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

This product is unique in that it helps you ensure that money is set aside for the future, helps you develop a good credit score, and offers a credit card that you can use to make transactions.
By Jennifer Doss  CardRatings Editor  | Updated

Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card

Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card
Our Rating:   
No Credit, Bad, Fair
on Self's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • This card does not require a credit check for approval, so a hard inquiry will not appear on your credit report.
  • Choose your credit limit. You select your credit limit, which is based on the portion of your savings that you choose to act as collateral.
  • A mix of credit products will show up on your credit report, since both the loan and the credit card will be reported.
  • To earn the credit card, you must first open a Self Credit Build account. You would then need to make at least three monthly payments on time, save a minimum of $100, and keep the account in good standing. Once done you'll be eligible for the Self Visa® Credit Card. In the long term this isn't a bad thing, but if you're looking for something immediate, a more traditional secured card may be a better option for you.
Terms and Limitations Apply.

Qualifying for an unsecured credit card without an established credit history or with damaged credit can be a challenge. That’s where the Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card can come in. Part credit builder savings account, part secured credit card, it can put you on track toward good credit while you build savings and have a credit card to use for safe and convenient purchasing. 

HOW DOES THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD WORK?

The Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card is a combination of two products: the company’s Credit Builder savings account and a unique type of secured credit card. With it you can ensure that money is set aside for the future, help develop a good credit score, and have a credit card that you can use to make transactions. 

It begins with you opening a Credit Builder savings account. This account is designed to help people build or improve their credit scores via a small installment loan that is funded with your deposits. Instead of receiving the money you borrow, Self puts the funds into a locked FDIC-insured CD account. 

You would then need to make at least three monthly payments on time, save a minimum of $100, and keep the account in good standing. Once done you'll be eligible for a Self Visa® Credit Card. 

With the credit card, you select your credit limit, which is based on the portion of your savings that you choose to act as collateral. So if you have saved $500 and want to have a $300 credit limit, that amount would act as security while the remaining $200 would not be collateralized. Self reports all payments to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, so as long as you manage the account responsibly, you will work towards building your credit rating. 

When your loan is at a zero balance, you will have access to the money you borrowed, minus any associated interest and fees.

Top Features

 Cash Back on Gas
N/A
 Cash Back on Groceries
N/A
 Cash Back on Other
N/A

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD?

To get the Self Visa® Credit Card you need to be at least 18 years old, and be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident. You will also need a bank account and Social Security Number. 

You also have to open a Credit Builder Account with Self. There are four options from which to choose. Each has a one-time, non-refundable administrative fee of $9. That fee plus interest is deducted from the final amount you borrowed and save:

  • $25 monthly commitment - Requires $25 a month deposit for 24 months. At the end of the term you will receive $520. 
  • $35 monthly commitment - Requires $35 a month deposit for 24 months. At the end of the term you will receive $724. 
  • $48 monthly commitment - Requires $48 a month deposit for 12 months. At the end of the term you will receive $539. 
  • $150 monthly commitment - Requires $150 a month for 12 months. At the end of the term you will receive $1,663. 

After you decide on the right Credit Builder account for you, you would open the account and start to fund it. 

Every month you will make the payments, which will be deposited into the account for the term you chose. As long as you make the payments on time and at least in the agreed-upon payments, the account should be in good standing. You can get the credit card at any point after accumulating at least $100 and when a minimum of three on-time payments are recorded.  

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD?

The benefits of the Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card include: 

  • There is no credit check, so a hard inquiry will not appear on your credit report 
  • You don’t have to put down a large deposit
  • The ability to choose your own credit limit
  • A mix of credit products will show up on your credit report, since both the loan and the credit card will be reported 
  • You can use the card anywhere Visa® is accepted
  • You can increase your credit limit over time  

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD?

There are a few downsides to the Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card as well. For example:  

  • It has an annual fee of $25 
  • The administrative fee for the loan is $9, for either the 12 or 24 month term 
  • There is no rewards program, so you won’t be earning cash or points as you charge

HOW DOES THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD COMPARE TO OTHER CARDS?

There are a few other similar accounts to the Self Visa® Credit Card, so if you’re looking for a secured card designed for people with no or damaged credit histories, these three may be good alternatives.

Self Visa® Credit Card vs. Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

The Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card does not have an annual fee, and no interest is charged. Your credit limit will be the same as your deposit. It starts with you opening Chime spending account, and you will be able to use the money held in your that account to make your payments. Technically there is no minimum security deposit required, but you need at least $200 to open a Chime checking account, and because you need a Chime checking account to open a credit card account, you could consider the minimum to be $200. Your cash is never locked away.

Therefore, if you're looking for greater flexibility with a deposit right from the beginning, the Chime® Credit Builder Secured Credit Builder Visa® Card might be a more attractive than the Self Visa® Credit Card. 


Self Visa® Credit Card vs. Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card is an unsecured credit card that was developed for the person who doesn't have a traditional credit score. Instead, it uses other factors to determine qualification, such as your income and the amount you have saved. It also has cash back rewards so you can earn as much as 10% back at select merchants. (Petal credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC; note that if you have a credit score, it will be reviewed and considered as part of the application process.)

This card comes with no annual or foreign transaction fees, and because it's an unsecured card it does not require a security deposit. Credit limits on Petal® 1 can be anywhere from $300-$5,000. Through its Leap program, cardholders can earn a higher credit limit after six months assuming they make qualifying on-time payments and maintain their credit score within a personalized range.

The Petal® 1 may be the better choice over the Self Visa® Credit Card if you want to avoid paying a security deposit and can prove that you are a good credit risk based on alternative factors. 

Self Visa® Credit Card vs. Secured Sable ONE Credit Card

The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card is a rare secured card that offers rewards and perks. It offers up to 2% cash back on select purchases, as well as a dollar-for-dollar match on all the cash back earn at the end of your first year. It also includes cell phone damage protection in the event that your covered cell phone is stolen or damaged when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Sable card, which is a perk that’s unique for even the best unsecured rewards cards.

Your credit limit will be equal to the amount of security you put down, which can be up to $10,000. With responsible use your security deposit may be released to you in as little as four months. The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card may be a good choice over the Self Visa® Credit Card if you have an upfront cash deposit that you can set aside for a few months. 

IS THE SELF VISA® CREDIT CARD A GOOD CARD??

The Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card can be an excellent option if you want to either create or repair your credit rating. The fees are minimal, and you will get the benefit of forced savings with the locked deposit account. That can put you on the road to good financial health as you're increasing your credit score, since both the loan and credit card will be reported to the credit reporting agencies. It offers significant  flexibility with the different loan plans, too. With as little as $100 built up in savings, you can get a credit card without having to pass through a credit check. The downside is that the fees can be high without any rewards to balance out the cost. 

Self - Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card Compared to Other Cash back Cards

Apply online for Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card
Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card
Apply online for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply online for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply online for Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Cash Back on Gas
N/A 
Cash Back on Gas
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on Gas
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on Gas
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Groceries
N/A 
Cash Back on Groceries
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on Groceries
6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) 
Cash Back on Groceries
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on Groceries
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on other
N/A 
Cash Back on other
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on other
1% Cash Back on other purchases. 
Cash Back on other
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on other
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
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Petal credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
Apply Now
Terms and Limitations Apply

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.

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