What does Connect mean?
It’s an idea we started back in 2005 that has caught on. Today we’re the largest non-traditional Consumer Reporting Agency helping lenders across the country to discover that consumers who pay their bills on time are also good candidates for lending.
Why is Connect better?
To begin with Connect is free. You can sign up free, use the tools for free and see your score for free. Some competitors like to say they are free but in reality they wait until you've created an account and then charge you to verify your bills or provide you a report. Convenience is the other big reason people love Connect. We verify your bills electronically so you don't need to update your information each month. And Connect lets you manage and organize your bills and accounts - including your finances, utilities, rent/mortgage, insurance, travel rewards, subscriptions and more - in one place, while also giving you a reliable alternative credit score.
Does Connect have anything to do with TransUnion, Equifax or Experian?
No, Connect is a part of MicroBilt, a Consumer Reporting Agency registered with the CFPB and operates under the FCRA just like those companies but uses “non-traditional information” (utility, mobile phone, and other bills) to build your score. Connect does not affect the reports of these other companies.
How big is Connect?
Connect is the largest provider of non-traditional data to the credit market.
Who is MicroBilt and why are they mentioned with Connect?
MicroBilt is the owner of Connect. As a leading single source provider of decision critical information that assists businesses in reducing and managing risk, MicroBilt provides online access to consumer and commercial credit bureau data, automated decisioning and collection services, as well as industry benchmark data and risk management tools. MicroBilt has over 40 years of experience in risk management for business and its leading edge technology forms the backbone of the Connect service offering.
How does a Connect Alternative Credit Score work? Is it like a regular credit score?
The Connect Alternative Credit Score is similar to a traditional credit score. It uses the same numbering system, with roughly the same meaning as a traditional score. The range of possible scores extends from 100 to 850, although the key portion of that scale lies between 600 and 750. Any score over 750 will be considered extremely reliable, and any score under 600 is likely to be denied credit by an institution that requires a credit check. Most scores fall between 600 and 750. The higher the score, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan, and the lower your interest rate is likely to be for that loan.
How is Connect different from other alternative credit scores?
Connect is the oldest and largest provider of alternative credit scores. No one else can offer an alternative credit score more reliable than the Connect score. More importantly, creating a credit score with Connect is, and always will be, free. (Stay away from anyone asking you to pay in order to create a score!)
How is my Connect score calculated?
Connect uses credit lines, or “accounts”, to calculate your score. The more accounts and information you provide, the more accurate your score. Accounts include things like banks accounts, credit cards, utility bills (heat, electricity, etc.) mobile phones, insurance policies, mortgages or leases in your name.
What kinds of accounts does Connect work with?
Connect works with thousands of banks, utility companies, credit card companies, insurance companies, mortgage accounts and a whole lot more. And we are adding more every day. If you don't see your provider listed on Connect, let us know. If you are paying a particular bill on a regular basis, with any company, and we can verify and track - it then it can be counted towards your score.
Do you give me a score or report?
Connect gives you both a score and a report. The score is live on your dashboard and you can download a report anytime you want.
How much do Connect reports cost?
Being a Connect member is completely free to you. When you apply for a loan or purchase using Connect, the lender/merchant pays a fee to check on your score through us.
Is there ever a charge for using Connect?
Connect is, and always will be, completely free to consumers. We earn a small fee from our business partners who pay to look at your score when you apply for a loan or credit.
Are alternative credit scores reliable?
Yes, they are. Alternative Credit Scores capture the day to day reliability and financial habits of people. How someone handles their money in paying bills is considered a strong indication of how someone they will manage money loaned to them. The technology to monitor bill paying habits this didn't exist a few years ago but it does today. This is why alternative credit scores are finally becoming mainstream.
Does the Connect Alternative Credit Score affect my traditional credit score?
No, it doesn't.
Will businesses accept a Connect alternative credit score?
According to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, if you present a business with proof of alternative payment history, they must consider it when making a decision on whether to give you credit. You cannot legally be told, “Sorry, we only take ‘regular' credit scores”. It is, however, up to you to make your score reliable. The more accounts you register as part of your Connect score, the more reliable your score will be. If you have more payment accounts verified with Connect, businesses will get a better picture of your overall reliability when considering your score in their decision.
When is credit checked?
A person's credit is checked for many reasons including when they apply for a job, purchase or lease a car, set up a utility, apply for a credit card, purchase a cell phone, apply for an apartment lease or open a bank account.
How many times can I get my Connect Report?
You can get your Connect Report as often as you want. And it will always be free to do so. Plus, unlike traditional reports that show only portions of all the data they have, a Connect report shows everything you've entered into the Connect system.
Does checking my Connect Score impact my traditional credit report?
No, it does not.
What businesses are already using Connect?
Customers have been approved for loans and purchases using Connect at furniture stores, auto dealers, jewelry stores, banks, and other lenders. Connect has also been used to get approved for apartment leases.
I represent a business and want to report payments for my customers so they can get credit.
Can I get a loan if I am a Connect member?
There are thousands of Connect partners that can offer you a loan. There are many variables that determine your creditworthiness and each creditor has their own criteria for granting loans. Your success in getting a loan and the rate offered will depend on your credit worthiness and the creditor's individual criteria.
How do I get my credit report from you?
A Connect score is live on your dashboard and you can get a report anytime you want. Just click the View your Connect Credit Report link from your dashboard.
Who can join Connect?
Connect is free and available to anyone who is 18 years of age or older.
Can I participate if I am moving to the United States?
Absolutely. A lot of the credit you built up overseas will not be recognized in the United States making Connect a great way to build up credit quickly when you move here.
Is Connect available in countries besides the United States of America?
Not yet, but we're working on it. Due to laws and regulations that are unique to each country this takes time, but we envision a day when your Connect Alternative Credit Score will follow you anywhere in the world.
Is Connect just for people with no credit?
Connect can help people without credit and also those who had good credit in the past and experienced some hard times that may have damaged their credit. It's available to anyone who is 18 years of age or older.
How does the Connect website work?
When you first sign up, we'll walk you through the process of establishing your Connect score. We'll ask you to provide information for various accounts (bank, credit card, utility, insurance, etc.). When you finish you'll reach your Connect Dashboard. From there you can add or edit accounts as necessary.
Every time you log into Connect after your first time, you'll start at your dashboard. Your dashboard has other useful features too like bill reminders, bill pay, and convenient password storage, plus access to our Connect Rewards program.
What if I don't have one of the accounts you ask for?
Don't worry, that's ok. The most important thing is to provide as much information for as many accounts as you do have. When asked for an account you don't have information for, just check the box saying you don't have this type of account and move on to the next account.
Can I make changes to accounts I've already entered?
Yes. You can always change your accounts information on Connect. And if you use online log-in for an account and your username and password change, Connect will prompt you to update that too, so we can keep your score accurate.
What are Connect Reward Points?
Our Reward Points are a special bonus for Connect members. They're a way to reward you for taking steps to improve your credit - which ultimately helps both you and the businesses you deal with. Every time you accomplish a task on Connect, you'll get points. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards. It's our way of thanking you for choosing Connect.
Why do you need my online log-in information for accounts?
Microbilt uses your log-in information to link your account to Connect. Linking your accounts allows us to update your Connect score so that it is as accurate as possible. Ultimately our goal is to make sure your Connect score works for you and by keeping our data current, we can make sure every bill you pay on time reflects well on your Connect score.
The link we create to your accounts is “read only” which means we cannot make any changes to any of your accounts. We go to great lengths to protect your account information which is protected behind 256-bit AES encryption and 24x7x365 surveillance of our PCI DSS 3.0-compliant data center. You can learn more about our security here.
What is bank account verification and how does it work?
As part of the Connect service we need to verify that you own your bank accounts and securely get a copy of your bank statements. Bank account verification helps us automatically verify your payment habits so we can calculate your score.
Do I need to bank online to use Connect?
Having your bank account accessible online definitely helps with your score but it is not mandatory.
What does my landlord need to do if I want to include rent in my Connect account?
Nothing. Your landlord may already be reporting to us and if they are not we will verify your payments through your bank account.
If I sign up today, do past payments count in calculating my score?
Yes, if we can verify them, we can use them to calculate your score.
What if I don't use online log-in for some accounts?
There's a box to check if you don't use online log-in for some account. However, we recommend managing your accounts online for a couple of reasons: First, it's easier. And second, when you have online access you can set up Bill Reminders with Connect to help you make payments on time.
You should note, however, that setting up your account with online log-in sometimes, for some companies, converts your paper statements to electronic statements that come by email. Be sure to pay attention when you're setting up online access to your accounts.
How do I set up online log-in for my accounts?
Setting up online log-in means going to that company's website and enrolling. Most companies have simple sign up processes. You are usually asked for an email address or username and a password. Sometimes there are security questions too. Make sure to pay attention to all of these as you set up your account because we'll need them in order to access your account in calculating your score.
If I opt to receive my bills through Connect, will my paper bills stop?
Most providers will continue to send paper bills while giving you electronic downloads. However, some providers require you to turn off paper bills to receive downloads. You will receive any correspondence and bills from your provider and Connect will get the information as well.
What happens if my service provider does not offer electronic bills, can I still include them?
Yes, if your service provider does not have a website or provide electronic bills you can still use Connect. You would simply scan and upload them and we will verify the information. Keep in mind this takes some time so if the online option is available you will find it easier.
Can I pay my bills through Connect?
Connect does not accept or process bill payments throughout website. However, you can add links to your Connect account that allow you to quickly jump to bill pay sections of provider websites. This will help make Connect a convenient place for managing your bills.
There's a lot of information to provide. Do I have to do it all at one time?
No, but usually it's easier to do as much as you can in one session. If you are interrupted though, Connect will save what you have entered and you can come back at any time to make updates.
I want to close or cancel my account.
Please use the contact us form and request that your account be closed. To make the site better for all Connect users we would appreciate any comments on why you want to close it.
I don't remember my user id/password.
Click on the “Forgot Password” link near the “Sign In” button. This will walk you through a brief process for resetting your password.
I can't find how to manually upload documents.
Sign into Connect and go to "My account”. Then select a bank account that you have active and click on "submit & proceed to manual uploads".
I need a way to add multiple employers.
You can add another source of income by going to Profile and clicking on the Income Tab. After you complete your first employer you will see an option to Add Another Source of Income. Click this link to add another employer.
Can I add past bills to my Connect account?
You can add any bills you have paid within the last 2 years (24 months) to your credit report. Using past bill payments is a good idea because it can help establish a positive credit history right away.
How long does it take to verify my account?
Unlike other alternative credit reporting agencies, Connect account verifications are done instantly. Even better, they are completely free of charge and cost you nothing. After you add your information, you will see the changes happen immediately on your Connect dashboard.
What is an Alternative Credit Score?
Even though rent, utility bills, cell phone bills, insurance and many other types of accounts do not get included in your traditional credit score, they can be used to help establish your credit. A law called the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) required lenders to include these accounts in their assessment of your creditworthiness should you ask them to. Taken together, these different bills can be used to establish an Alternative Credit Score.
Why is an Alternative Credit Score important?
Many people have what is called a “thin” or “no hit” credit file. That means that for whatever reason they do not have sufficient historical information with the traditional credit bureaus to get a score. Other people have negative credit information which has hurt their traditional score.
Alternative Credit Scores provide people in these categories with a means of demonstrating to lenders that they are indeed worthy of credit.
How is a Connect Credit Report different from a traditional credit report?
For many people, up to 80% of their monthly bill payments are never reported to the national credit reporting agencies. As a result their true payment history is never figured into their traditional credit score. Unlike a credit report from the three national credit bureaus where creditors report their customer’s credit information automatically, your Connect Credit Report contains only the bill payment accounts you choose to have verified and included in your report.
Does Connect report my information to the national credit bureaus?
No it does not. Connect will not report your information to Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. The account history contained in your Connect Credit Report will not affect your credit report with the traditional credit bureaus.
How can a Connect Credit Report help me?
If you have little or no traditional credit, a Connect Credit Report and can help you demonstrate to lenders that you have a proven history of on time payments for monthly financial obligations.
Your Connect Credit Report might help to offset a negative credit history. It also provides a more complete picture of your financial habits. Using your Connect Credit Report to show a more complete credit profile, helps lenders make more informed decisions about offering credit to you.
What does a Connect Credit Report look like?
A Connect Credit Report follows an industry standard format that lenders are familiar with. It can be accessed electronically for credit scoring or other purposes. You are entitled to use your Connect Credit Report as a standalone report, or as a supplement to the bill payments contained in your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion reports. By law, a creditor must consider your Connect Credit Report on your request.
Do all creditors use Alternative Credit information?
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA readily recognize the importance of Alternative Credit information. Many Credit Unions also readily recognize Alternative Credit information. Other major financial institutions and service providers weigh Alternative Credit information in their lending process. It is important to know that by law [ECOA Section 202.6(b)(6)], and upon your request, all lenders must take the information contained in your Connect Credit Report into account when considering whether they want to offer you credit.
What is the difference between a traditional credit score and the Connect Credit Score?
A traditional credit score is calculated only on credit information reported to the national credit bureaus by an individual’s creditors. Your Connect Credit Score is calculated on current verified bill payment information, contained in your Connect Credit Report. This information is not reported to the national credit bureaus.
Traditional credit scores are primarily a measure of debt and how responsibly that debt is paid. An Alternative Credit Score is not a measure of debt but instead of how responsible you are meeting month living expenses. Because the Alternative Credit Score does not consider debt, having higher payments for accounts such as rent and utilities will not have a negative effect on your rating.
How can I know the information I give to Connect is secure?
Connect is powered and protected by MicroBilt and their 40 years of experience in the data industry. Data protection at Connect is up to the standards of the largest banks in the country. All data is encrypted using 256-bit encryption and all communication happens through a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). In addition, our databases comply with the PCI standard - the highest security standard in the industry. To learn more, see our page detailing security provisions.
What is happening with my personal/private information?
How do I keep my Connect account safe?
To keep your account safe, never share your password or write it down. Make sure your password is unique and hard to guess and that it includes numbers and special characters. Connect also recommends that you use antivirus software on your computer to keep it safe from hackers. Additionally, avoid logging into your Connect account from Public Computers and if you do, make sure you log out completely before leaving.
Is it possible to do a credit freeze?
Yes, please visit the Connect - Consumer Affairs page for additional information.
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