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Self Credit Builder Review 2023: Build Credit and Savings

By Entrepreneur Deals

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you'll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Self, formerly known as Self Lender, offers a way to build credit for those with a non-existent or low credit score. Since its creation in 2015, Self has helped more than 2 million customers build their credit. Building from a low credit score can be tough. If your credit score is preventing you from achieving your business dreams, Self could help.

Self at a glance.

Pros

  • Build credit and savings all at once with Self
  • Choose from 4 plans to fit your budget and savings goals
  • No hard credit checks or hard inquiries on your credit
  • Your money stays secure in a bank-held certificate of deposit (CD)
  • Target the #1 factor for credit score - payment history

Cons

  • Since it is technically a loan, you do pay non-refundable interest and fees
  • Credit score bumps can vary
  • Fees for paying with debit card as opposed to bank account

How does Self work to build credit?

With Self, you choose from four plans that determine your monthly payments. If you're approved for Self's Credit Builder Account,1 you'll be charged a $9 administrative fee2 and the first payment the following month. As you make payments towards the loan, your funds are held in a Certificate of Deposit (CD). Your payments will stay the same every month, but if your circumstances change, you can pay off or close your account early for a withdrawal fee. This helps to avoid a delinquent account if you can no longer make payments.

Credit Builder Plans

Self has 4 different plans starting as low as $25 a month2 to fit your budget and goals. After paying a one-time $9 administrative fee2, the next month you'll start contributing to your savings and building credit with all three credit bureaus. At the end of your loan term, you can unlock your savings, minus interest and fees.

  • $25 per month for 24 months with a payout of $520
  • $35 per month for 24 months with a payout of $724
  • $48 per month for 24 months with a payout of $992
  • $150 per month for 24 months with a payout of $3076

How much can Self build your credit score?

Self uses an intuitive approach to help you build your credit and savings simultaneously. First, when checking eligibility for the Self Credit Builder Account1, Self doesn't do a hard inquiry that could negatively impact your credit score. They focus on targeting the largest contributing credit score factor - payment history, which accounts for 35% of your score. Self reports to three major credit bureaus, which could take anywhere from 1-3 months to start building your credit score. On average, customers that start with a credit score under 600 and make on-time payments see a *49 points increase3 in their credit score. However, if you make late payments or neglect other accounts, you won't see full results and could even have negative impacts.

* Average outcome for customers who opened a 12 month Credit Builder Account in Q1 2021, starting VantageScore 3.0 under 600, who made on-time payments. Other factors, including activity with your other creditors, may impact results.

How to apply for Self

Self makes the loan application process easy even for those with no credit score. There's also no hard credit check or hard inquiry that would hurt your credit score. However, there are some basic requirements that you need to qualify:

  • You need a bank account, debit card, or prepaid card to make your payments
  • You must be at least 18 years old and be a permanent U.S. resident or U.S. citizen, but Self's credit builder is available in all 50 states
  • There is no hard credit inquiry or income restrictions

Bottom line.

Self is one of the best credit building tools of 2023, and for good reason. With monthly payments that fit your budget and features like payment automation, it's a clear winner for anyone wanting to build savings or build their credit score in the future.

Whether you struggle to save or just want to build your credit score, Self is the best option to help you get back on track. With minimal fees and a reasonable APR, they offer the tools to help you build the future & finances of your dreams.

Looking to achieve financial freedom? Check out our other personal finance content, including our webinars, bookstore, and videos.

1Credit Builder Accounts & Certificates of Deposit made/held by Lead Bank, Sunrise Banks, N.A., SouthState Bank, N.A., First Century Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. Subject to credit approval.

2Sample loans: $25/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.92% APR; $35/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.97% APR; $48/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.72% APR; $150/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.88% APR. See self.inc/pricing

3A.Average outcome for customers who opened a 12 month Credit Builder account in Q1 2021, starting VantageScore 3.0 under 600, who made on-time payments. Other factors, including activity with your other creditors, may impact results.

B.Average outcome for customers who opened a 12 month Credit Builder account in Q1 2021, starting VantageScore 3.0 under 600, who made on-time payments. Other factors, including activity with your other creditors, may impact results. On-time payments does not mean full program completion and past performance based on this study does not guarantee future results. A credit score increase is not guaranteed.

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