Having a low credit score can affect you in many ways. For example, it may impact your ability to take out a loan, and loans you get approved for can be more expensive. In addition, it can make it harder to get a mortgage or rent somewhere to live, and it can even impact your job hunt.
As such, improving your credit score may be in your best interests—and credit builder apps can help.
The 13 best credit-building apps you can use are:
- Credit Strong
- Grow Credit
- Experian Boost
- Credit Karma
- Credit Sesame
How Credit Building Apps Work
Credit-building apps work in different ways to improve your credit score.
They typically do this by giving you a small loan that you can repay over a few months. After that, they report your payment history to the credit bureaus, and as long as you make the payments, you can build your score.
Some help you to save money at the same time. With these, you essentially pay back a loan, and once it is paid back, you get access to the money.
Others allow you to improve your credit score while you spend on a debit card, and some help with your credit utilization.
There are several credit builder apps, and while some are free, some offer a paid service. Here are some of the best-paid credit apps you can try.
Kikoff gives you an instantly approved credit line with no credit check. You can then use this credit line to make purchases in the Kikoff store.
While you are given a $750 line of credit, the items in the store start from as little as $10. This means you can keep spending at a minimum, which helps with credit utilization.
This is a ratio of how much of your available credit you use. If you only spend $10, for example, your credit utilization will be a low rate of about 2%.
There are two products available. The Kikoff Credit Account is the main product and costs $5 per month. The Kikoff Credit Builder Loan is an optional extra that costs $10 per month.
Kikoff sends you reminders so you pay on time each month, and it then reports your repayments to the credit bureaus. There is no time limit, and you can pay the balance off at any time.
MoneyLion offers several services, one of which is Credit Builder Plus. This service gives you a loan with low-interest rates and no hard credit check.
The aim is that you can use the loan to start building credit immediately. You can then make automatic payments or pay manually. The more you pay back on time, the more you build your credit score.
You can also view your credit scores and get credit monitoring, and the app reports to the major credit bureaus. This is a membership service, and you will be charged $19.99 monthly.
Credit Strong has three pricing plans: Revolv, Instal, and Magnum. The idea is that you are given a loan, the maximum being $10,000, and when you repay the loan, the app reports these repayments to the credit bureaus.
Revolv is the basic plan to help you build revolving credit and optimize utilization. You get a $500 revolving credit account with no hard credit check. When you make monthly payments on time, you can get an increase in credit, up to $1,000. It reports repayments to the three major credit bureaus and costs $99 per year.
The Instal plan gives you installment credit from $1,000 to $2,500, and it costs from $15 per month. The Magnum plan costs from $55 per month and focuses on building more credit.
Getting approved is easy, and you can cancel at any time. However, it is quite expensive compared to other services.
Self allows you to save money while essentially paying off a loan and building your credit score simultaneously. You simply choose your dollar amount and payment term, and you must pay off your account within the specified time.
Every payment you make builds your credit history as well as your savings. The idea is that when you have paid off the total amount, you get access to the money.
There are several plans, starting with the Small Builder. With this plan, you pay $25 per month for 24 months, and there is a $9 admin fee. You will make total payments of $600 and get back $520 in savings, so it costs you $89. Other plans go up to $150 a month.
Many lenders use FICO® scores, and MyFico gives you access to your FICO scores for $19.95 per month.
However, this basic package only includes Experian credit reports. To get reports from all three major credit bureaus, you must pay $29.95 per month or $39.95 per month.
Packages also come with extras like identity monitoring and ID theft insurance.
MyFICO is a service that gives you a greater understanding of your credit rather than being used to build your score. Using it does not hurt your score, and you can then use the information you find to apply for loans with more confidence.
Extra provides you with a debit card rather than a credit card, and it allows you to build your score while using the card for your normal purchases.
Every time you spend on the debit card, the service spots you the money and then pays itself back the next day. So you are essentially taking out a small loan and paying it back.
It reports your repayments to the credit bureaus to build your credit score over time without worrying about missed payments or interest charges.
The basic plan costs $149 per year. Alternatively, you can pay $199 per year for the same service but with the additional option of earning rewards points on your purchases.
Sequin is specially designed for women. It costs $120 per year, and for that, you get a debit card and access to Sequin University, which provides insights into boosting your credit. It claims that the average user increases their credit score by 20 points in one week.
Users also earn rewards when they spend on the debit card on women-focused brands.
First, you will need to connect it to your bank account. After doing this, you can spend on the debit card and get access to credit scores as well as recommendations based on your spending habits.
Don’t want to spend money on a service that helps you improve your credit score? Here are some of the best free credit builder apps to check out.
SeedFi is a free app where you can take out a small loan and improve your payment history while avoiding late fees and interest charges.
The Credit Builder Prime plan is free and does not require a credit check. You can choose from as little as $10 per pay period as a small loan, which you repay. The app reports repayments to the major credit bureaus so you can build your score.
In addition, once you repay $500, you can access the funds, so it’s a way to save too.
There is also a Borrow & Grow plan where you can borrow up to $4,000, but you will have to pay interest.
Grow Credit gives you a free virtual MasterCard that you can use to pay for your regular monthly subscriptions like Netflix. By paying your regular expenses, you can build credit with the service without spending any extra money than you normally would.
The spending limit each month is very limited, starting at $17. This service is free, but it also offers paid plans with greater limits.
For example, the Build Secure plan costs $1.99 per month, and you are eligible to upgrade once you have made six monthly payments. The Grow & Save plan has higher limits but costs up to $7.99 per month.
10. Credit Karma
With Credit Karma, you can access your credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion to provide useful insight into the factors that impact your score.
The service provides recommended actions to increase your score, credit alerts, and the ability to track your progress. You can also get curated offers based on your credit score.
Karma Confidence also provides approval odds to help you decide whether to apply for credit cards and personal loans.
When you join Sable, you can order a secured credit card. There are no credit checks, and you get a free FDIC-insured bank account and secured credit card.
However, you need to deposit your own money to secure the credit card loan, and the credit limit will equal this (e.g., deposit $100 and receive $100 in credit).
With the Graduation Program, you can work your way to unsecured credit by making your monthly payments in four months.
It has a 98% approval rate and is also available for non-US citizens before they arrive, and you can get 2% cash back spending on the card.
12. Experian Boost
Experian Boost is a service offered by Experian, one of the major credit reporting agencies. It is a free service that helps you improve your Experian score and provides insight into your existing score.
You connect it to your bank or credit card account, and it reviews your sending patterns to identify your regular payments like memberships and rent. If you have a positive payment history, this can help to give your score a boost.
The basic account is free, or you can pay to access credit monitoring. However, this service does not work with all bank accounts.
Credit Sesame is a free app you can use to get your monthly credit score from Experian, making it easier to monitor your score. Using the service, you can get a daily update to keep close track of it.
You can also find offers via the app for credit cards and personal loans, which are matched for you based on your credit score so you can see your chances of approval. It also provides a Sesame Cash debit card with cashback.
These apps can help you build your credit score, but there are other options you may want to consider:
- Pay your bills on time every month.
- Don’t keep applying for loans and credit cards regularly.
- Spend a small amount on your credit card each month and pay it back in full instead of using your debit card.
- Take out a small personal loan and pay it back on time each month.
- Keep your utilization rate low by only accessing a small amount of the total credit you can use.
Questions about credit building apps? Check out these FAQs for answers:
Do credit-building apps work?
Yes, these apps have been shown to work. They are all slightly different, so choose the one that suits you best. But in general, they can help you to improve your credit score.
How can I raise my credit score 100 points overnight?
Some apps claim that you can improve your credit score rapidly, but probably not by 100 points overnight. You often need to use the services for a few days or weeks to see improvements in your score.
What is the fastest way to build my credit score?
These apps are a good place to start. They are dedicated to this service and report your payments to the credit bureaus, so you know that you have been working on your credit score from day one.
What is the smartest way to build credit?
One of the smartest ways is to use a service like Extra, where you spend on a debit card but build credit simultaneously. So the same payments you normally make now work towards improving your score.
Start Building Your Credit Score Today
You can use these apps to improve your credit score if you have a bad credit score or no credit score. Remember that if you are planning to take out a loan, improving your credit score can help you save money on the overall cost, so the cost of improving your score can be worthwhile. Look at the options above and decide which is most suitable for you in your situation, then try one out and start improving your credit score