Advertiser Disclosure

Self Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa Credit Card Review

Barret WilliamsJanuary 7, 2022

We receive compensation from advertisers, however, all opinions and analysis on this page are independent of payment considerations. Learn more about how we review products and learn about how we work with partners in our advertiser disclosure.

 

Self Credit Builder
Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card

5 / 5 Stars

Best Product for Establishing Savings & Credit
- 5 / 5 Stars - Best Product for Establishing Savings & Credit

Start with a credit builder account and establish savings. Then, in as little as 3 months, use your savings to open a secured credit card with no hard credit inquiry.

Apply Now
at Self's Website

  • Combine a credit builder account and secured card to help you build credit and savings at the same time
  • Build $100 or more in savings, plus make at least 3 monthly payments on time to automatically be eligible for the Self Visa Credit Card as long as your account is in good standing.
  • The credit builder account does charge fees.
  • Combined credit builder account and secured card products to help you build credit and save money (minus interest and fees)
  • No credit check. No credit history required.
  • Start with a credit builder account that reports to all 3 credit bureaus. Each on-time monthly payment builds credit history and savings. Choose the plan that works for you.
  • Make at least 3 monthly payments on time, have $100 or more in savings progress in your account, and be in good standing. You’ll automatically be eligible for the Self Visa Credit Card, without a credit check.
  • Your savings progress from your Credit Builder Account acts as your refundable security deposit.
  • The Self Visa Credit Card is accepted at millions of locations in the U.S.
  • Stay on track with credit utilization monitoring, auto pay, account reminders, a mobile app, and dedicated customer support.
  • *Sample product: $48 monthly payment, 12 month term with a $9 admin fee at a 15.65% Annual Percentage Rate. 
  • See Self.inc for terms and pricing information

Self offers a unique product that might be tricky for some to understand. If your main focus is building credit, though, it can provide a suitable option. First, you'll open a credit builder account. This is an installment loan, but rather than getting the funds from your loan, they are placed into a CD. You then make monthly payments to unlock the value of the CD. You'll pay interest on the loan as you make monthly payments. Think of it as a forced way to save.

Then, once you have made at least 3 monthly payments on time AND have at least $100 unlocked in your CD, you'll be eligible for the Self Visa as long as your account is in good standing. There's no hard credit check or security deposit required. The value of your CD serves as collateral, meaning you'll have a starting credit line of $100. 

Read our Self Credit Builder Account Review.




Self Company Overview

Self is a financial technology company that operates out of Austin, Texas. They've been in operation since 2015, and claim to have helped over a million people begin their financial journey. Since Self is not a bank, they rely on third party banking partners to issue their credit cards. 

About Self's Partners

If you're going to use Self, you should know a little bit about their partner banks. All of the partners Self works with to either hold the certificate of deposits for the Credit Builder account or issue the Secured Visa are FDIC banks, which means that your funds will be protected up to the federal limits. 

While Self partners with these banks, remember that you will not work with the banks directly. They are just a stop-over for storing your money or issuing a credit card. Self will service your accounts.

  • Lead Bank - Lead Bank is based in Kansas City and has been chartered since 1928.
  • Sunrise Banks - Sunrise has been operating out of Minneapolis since 1986, with a focus on innovation and assisting fintechs.
  • Atlantic Capital Bank - The youngest of the partners, Atlantic Capital Bank was founded in 2007 and also focuses on fintech innovation.
[Back to Top]

Self Credit Builder + Secured Visa Information

There aren't many products on the market that compete with Self's offering. The closest, would be the Secured card offered by Chime. Let's take a moment to walk through what happens what you leverage Self's product combo to start your credit journey. 

First, Open a Credit Builder Account

There's no instant gratification with Self. This is about discipline. The first thing you'll need to do is open a credit builder account. You'll pay a small account administration fee at this time. There's no hard credit pull as part of this process, but Self will verify your information. During your application, you'll take out a small to large loan (depending on your preference and goals), and determine your monthly payment.

Here's the twist. Rather than receiving the funds from your loan, they will be placed in a certificate of deposit in your name. Each month, your payment will go towards "unlocking" the value of the CD. You will be charged interest on your loan. For illustrative purposes, here's a fake account example. Let's say you opened a $500 credit builder account. The first month, you make a $25 payment. $.50 of that is interest. You now have unlocked $24.50 of your savings, and that money belongs to you. You'll continue making payments until the value of your account is unlocked.

The beauty of it? Your monthly payments get reported to the major credit bureaus. Each month, as you pay yourself back, you are also building credit. 

Second, Open a Secured Card

Now that your Credit Builder account is established, you start to open up some additional credit building opportunities. Once you've made at least 3 monthly payments on time, and you've unlocked $100 in value on your credit builder account, you are eligible for a Secured Visa without having a hard credit check. 

How does this all work? Using the example about, you'd need to make 5 payments in a row to have unlocked more than $100 (that pesky interest got in the way of it being only 4 payments).  At this time, if your account is in good standing, you'll be eligible to open a Secured Visa card. If your monthly payment is higher, then you could have unlocked enough value to get the Secured Visa in as little as 3 payments.

Rather than putting a traditional security deposit down, Self is able to "re-lock" the value of your CD to secure your card.  Let's say you've unlocked $250 in value on your CD. That can now be used to open up a secured credit card. It's kind of brilliant. 

Build Your Credit x2

Here's where the magic happens. With this combination, you now have both an installment account (the loan) and a revolving account (the secured card). Not only does this give you the opportunity to make two payments on time every month, but the types of credit you have available to you make up 10% of your overall score. This can be icing on the cake for those looking to broaden the information on their credit profile.

[Back to Top]

What Credit Score is Needed to Get the Self Credit Builder Account

There's no hard credit check to get either the Credit Builder account or the Secured Visa. Self will do a check to verify your information, but your credit score will not be impacted as part of this process. There will also not be a hard credit check once your Credit Builder account has aged enough to meet the eligibility requirements for the Secured Visa.

Is the Self Credit Builder Secured Visa Instant Approval?

Like in life, all good things come with time. It'll take at least 3 months before your Credit Builder account has aged enough to be eligible for a Secured Visa. Don't let this discourage you, though. Use the time to build better financial habits, build some savings and get ready to start your next credit chapter. 

[Back to Top]

Self Credit Builder and Secured Card Reviews

Self Credit Builder Reddit Reviews

The popular social site, Reddit, has overwhelmingly good things to say about the results and customer service of the Self line of products. Many users report positive results to their credit scores. While the reports are joyful to read, keep in mind that your results may vary. Everyone's credit profile is going to react differently to changes, and you have to stay on top of making payments on time. There is no magic bullet to quickly recovering from a past credit mistake.

Self Credit Builder Shopper Approved Reviews

Self has a shockingly high 4.7/5 stars on Shopper Approved. Over 85% of users reported a 5-star experience. 

 

[Back to Top]

Should You Apply for a Self Credit Builder and Secured Visa Card?

We think the reviews speak for themselves. Users seem very happy with the products Self has introduced to the market. We enjoy the combo product to help broaden a thin credit profile, and we think the cost structure of the credit builder account is relatively low. 

The downside is that if you're looking for a credit card today, Self isn't for you. If you're relatively new to credit, we might recommend checking out the Petal unsecured card. If you have damaged credit and a security deposit in hand, OpenSky is able to approve applicants without conducting a hard credit inquiry.

[Back to Top]


Compare the Self Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa Credit Card



OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

- 4.9 / 5 Stars

Best Secured Card with No Hard Credit Check
  • APR: 17.39% variable
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit Score: None



Capital One Platinum Secured Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

- 4.8 / 5 Stars

Best Security Deposit
  • APR: 26.99% variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit: Rebuilding



Petal 1 Credit Card Image

Petal 1 Visa Card

- 5 / 5 Stars

Best Unsecured Card for Building Credit
  • APR:  19.99% - 29.49% Variable APR
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Recommended Credit: Poor - Fair






FAQs

Is the Self Credit Builder account good?

The credit builder account can be helpful for those looking to add an installment account (loan) to their credit mix. If you already have a loan in good standing on your credit profile, the Self Credit Builder account may not be necessary for you, unless you struggle to build savings without a structured approach. 

How does Self Credit Builder work?

When you open a credit builder account, you're really opening a loan. Instead of receiving the funds from the loan, they are placed in a CD on your behalf. You will make monthly payments to unlock the value of the CD, all while paying interest on your loan. The net result is you build credit history, and when your loan payments are complete you get your funds. 


[Back to Top]



Advertiser Disclosure

We partner with financial institutions, lenders, and other advertisers to better provide you with the most up-to-date product information that can help you make the important decisions in your life, but our content is not financial advice. Your personal situation is unique to you.  We never allow our advertisers to influence our opinions, analysis or influence our star rankings.

Your trust in our process is essential, and we strive to maintain transparency when it comes to our advertiser partners. You can find a list of our current partners in our advertiser disclosure

 

© 2021 The Penny Jar
Best OverallBest Dog InsuranceBest Cat InsuranceBad CreditFirst CardRebuild CreditSecured CardsStudent CardsEmbraceLemonadePetInsuranceQuotes.comPets BestWagmoOpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardPetal 1 Visa Credit CardCapital One Platinum Secured Credit CardChime Credit Builder Secured CardQuicksilver Secured Rewards from Capital OneSelf Secured VisaQuicksilver Rewards for StudentsSavorOne Rewards for StudentsDeserve EDU Mastercard for StudentsChase Freedom Student