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Experian Smart Money™ Review

Cory Santos

| Last updated on January 4th, 2024

Experian Smart Money™

Experian Smart Money™
No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: No Credit Required
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Experian Smart Money™

At a Glance

The Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account and Debit Card is an interesting debit program that works with Experian Boost to help you establish a positive credit history based on the bill payments you already make. The card also comes with a practical welcome offer after meeting direct deposit minimums - all for no annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No minimum deposits and no annual fee
  • Works automatically with Experian Boost
  • $50 direct deposit bonus
  • FDIC-insured savings account
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Minimum Deposit Required: 0
  • You are new to credit
  • You plan on utilizing Experian's extensive knowledge base
  • You want an insured deposit account

Experian Smart Money™ Debit Card Review

The Experian Smart Money™ Card is a combination debit card and digital checking account from Experian and Community Federal Savings Bank, Member-FDIC. The card is an exciting debit card designed by experts in the credit space – and supercharged by the power of Expedia Boost.

$50 New Account Welcome Bonus

A great perk of the Experian Smart Money Card is its simple welcome bonus. New accounts receive a $50 bonus when setting up a direct deposit. This deposit bonus requires at least $1,000 in direct deposits within 45 business days of opening your account. Your Smart Money account must stay active and in good standing when the bonus is paid.

How Does Experian Smart Money Work?

Getting started with Experian Smart Money™ is a quick and effortless process. All you need to do is register for an account on their website or download the mobile app. Once you’ve successfully created an account, you must provide basic details, including your name, address, and social security number. These details are essential for accessing your credit report and receiving personalized recommendations from Experian and Experian Boost.

Once your account is set up, you’ll gain access to a user-friendly dashboard that presents your credit score, credit report, and other important financial information. Additionally, you can connect your bank accounts and credit cards to Experian Smart Money™. By doing so, the platform can analyze your spending habits and offer customized suggestions based on your financial behavior.

Works with Experian Boost

The main goal of the Experian Smart Money™ program is to help you better manage your credit. As such, it helps consumers boost their FICO Score by utilizing the proprietary power of Experian Boost. The Experian Boost service is a free-to-join tool that identifies eligible recurring payments and reports positive payment information on the user’s credit file.

The program works for utility, telecom, rent, and certain streaming service payments. Experian does not look for negative payment histories; the boost is immediate. According to Experian’s own data and research, the Boost program provides an average score boost of around 19 points, though personal results may vary significantly.

That Experian Boost only counts your positive payment history is a wonderful feature and can help you combat a declining credit score with smart financial habits and responsible use.

Still, Experian Boost has some limitations, which should be known before getting the Experian Smart Money Card. For starters, Boost works only with Experian’s credit model and not other major scoring models from Equifax or TransUnion. Because the Experian Boost program only impacts your Experian credit score, it might not help when applying for loans or credit cards from some banks.

Debit Comparison

The Smart Money Debit Card is just one of many credit-debit cards. These options include cards for teenagers and well-rounded products designed for all adult credit profiles. Here is how Experian stacks up with another option from Zolve:

Experian Smart Money™ Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card GO2bank Visa® Debit Card
Credit check None None None
Maintenance fee $0 $0 $5 (waived with direct deposits)
Monthly credit reporting Yes Yes No
Rewards N/A 1% cash back Up to 7% back
Fee-free ATM access 55,000+ 65,000+ 5,000+

The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® is yet another choice, though it is a secured credit card and not a debit card. The biggest difference between a debit and a secured card is that secured cards will impact your credit with poor financial decisions. Additionally, secured cards require a security deposit.

What We Like About Experian Smart Money

There’s a lot to like with the Experian Smart Money Card. The card allows for effortless budgeting and expense tracking. These features allow you to set budgets for different categories of expenses and track your spending in real time. They can even help identify areas where you can cut back and save money.

Additionally, Experian Smart Money™ allows you to set financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house or paying off your student loans. The platform provides personalized recommendations and progress tracking to help you stay on track.

Finally, the Experian Smart Money platform provides insights into your existing debts, including credit card balances, loans, and mortgages. It offers strategies and recommendations for paying off your debts faster, saving you money on interest payments.

Things to Consider

Perhaps the biggest drawback with the card is the limitations inherent with Experian Boost. Because of this shortcoming, you might not build credit as quickly as you think. If a card issuer, lender, or bank pulls your credit score from Equifax or TransUnion instead of Experian, no credit boost will appear, meaning you might still have a lower score. Additionally, some lenders exclude Experian Boost data when pulling an Experian credit file, so be careful.

Other Card Features

Other notable features of the Experian Smart Money Mastercard debit card include adding funds almost anywhere nationwide. Cardholders can reload funds via cash at select retailers nationwide. Cash reloads are accepted through specified third-party money transfer services that participate in the Mastercard rePower Load Network, including Green Dot, MoneyGram, and Vanilla.

Those wishing to deposit funds the traditional way can also, with users able to add money by transferring from another bank account or setting up direct deposit. There are no fees associated with loading your card, as detailed in the upcoming fee schedule.

Cardholders enjoy access to over 55,000+ no-fee ATMs worldwide. The Allpoint ATM network is a global alliance of over 55,000 fee-free ATMs virtually anywhere your travels may take you. The company boasts that 1-in-12 ATMs in the United States are part of the Allpoint network, meaning you never have to worry about fees when getting cash.

Guide to Fees

Here is the most up-to-date fee schedule for the Experian Smart Money™ Card and checking account:

Fee Charge Explanation
Foreign exchange fee 3.0% or $3.25 (whichever is higher) This fee is assessed based on the transaction total in order to convert transactions completed in a foreign currency into US Dollars (USD).
Out-of-network ATM fee $3 There is no fee to withdraw cash from an in-network ATM; which is the Allpoint ATM Network. This fee is for any ATM outside of that network.
Direct deposit $0 There is no fee to systematically deposit your payroll or government benefits, including tax refunds, to your Account.
Cash back at point-of-sale $0 There is no fee to receive cash back with a purchase, based on the availability of funds in your account balance. Limits may apply. Merchants may assess fees and limits.
Transfers to external accounts $0 There is no fee to transfer funds to an external Bank Account from your Account.
Card replacement fee $5 There is no fee to receive your initial card, or to receive one replacement/reissue during the lifetime of the Account. All subsequent replacements/reissues will be assessed the fee.
Monthly fee $0 There is no monthly fee and no account set-up fees associated with the Account.

Mastercard Debit Protections

The Experian Smart Money™ debit card is a Mastercard debit product, meaning cardholders can also expect the following protections and benefits:

ID Theft Protection Zero Fraud Liability Mastercard Global Service customer support
Purchase Protection Extended Warranty Protection Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee

Community Federal Savings Bank Ratings

Here are a selection of expert reviews for Experian, as well as an overview of Community Federal Savings Bank as a card issuer:

Should You Get the Experian Smart Money™ Card?

Does the Experian Smart Money Debit Card and associated digital checking account make sense for you? That depends on how much effort you want to put into your credit journey.

The Experian Boost aspect of the Smart Money Card is nice; ensuring that you get credited for all your eligible utility and recurring payments via credit reporting is great – but you can do that without the Experian Card at all.  The card is great for those who plan to “set it and forget it.”

Other debit cards earn rewards, potentially making them a better pair for Experian Boost. The Extra Debit Card is similar but provides 1% in points for everyday purchases like rideshares, coffees, and your phone bills. Unlike Experian, Extra reports all payments, meaning adding Experian Boost might supercharge your credit growth while earning basic rewards.

While Experian Smart Money™ offers a range of features and benefits, it’s important to compare it with other financial empowerment tools to find the right fit for your needs. Some alternative tools to consider include Mint, Personal Capital, and Credit Karma. Each of these platforms has its own unique features and strengths, so it’s worth exploring them to determine which one aligns with your financial goals and preferences.

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