Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card Review

Designed to help boost your credit score, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card is an innovative secured card that works differently than others on the market. You won't be required to make a certain security deposit, and there is no credit check required for approval.
By Jennifer Doss  CardRatings Editor  | Updated

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card
Our Rating:   
Poor, Bad
on Chime's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • No annual fees or interest, no credit check to apply, and no minimum security deposit required.
  • Build credit history with your own money - your direct deposit sets how much you can spend, spend up to that amount, and have your monthly balance automatically paid with your direct deposit.
  • Because the card doesn't have preset limits your credit utilization ratio is not reported to credit reporting companies.
  • You need to have a Chime Checking Account and direct deposit to apply. This is easy to set up, but if you prefer to stick with another bank, this could be a downside.
Terms and Limitations Apply.

Not everyone has the credit score needed to land a top tier rewards card. Maybe you're young and don't have a credit history yet. Or perhaps you overspent in the past and have missed payments.

Regardless of why your credit score is low, the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card is designed to help boost your number. It's an innovative secured card that works differently than others on the market. You won't be required to make a certain security deposit, and there is no credit check required for approval.

If this sounds like the card for you, keeping reading for everything you need to know about the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card.

HOW DOES THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED CARD WORK?

Like other secured credit cards, you will need to make a deposit to use the card. However, the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card treats that money differently than other cards would.

Here's a breakdown of exactly how the card works and the steps you need to take to use it:

  1. Open a Chime Checking Account: Only those with Chime Checking Accounts are eligible for the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card. If you don't have an account yet, one can be opened in minutes. You'll also have to set up direct deposits of $200 or more to open a secured card.
  2. Apply for the Chime Credit Builder Visa®: Once your checking account is in place, you can apply for the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa®. No credit check is required as part of the application process.
  3. Move money to your card: Using the Move My Pay option within the Chime app or a manual transfer, move money from your Chime Checking Account to your Chime Credit Builder Card. Money can't be transferred from another bank. Whatever amount you transfer - it's your choice - is your security deposit.
  4. Use your card: Now you're ready to use your card on purchases wherever Visa is accepted. The amount you transferred for your security deposit is your spending limit.
  5. Make payments: Payments can be made manually using a bank account, but a more convenient option may be to use the Chime Safer Credit Building feature. When turned on, this feature will automatically make payments using funds from your security deposit.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED CARD?

There are many reasons why the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card is a top choice for those with limited or low credit. Here are just a few of the reasons we like this card:

No fees or interest: If you're trying to build credit, you probably don't have a lot of extra money to spend on banking fees. With the Chime Credit Builder, you won't pay any fees or interest, other than a $2.50 transaction fee if you use an out-of-network ATM to withdraw cash.

No credit check: There's no need to have your credit checked to open a Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa®. Since every hard inquiry on your credit report can drop your score by a few points, that's especially good news for anyone trying to build credit.

Flexible security deposits: With Chime Credit Builder, you get to choose how much to transfer for your initial deposit and spending limit. What's more, you can use that money to pay off your balance at the end of the month, something most secured credit cards won't let you do.

No credit utilization reporting: Chime Credit Builder cards don't have preset limits so they don't report credit utilization ratios to the credit reporting companies. This ratio is the amount of credit you have used compared to your spending limit, and high utilization can negatively impact a credit score. But with Chime, you can spend all your security deposit and not worry about it affecting your score.

HOW TO BUILD CREDIT WITH THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED CARD

Building credit with the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card is easy. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Move money into your secured account.
  2. Keep monthly spending within your secured account limit.
  3. Pay off your balance each month, either with a bank payment or by using your security deposit.

Activating the Chime Safer Credit Building feature can ensure that you don't miss a payment and keep on track financially.

Chime reports to the three major credit reporting agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - and every on-time payment can help increase your score and demonstrate your creditworthiness.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED CARD?

Probably the biggest drawback of the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card is that you need to have a Chime Checking Account and direct deposit to apply. While it doesn't take long to set up that account, some people with established checking accounts may not be eager to add another bank account into the mix.

Also, while the card doesn't charge any interest, you also can't carry a balance. You need to pay off what you owe each month, meaning this is not a card to finance purchases.

Finally, you won't get any rewards or other perks with the Chime Credit Builder Secured Card. That isn't too surprising for a secured card, but if you are looking for rewards, there are a few secured cards out there that do offer them.

HOW DOES THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED CARD COMPARE TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS?

The Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card might be the right one for you, but you can't be sure until you see how it compares to other options. Here's how it stacks up against three popular secured credit cards.

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Like Chime Credit Builder, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card doesn't charge an annual fee and reports your credit history to all three credit reporting agencies. However, the similarities don't extend much beyond that.

With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card you can carry a balance but will pay interest charges to do so. You'll also need to make a security deposit between $200-$2,500. Starting at seven months, Discover will begin automatically reviewing your account to see whether they can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.

Another significant difference between the cards is that the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers rewards while the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® does not. Discover cardholders will receive 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover will also match all cash back earned, dollar-for-dollar, in the first year an account is open.

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card vs. Capital One Platinum Secured

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card comes with an initial $200 credit limit with an upfront security deposit of $49, $99 or $200. Cardholders can increase their credit limit by depositing up to $1,000 after the account is open. Capital One will also evaluate accounts every six months to determine whether they warrant a higher credit limit.

Unlike the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa®, the Capital One Platinum Secured Card charges a 26.99% (Variable) on balances. Late payments will result in a fee of up to $40, and there is a minimum $10 fee for cash advances; neither of which are charged by Chime Credit Builder.

The two cards are also alike in that they both report to the three main credit reporting agencies. Plus, neither offers cash back or travel rewards.

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Card vs. Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Both the Citi® Secured Mastercard® and the Chime Credit Builder Secured Card are intended to help people build credit. However, Chime Credit Builder is a charge card that won't let you maintain a balance while the Citi Secured is a more traditional credit card. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

Citi cardholders pay a security deposit equal to their credit limit: ranging from $200 to $2,500. Since the Citi® Secured Mastercard® lets people carry a balance, it also charges an interest rate that is currently set at 23.24% (Variable). It does allow you to select your payment date, but if you're late, the account could get assessed with a fee as high as $40.

Chime and Citi each report account information to the three major credit reporting agencies. However, Chime doesn't provide credit utilization details while, as a traditional credit card, Citi presumably does.

IS THE CHIME CREDIT BUILDER SECURED VISA® A GOOD CARD?

For those with a limited credit history or a low credit score, there isn't much reason not to try the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card. There is no credit check involved, no fees to pay and your security deposit won't get tied up and can be used to pay off purchases.

If you're still not sure, check out our list of the best secured credit cards to see what other options are available.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author\'s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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