Experian is one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the United States. The other leading credit bureaus are Equifax and TransUnion. According to the company’s 2019 annual report, Experian manages the data of 1.2 billion people and 145 million businesses globally.
As a major credit bureau, Experian furnishes credit reports and credit scores to creditors and other companies. Those entities use that information to assess an applicant’s creditworthiness. You are entitled to one free credit report from each bureau once a year, which you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also request your Experian credit reports and credit scores directly from Experian for a nominal fee.
Our free Credit Report Card also shows you your Experian VantageScore 3.0 credit score, which updates every 14 days. Experian scores are available only from Credit.com and Experian itself.
A Brief History of the Experian Credit Bureau
- Founded: 1996
- Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland
- CEO: Brian Cassin
- Company Size: 17,000 Employees
- Company Website: Experian.com
- Twitter: Twitter.com/Experian_US
Experian was created by a merger of two other companies in 1996. In 2007, Experian made its most recent major acquisition by taking a controlling interest in Serasa, the world’s fourth-largest credit bureau and the largest in Brazil. The acquisition gave Experian a commanding position in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
Today, Experian is a leading global information services company. It employs around 17,000 people and works with 40 million businesses and 300 million consumers in the US alone. It supports clients in more than 80 countries across the world.
Experian Credit Scores
Experian provides FICO and VantageScore credit scores, which range between 300 and 850. While VantageScore creates a single model that is used by all three bureaus, FICO creates bureau-specific models, which means your Experian FICO score will be different than your Equifax or TransUnion FICO scores.
These scores are used by lenders and others to determine your creditworthiness and set your loan terms and rates.
Experian offers some definitions about what scores in various ranges mean:
- 300–579: Poor credit
- 580–669: Fair credit
- 670–739: Good credit
- 740–799: Very good credit
- 800–850: Excellent credit
The higher your credit score, tthe more creditworthy you are generally considered by lenders. But simply moving up to the next overall range can help you tremendously when it comes to the changes of loan approval or getting better terms. So, improving your credit score from 725 to 745—from good to very good credit—for example, may be worth the time it takes to do so.
Products Offered by Experian
With so much riding on your credit history, it’s not surprising if you want to keep tabs on it to help protect your score. In addition to various services offered to organizations, Experian offers many consumer products to help you do this. Many of their products are offered together in various combinations, so be sure to review each offering carefully to understand what you are signing up and which is the best option for you.
You can regularly check your Experian credit report for free. This free version updates every 30 days, but it does not include access to your credit score.
You can also get your FICO 8 credit score for free from Experian. This option does not include your credit report, but it does show the factors—payment history, amount of debt, etc.—that are affecting your score. You can also track your credit score, and Experian will show you personalized credit card offers based on your credit history.
Credit Report and FICO Score
You can request your Experian credit report and FICO score together for a one-time fee of $19.99.
Experian CreditWorks Basic
The CreditWorks Basic plan is free and doesn’t require a credit card. It simply lets you see your Experian credit report and credit score once a month and monitors some basic information about your credit history, such as what new accounts were added.
Experian CreditWorks Premium
The CreditWorks Premium plan is $4.99 the first month and $24.99 a month afterward. It monitors your entire credit report for all three bureaus, and includes daily Experian credit report and score access, and monthly credit reports and scores from the other two bureaus. It also offers additional FICO scores, includes identity theft protection and lets you lock and unlock your credit report.
Part of Experian CreditWorks Premium, CreditLock allows you to lock your credit report with the touch of a button. A credit lock is not as secure as a credit freeze, but it is faster and easier to turn on and off.
A security freeze prevents loans and services from being approved without your consent. You will need to lift the freeze—using a PIN you are given when you initiate the freeze—before applying for any credit to avoid a delay in the process. Requesting a security freeze is free but more difficult to turn on and off than a credit lock.
Your credit report typically doesn’t include information on your on-time rent, phone or utility payments. With Experian Boost, you can connect your bank account that you use to pay your bills and potentially boost your score based on those on-time payments. Experian Boost doesn’t cost anything. You can also sign up for it and then change your mind later. If you do, you have to contact Experian customer support to get yourself removed from the program.
Credit Monitoring is available through CreditWorks Premium for $4.99 for the first month, then $24.99 for each additional month. This option allows you to monitor your reports from all three credit bureaus, with daily and monthly updates.
Identity Theft Protection
Experian’s identity theft protection programs are free for 30 days. After that, you can enroll in IdentityWorks Plus or IdentityWorks Premium. Monthly rates will vary depending on the number of individuals enrolled in the program, but costs range from $9.99 to $29.99 per month.
CreditMatch allows you to review potential personal loan and credit card offers from the company’s partners. These personalized offers do not affect your credit score with a hard inquiry, but you are not guaranteed approval.
3-Bureau Credit Report and FICO Scores
Experian also offers an option for purchasing full credit reports from all three major bureaus plus your FICO score for $39.99. You are entitled to a credit report from each agency once per year for free, but those reports do not include your FICO scores.
Experian Contact Information
Whether you want to end a membership in one of its services or dispute information on your credit report, you can contact Experian. Experian provides a phone number on every credit report it issues so consumers can call to dispute items as necessary. You can also dispute online or by mail at PO Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013.
If you want help with an Experian membership or product, you can call (479) 343-6239. The customer service line is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT on weekends.