, credit mix, and more. Experian’s free tools will show you exactly what is affecting your score and what you can do to improve it.
In addition, Experian will match you with personalized credit card and loan offers based on your credit information with CreditMatch. If you are looking for a new credit card, simply log into your CreditWork’s account and head to CreditMatch to view your unique offers.
Free Experian credit report
In addition to your FICO credit score, you’ll also have access to a free credit report from Experian. Your credit report contains important information about your overall credit situation that lenders use to make lending decisions.
Checking your credit report regularly can help you stay on top of your credit and even detect early signs of identity theft. The free credit report from Experian is updated every 30 days. If you spot errors or inaccuracies on your credit report, you can open disputes online from the Experian Disupite Center for free.
Free credit report monitoring (only one credit bureau)
Experian CreditWorks Basic gives you free credit monitoring for your Experian credit report (the premium plan gives you monitoring for all three of your reports). You’ll get 24/7 credit monitoring to keep you informed of any changes as well as customized alerts about new inquiries, changes in personal information, and suspicious activity.
You can easily submit and track credit report disputes online from your Experian account using the mobile app or website.
Credit monitoring is 100% free and will start once you create your free CreditWorks Basic account.
Free Experian Boost
Experian Boost is a popular service that can boost your FICO score instantly. It works by searching your bank account for on-time utility payments, subscriptions, and phone bills. It then automatically adds these on-time payments to your credit history.
As a result, your payment history increases, which improves your overall score. To get started, you’ll first need to create your free Experian account. Then, simply log in and navigate to the Boost page.
From there, you’ll be required to connect your primary bank account or the bank account you use to pay your bills. Experian will scan your data for utility bills, phone bills, and even subscription bills such as Netflix. When it finds these, it will apply them to your credit report.
If you are concerned about giving Experian access to your bank account, don’t be. Experian uses 256-bit SSL encryption and only has limited read-only access.
Other free Experian services worth mentioning
These next few features are technically not apart of your CreditWorks Basic plan. However, you can still take advantage of them, especially since they are free.
Free dark web scan
The dark web is a place where criminals can evade authorities to exchange illegal goods and services. If your personal information was exposed in a data breach or through malware on your computer, your info could be for sale on the dark web.
Part of the free identity theft protection you’ll receive with a CreditWorks Basic plan includes a free one-time dark web scan. Experian will perform a free triple dark web scan for your Social Security Number, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Your personal information will be scanned in over 600,000 web pages and millions of data points. If Experian finds something, you’ll be notified immediately and can take action.
Free child identity scan
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, 1.3 million kids have their identity stolen annually, with over half of them being under 6-years-old. Identity thieves value your children’s identity because they can open new credit and have it go undetected for years.
Experian offers a free one-time scan for your child. The one-time scan can be used on one child. Experian will use your child’s Social Security Number to search for an Experian credit file. If one is found, it could potentially mean fraud.
Experian CreditWorks Premium features
In addition to all the free features you get with CreditWorks Basic, Experian CreditWorks Premium comes packed with dozens of more rich features and benefits. Let’s go over them now to see if it’s worth the price.
FICO Score from all three credit bureaus
Unlike CreditWorks Basic, which only shows your Experian FICO Score, CreditWorks Premium gives you access to your FICO Scores from all three credit bureaus. Your TransUnion and Equifax scores are updated every month, and your Experian FICO Score is updated daily.
With CreditWorks Premium, you’ll also gain access to all the credit factor details that calculate your scores, such as your credit utilization, positive activity, dormant accounts, and more.
In addition to these features, CreditWorks Premium has all the features contained in the Basic plan.
Additional FICO Scores
Did you know that you have over 28 FICO credit scores? Although there are scores that lenders use most often, such as the FICO Score 8, there are 28 others that exist. Many of these scores are industry-specific, and lenders only use them in certain circumstances.
For example, if you apply for an auto loan, you’ll likely have one of your FICO auto score’s pulled. Are you getting a mortgage? Lenders may use your FICO Score 2, FICO Score 4, or FICO Score 5.
Having access to all of your scores can put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to taking certain financial steps.
In addition to having all your FICO Scores at your fingertips, you’ll also be able to track your score using the Score Tracking tool. With the FICO Score tracker, you can visualize your score in real-time and track your progress. This feature can be handy if you are trying to build your score and want to be motivated by your progress.
Credit reports from all three credit bureaus
While CreditWorks Basic only gives you access to your Experian credit report, CreditWorks Premium will provide you with credit reports from all three credit bureaus.
Why is having access to all three reports necessary? Often, information from one report can be different from that of another report. These discrepancies can get in the way when you are applying for a loan or getting or a new credit card. Being able to point out inconsistent information early can help you correct any errors before they become a problem.
All three credit reports are updated every month. Check your reports monthly so you can stay on top of them.
FICO Score simulator
The FICO Score simulator takes all the guesswork out of making smart credit decisions. With the FICO Score simulator, you can simulate what would happen if you took specific credit actions.
For example, what would happen to your credit score if you close your oldest credit card account? How much would your score decrease if you shopped for mortgages and opened a new credit card at the same time?
You no longer have to pull the rug from under your credit score. Being able to see a simulated event of what would happen to your credit score helps you to make more informed and guided decisions.
Experian CreditLock is a unique feature that gives you the ability to control who has access to your Experian credit files. From the Experian app or website, you can lock or unlock your credit file, keeping identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
Experian CreditLock gives you an extra layer of protection from identity thieves and other online hackers trying to steal your information. Experian CreditLock does not cost anything extra and comes standard with your CreditWorks Premium subscription.
Identity theft monitoring & protection
In 2019, victims of identity theft and fraud lost nearly $667 million. Your CreditWorks Premium account comes with identity theft monitoring and protection. Having identity protection could save you thousands of dollars and years of headaches if you became a victim of identity theft.
You’ll receive the following identity theft monitoring and protection:
- Dark web surveillance
- Identity theft insurance up to $1,000,000
- Access to a U.S.-based fraud resolution specialist
- Lost wallet assistance
- Social Security Number monitoring
- Address change verification
- Financial account activity
- Identity validation alerts
- Payday loan monitoring
- Court records monitoring
- Sex offender registry
- File-sharing network monitoring
- Social network monitoring
Experian one-time credit reports and scores
If you don’t need a monthly Experian subscription, you can always pay for one-time credit reports and scores. You can purchase one of two one-time products from Experian. Let’s very briefly go over both.
Experian credit report and FICO Score — $19.99
The first one-time product you can purchase is the Experian credit report and FICO Score for $19.99. This product will give you access to your latest credit reports and FICO Score from Experian.
In addition to the Experian score and report, you’ll also have access to open credit report disputes online for free. You’ll only have limited access to your credit report and score before you have to buy another.
3-bureau credit report and FICO Score — $39.99
The 3-bureau credit report and FICO Score is an extensive product that contains your credit report and FICO Score from all three bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $39.99 for this product.
On top of your scores and reports, you’ll also be able to open credit report disputes online for free. You’ll only have limited access to all three of your credit reports and scores before you have to buy another $39.99 package.
Experian CreditWorks pricing
Aside from the one-time credit report and score products that we just went over, Experian only has two pricing options:
- Experian CreditWorks Basic — Free
- Experian CreditWorks Premium — $4.99 the first month then $24.99/mo
The Experian CreditWorks Basic is 100% free. You do not have to enter your credit card or give Experian anything to access their free suite of tools.
On the other hand, Experian CreditWorks Premium has two pricing models. You can choose to pay monthly, which will cost you $4.99 for the first month and then $24.99 per month after. You can also choose to pay annually and save 17%, or $49.89, on your subscription.
Annual members will pay $249.99 per year to access Experian’s most comprehensive credit and identity protection solution.
Experian CreditWorks alternatives
The bottom line
Experian CreditWorks is a top player in the free credit score market and easily competes with other apps like Credit Karma. If you only need one credit score and report, the free plan provides you with a free FICO credit score from Experian and an Experian credit report. However, if you want more benefits and tools, the premium plan is definitely worth exploring.