Financial Inclusion

Experian’s App Eases Consumers’ Credit Choices

Credit-reporting agency Experian now has a mobile app that it says will help consumers “feel more confident about their financial situation” — and it has survey results to prove it.

According to the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults with mobile devices, 60 percent of mobile device owners already access financial information on their smartphone or tablet, which they typically use for checking balances, monitoring accounts and managing day-to-day finances. More than three-quarters of those people — 46 percent of all the consumers surveyed — use financial apps instead of (or along with) websites.

And 80 percent of the app users said they “feel more confident about my financial situation since I started using financial mobile apps,” while only 4 percent said they felt less confident. App users were also more likely to know their credit scores, by a margin of 76 percent to 56 percent.

In the case of the Experian app, that’s likely to be closer to 100 percent, since the app is only for U.S. members of the $19.95-per-month Experian Credit Tracker program. The iOS and Android app, which was actually launched in stealth mode last month to shake out some of the bugs, lets those members quickly access their full Experian credit reports with daily updates, including credit accounts, inquiries and public records. The app also receives push notifications when key updates to the member’s credit report are detected.

App-using members can also see their current FICO score, track score changes over time and see what factors are influencing it — including the financial behaviors that are helping and hurting.

There’s also a dashboard feature that provides a snapshot of members’ most recent credit health and trends, and a credit summary that shows members the five key elements that make up their FICO scores, based on their Experian credit reports.

“When consumers learn more about credit, including their FICO Score, that’s power — power to better understand credit and achieve financial goals,” said Jeremy Wasser, VP of product and user experience for Experian Consumer Services, in a prepared statement. “The new Experian Credit Tracker app makes it possible for members to engage and interact with their credit anytime, anywhere.”

Experian and its rival credit-reporting agencies TransUnion and Equifax, who once sold their reports only to banks and other credit-related businesses, have gotten much more consumer-friendly since 2003, when the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) began requiring them to let consumers see their credit reports once a year for free, and now they sell the ability to see their scores with continuous updates.

But that also means consumers can now know exactly what’s being reported about them — and it has forced some changes. For example, in March all three big credit agencies agreed to change how they report data on unpaid medical bills and how they address errors on user reports.

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