Experian CreditWorks Personal Review
As one of the Big Three when it comes to credit reporting, you should be familiar with Experian. Its report of your credit history and FICO score are what lenders and creditors review before you can get a mortgage, a credit card, or an auto loan.
But more than reporting your credit, this powerhouse has turned its services back to the consumer: You. Not only can you access your credit report and score to watch for errors and know what potential lenders know, but you can monitor your credit daily with Experian CreditWorks.
In this review, I’ll run you through how the platform works, key features, pros, and cons, and explain how Experian stacks up against competitors.
- What is Experian CreditWorks?
- Experian CreditWorks Features
- Experian CreditWorks Costs
- Signing up for Experian
- How I’ve used Experian CreditWorks to improve my credit
- Experian CreditWorks Pros and Cons
- How Experian CreditWorks Stacks Up Against the Competition
- Bottom line
What is Experian CreditWorks?
Experian is one of the three major crediting bureaus in the United States. Experian analyzes your debt and credit accounts, on-time payments, and credit history to calculate a three-digit credit score. A basic Experian account is free and provides an online platform for you to access your credit score and report.
In addition to credit scores, Experian also offers personal finance tools and calculators, fraud and identity protection services, credit card and loan recommendations, and auto insurance quotes.
Experian will show your FICO score — one of the two main credit reporting models — but does not offer your VantageScore.
Experian CreditWorks Features
The main appeal of using the Experian online platform or app is to view your FICO credit score. Experian not only shows your credit score but also ranks your score (Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent) and lets you know how many points you are away from the next highest ranking. Your score can be viewed at any time with the free Experian account and is updated regularly throughout the month.
Experian CreditWorks also provides access to your credit file, which by law you can obtain for free from each crediting bureau – Equifax and TransUnion are the others – once a year. This report will provide an in-depth history of your credit accounts and allow you to review all information associated with your credit history to verify it's correct.
Experian also shows you a rundown of all of your open credit accounts, which offers you a glance at your current debt. It provides a breakdown of open accounts, self-reported accounts, late accounts, closed accounts, and collections. It also shows your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and debt summaries by credit type.
Personal finance tools
Experian is just starting to build out a variety of personal finance tools. It offers a Savings Center that shows you ways to save money with balance transfers or more affordable insurance and allows you to view all of the perks your current credit cards offer. Experian recently rolled out a Bill Negotiation service that offers free bill negotiation to help lower the costs of utilities like cell phones, internet, and cable services. Another new beta service Experian is offering is a personal finance budgeting tool.
Dark web surveillance, identity monitoring, and fraud protection
Experian CreditWorks also alerts you if your data is picked up during a breach or if they find out your information is available on the dark web. It will also offer details on any suspicious activity of your accounts. By upgrading to the paid Experian CreditWorks membership, you’ll receive even more in-depth data regarding your personal information.
Credit card and loan recommendations
You’ll also receive personalized credit card and loan recommendations based on your credit score, history, and spending habits. Experian makes it easy to search for cards that best suit your needs by sorting them into categories such as no annual fee, rewards, cashback, balance transfer, and no interest rates.
Auto insurance quotes
CreditWorks can also help you find out if you’re able to save money by switching to a new auto insurance provider. As your credit score improves, your chances of securing less expensive auto insurance also go up. You can gain access to quotes right through the Experian platform.
This free tool allows you to boost your FICO score by adding utility payments to your credit history. This includes water, electricity, phone, and internet bills. If you have great on-time payments for utilities, it’s an easy way to give your score a small boost.
Experian CreditWorks Costs
Experian has two tiers of CreditWorks accounts — a free service and a paid membership. Here’s what you get with both.
|Feature||CreditWorks Basic||CreditWorks Premium|
|Price||Free||$24.99 per month (7-day free trial)|
|Credit monitoring and credit score services (updated monthly)||Experian data||Experian, Transunion, and Equifax data|
|Daily credit scores||No||Experian|
|Credit inquiry monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Account balance change monitoring||No||Yes|
|FICO Score Simulator||No||Yes|
|Access to personal finance, credit card, loan, and auto insurance options||Yes||Yes|
If you don’t need access to all three credit bureaus’ data, then the free version offers everything you should need to keep an eye on your credit score. However, if you’re looking for all three reporting agencies’ FICO scores, I recommend searching around for more affordable options, since $24.99 a month is pretty steep.
Experian also offers two tiers of paid services for identity protection: Experian IdentityWorks Plus and IdentityWorks Premium. Here’s the difference between the two:
|Feature||IdentityWorks Plus||IdentityWorks Premium|
|Identity Theft Insurance||Protection up to $500k||Protection up to $1 million|
|Social Security Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Bank/Credit Card Monitoring||No||Yes|
|Social Network Monitoring||No||Yes|
|Quarterly Credit Report||No||Yes|
|Daily Credit Score||No||Yes|
If identity fraud protection is important to you and you also want more affordable access to credit monitoring, the $19.99 per month IdentityWorks Premium plan might be a good choice for you.
Signing up for Experian
The signup process is fast, and you’ll need to provide a few personal details to get started. This information allows Experian to pull your credit data and verify your identity.
Experian will ask for your:
- Full name
- Current address
- Date of birth
- Social security number( last four digits)
From there, you’ll credit a username for your account and get set up right away. When you log in, Experian will bring you to its main credit monitoring screen with access to the most commonly used tools.
How I’ve used Experian CreditWorks to improve my credit
I have been using Credit Karma for years to monitor my credit, but I signed up for Experian just to confirm that my FICO data matched my VantageScore information. (Credit Karma doesn't provide Experian's reporting.) I enrolled in Experian's program 6 months ago, when I began to aggressively pay down my debt.
Here’s how I’ve used Experian’s software to boost my credit score.
Reviewing my Experian credit report
I had recently decided to refinance a private student loan to take advantage of the current low rates and was surprised when the creditor I chose didn’t instantly approve me. According to Credit Karma, my credit was near excellent and my debt utilization ratio was very low. I decided I needed to review my FICO credit data to better understand this creditor’s decision.
I initially chose to look at my Experian credit file for the year and only signed up for CreditWorks to do this. When I viewed my credit report, I found the two red flags that likely stuck out to the lender — and they were both reporting incorrect information. I decided to take advantage of the Experian CreditWise software and file a dispute.
Flagging incorrect information
I’ve filed disputes with Credit Karma before but found two interesting reports on my Experian account.
I noticed an error for a credit account that had fully been paid off and closed last March reporting as “open” and “late” for the past 10 months. I verified my payment and account status with the creditor first, then filed a dispute with Experian, noting the discrepancies. The process was simple — a few clicks here, screenshots of my account documentation, and a brief explanation — and the dispute was resolved in about a week. My account status was updated and the change gave my score a boost.
Additionally, I noticed another account that I had paid a few times in December was reflecting “no payment” for this month and “late.” I again filed a dispute and this one was resolved, correcting my late status and also boosting my score.
Experian CreditWorks Pros and Cons
How Experian CreditWorks Stacks Up Against the Competition
MyFico provides a basic plan that offers FICO scores for Experian data, credit reports, and credit score and monitoring services. This service costs $19.99 monthly but offers many of the same features as the free Experian account. On the upside, FICO is considered the most trustworthy source for credit reporting (for FICO scores), so there may be an added benefit to using them over a credit reporting agency’s data.
My FICO also offers $29.95 Advanced and $39.95 Premier per month plans with access to three credit bureaus’ information. The Advanced plan updates every three months, while the Premier plan updates monthly.
The Advanced plan is similar to the Experian CreditWorks Premium account in cost, but Experian provides monthly updates. The MyFico Premier account gets you the most in credit monitoring from an unbiased reporting agency but is quite expensive.
Credit Karma also provides a free credit monitoring service, but as I've discovered using it, it does not give you access to Experian's report, which is why I use both.
Credit Karma gives you access to TransUnion and Equifax credit scores and you can view your account balances and history. Like Experian, you will receive credit cards and loans targeted to your score.
Additional features of Credit Karma include a high-yield savings account (although it is not tied to a checking account), free tax return filing, and financial resources and services. And it is truly 100% free!
With Credit Sesame's free credit score monitoring platform, you can receive access to your VantageScore but it only provides credit information connected to TransUnion in its free service. For $9.95 per month and up you can have access to all three credit bureaus.
Other features include free and fee-free checking accounts, 15% cashback on purchases through its accounts, and cash rewards when you improve your credit score.
Use Credit Sesame To Get Your Free Credit Score
- Free Credit Score, Credit Report & Identity Protection
- Use "Sesame Cash" For Online Banking
- 15% Cashback On Everyday Purchases
- $100 In Cash Rewards For Improving Your Credit Score
- Simple & Secure. Sign Up In Less Than 90 Seconds
If you want access to your Experian credit score, the free Experian CreditWorks account is a great way to obtain this information. I recommend using it in partnership with a platform that also reports your VantageScore data.
I’d also recommend the IdentityWorks Premium plan for robust fraud insurance and identity theft protection, with additional credit monitoring services. The paid CreditWorks account, however, is a bit too steep for my monthly budget, and I wouldn’t recommend this to users looking to trim expenses and get their credit on track — there are free tools you can utilize instead.