Boss XL Mag Breaks down the Best Credit Building Apps
Over the past couple of years, credit building apps grew with popularity as a low cost method for a consumer to build credit without having to spend a lot of money purchasing a tradeline or becoming an authorized user. Self Lender was one of the first and most popular app. Now, more credit building apps have been popping up making the market competitive.
With credit-building apps, borrowers typically get no money upfront. Instead, they pay a small fee to save money with them. The bank tracks their monthly “payments” or deposits and reports them to the credit reporting bureaus. Over several months, borrowers build savings and boost their credit score (assuming they make on-time payments). These apps can make a difference in boosting up a consumer's credit score.
Most of these apps are positioned as quick ways to build credit. The reason they're successful is that they require users to practice good credit behavior over an extended period. If you have terrible credit but have a stable income, a credit-building app can push you in the right direction.
We compiled a list of the top Credit Building apps and their benefits:
CreditStrong issues credit-building loans that can be repaid over up to five years. They offer three products: Revolv, Instal, and CD Max. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000. The smaller loans carry high effective interest rates but are still likely to boost your credit score significantly over time.
You don't need any credit score whatsoever to qualify for a CreditStrong loan. And while it will check your credit, it only uses a soft credit inquiry that won't negatively impact your score. You can also cancel your loan at any without having to pay fees.
Self offer various levels of savings. Each loan runs two years, but you can choose from five monthly payment options: $25, $35, $48, or $150.
People who use the loans will pay effective rates ranging from 12.44%-15.91%APR for the two-year loans. There's also a one-time administration fee of $9 that's charged on every loan.
Kikoff issues a $500 line of credit to be used to buy consumer items in its store. The items cost as little as $10 and are repaid in five to ten months. Once you buy the item, you pay for it in installments. The loan itself is a 0% interest loan (though the price of the items is admittedly inflated). I don’t love the idea of buying things you don’t need at excessive prices to build credit. But the cost is much less than other loans. Plus, a $5 per month credit building membership can be just the thing you need to boost your credit score.
SeedFi offers credit-builder loans that cost $1 per month. That gives the loans an effective interest rate of 4.03% to 5.26% APR. Most people can effectively build credit and savings using these loans. Because of the low cost, this is our top credit-building loan app.
SeedFi also offers "Borrow & Grow" loans of up to $4,000 that do provide some immediate cash. As we already mentioned, this is very unusual for a credit-builder loan and could make SeedFi a great choice if you need emergency cash and are also looking to build credit.
Grain offers a revolving line of credit to people with a solid income. On your request, Grain will deposit up to $1,000 into your debit account. You can spend that as you normally would and repay the borrowed amount on your schedule.
The company sets minimum payments at 10% of the amount borrowed, but you can pay it off immediately if you want. Grain’s fees are a 1% withdrawal fee and a 15% APR for borrowed funds.
Credit-building apps can offer value to people who have struggled with credit in the past. These apps can help you build a strong credit history over time. You must give it time and be consistent with the required payments for it to work and you will see results with a higher credit score.