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Looking to improve your credit score?
A credit builder loan could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
The problem is most credit builder loans lock your funds away until you’ve repaid the loan in full (plus fees). This can help improve your credit score. But it’s not so helpful when you’re short of cash – it can take up to TEN YEARS of payments before you get your savings back with loans like Credit Strong!
Thankfully, there are credit builder loans that can push your score in the right direction AND put money in your pocket.
We’ve scoured the market to bring you the top credit builder loans that offer money upfront. In this article, we’ll compare the best products to help you work on building your credit while still accessing the money you need to pay for life’s expenses.
Struggling with your credit score? Try these proven strategies:
- Start Building Your Credit for $5 a Month
- How to Build Your Credit Score at 18
- Grow Your Credit Score Watching Netflix (Seriously!)
Why is MoneyLion one of our favorite cash advance apps?
- Super speed - You could have up to $500 in your bank account in under 10 minutes!
- No, No, No! - No credit check, no interest, no tips, no late fees
- 🏗️ 💳 💵 - Get the only credit builder loan that gives you up to $1,000 right away, with no hard credit check2
What is a credit builder loan?
Credit builder loans are designed to help you improve your credit score.
The loan works by lending you a small amount of money, which is held in a savings account. As the borrower, you make regular payments over a fixed period of time.
Once the loan is repaid in full (including any fees), you get the funds in the savings account and any interest earned.
|Easier to qualify for than a traditional loan
|Funds borrowed are typically smaller than a traditional loan
|May improve your credit score
|May require an upfront deposit or other eligibility criteria
|Often come with lower interest rates than other loans
|Missing a payment can negatively impact your credit score.
According to badcredit.org, an estimated 16% of Americans have ‘bad’ credit and a further 18% have ‘fair’ credit. Credit builder loans can play an essential role for these people (and millions of Americans).
By establishing a positive payment history, you may improve your credit score over time. With a higher score, you may enjoy more options, lower interest rates and more lending options, whether you’re applying for a car loan, mortgage, or line of credit.
Do any credit builder loans give you money upfront?
Yes. Some credit builder loans give you some cash upfront. This can be helpful when you need immediate access to funds while still building your credit score. However, it’s important to research and compare different credit builder loans and their terms to find the best option for your needs.
Check out the following credit-building products that come with an immediate cash advance.
MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus – Borrow up to $1,000 with cash upfront
MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus offers up to $1,000 (APR ranges from 5.99% to 29.99%.) and, unlike most credit builder loans, can put several hundred bucks in your hand when you take out the loan – plus the ability to access instant, no-interest cash advances for up to $300 whenever you need a little extra spending money, too!
When you take out a Credit Builder Plus loan, you’ll have 12 months to repay it – so you won’t be locked in years of repayments and long-term interest rates. You can also set up your payment plan to match your paycheck schedule. This comes with the option of making multiple payments per month in smaller amounts to reduce any financial strain.
Monthly payments are usually less than $100. Or you can choose biweekly payments that are often less than $50. MoneyLion automates payments from your bank account, so you don’t have to worry about making late payments that can damage your credit score.
Here’s an example of what a Credit Builder Plus loan might look like for you…
If you qualify for an $899 Credit Builder Plus Loan, you'll receive $200 today and have $699 placed in your Credit Reserve Account. With a monthly payment plan, you would make twelve payments of $83.56 over the next twelve months (with a 23.99% APR). Once you make your last payment, your reserve account will be unlocked, and you'll have access to the $699. Your total payments will be $1,003, which includes $104 in finance charges.
Of course, Credit Builder Plus is designed to help build your credit score as you make on-time payments, too. Does it work? Well, more than half of MoneyLion borrowers see a 42 point increase in their credit score within 60 days.3 Your payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. A higher credit score could have a big impact on your ability to get approved for loans or credit cards, score bigger borrowing power, and may even reduce the interest rate and fees that you pay.
|???? Overdraft Apps Tip: Need a little extra cash to get you through? Credit Builder Plus customers are also eligible for Instacash. As MoneyLion’s famous, no-interest and no-fee cash advance, you can get up to $300 with a couple of taps on your MoneyLion app. Explore MoneyLion Instacash here.
Chime Credit Builder Card – Get creative to access up to $200 in fee-free overdrafts
OK, the Chime Credit Builder Card isn’t *technically* a credit builder loan… but it can be used to boost your credit score AND put cash in your hand.
The Chime Credit Builder Card is a secured credit card with zero interest and zero annual fees. It requires no credit check or minimum deposit and allows you to set your spending limits.
You’ll need to open a Chime checking account to qualify (there are no monthly fees, but you will need a direct deposit of $200 or more to unlock the Credit Builder Card). Once you’ve got your card, simply transfer funds from your Chime checking account into your secure Credit Builder Card account.
Since you’re only spending money you’ve got, there’s zero risk of overdrawing or spending your way into a financial hole. Your credit score may increase as every on-time payment is reported to the major credit bureaus.
Chime Credit Builder Card customers see an average credit score increase of 30 points!4
Now, here’s where you can get creative to get cash upfront…
With your Chime account, you’ll have two cards in your wallet:
- Chime Credit Builder Card
- Chime Visa® Debit Card
That second card comes with a handy SpotMe feature – which gives instant access to up to $200 in fee-free overdrafts via debit card purchases or ATM withdrawals.
With a Credit Builder Card and SpotMe, you can improve your credit and enjoy up to $200 with no overdraft fees or interest.5
No interest credit card and up to $200 with no overdraft fees >>> Check out Chime
SeedFi Borrow & Grow Loans – Great Product, but No Longer Offered (sad trombone)
SeedFi’s Borrow & Grow loan was an innovative financial product tailored for those looking to build their credit. What set this product apart from traditional loans was its dual-purpose design. Borrowers could immediately access a part of their loan for urgent needs, while the remaining amount was placed in a savings account. This structure not only provided immediate financial relief but also encouraged savings. Over time, as borrowers repaid the loan, they could access the saved amount, making it an attractive option especially for individuals with fair to poor credit scores.
The main benefit of the “Borrow & Grow” plan was its emphasis on financial growth and responsibility. By merging the features of a personal loan with a credit-builder loan, it addressed immediate financial needs and also promoted credit-building. The reserved savings component acted as a safety net, ensuring that by the end of the loan term, borrowers had a lump sum saved up. This was especially beneficial for those looking to cover unforeseen expenses while simultaneously building both credit and savings.
However, those interested in this unique offering should note that SeedFi has ceased accepting new applications for the “Borrow & Grow” loans. Following its acquisition by the tech financial giant, Intuit, in December 2022, SeedFi shifted its direction. By January 2023, the company’s CEO, Jim McGinley, confirmed that SeedFi would no longer be offering its personal loan services, marking the end of the “Borrow & Grow” product’s availability.
Which credit builder loan with money upfront will you use?
Waking up without the money you need to make it until payday can be a challenge.
Throw in a poor credit score that limits your borrowing options (and increases your interest rates), and life can become more challenging again.
A credit builder loan with money upfront can be an effective way to build your credit score and cover your expenses along the way. Remember to select a reputable lender with fees and borrowing limits that work for you.
You’ll be on the way to potentially establishing a positive credit history with cash in hand.
Oh, and before you go, you should also know about a new breed of credit builder products that can boost your credit score by dozens of points in just a few months.
Check out our most popular articles before you go for quick and easy cash:
- 9 Best Money Borrowing Apps of The Year (We Crown a Champion)
- The Popular New App Handing Out $150 Sign-Up Bonuses to New Users
- $100 Cash Advances With a Side of Wise-Ass Commentary (The No B.S App)
WAIT! Why borrow quick cash when you can earn it?!
Cash advance apps can be a great tool for getting a little extra cash when you need it, but you’ll need to repay it – plus fees – wihtin a week or two. Did you know there’s an easy way to earn extra cash that’s yours to keep?
KashKick is a wildly popular service that lets you earn money for playing games, completing surveys, signing up for trial offers and more. (You’ll even earn cash for just completing your profile!) You can earn cash today and withdraw your earnings through PayPal once you’ve reached $10. You can earn over $100/month with KashKick – and you don’t need to spend a dime or take out your credit card to do it.
There are dozens of high-paying offers available on KashKick, and if you’re into playing new games on your phone, you can earn some serious cash for doing what you love. Though offers change regularly, there are currently1 more than three dozen offers available where you can earn cash – sometimes over $100 – just by downloading and playing popular games like Coin Master, Monoply Go, Bingo Blitz, and more. These games are all free to download, and no in-app purchases are required to earn with KashKick.
Get paid to play on your phone >>> Check out KashKick
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- Bree App Review: Cash Advances up to a $250 but Watch out for Hidden Fees - February 15, 2024
- As of February 13, 2024. Offers may change and may not be available to all users. Eligibity requirements apply. See KashKick's Terms of Service for full details.
- When you apply for CreditBuilder Plus, MoneyLion will perform a soft credit pull to review certain financial information. This soft inquiry has no impact to your credit score and may or may not be recorded in your credit reports depending on the bureau. This is unlike a hard credit pull which affects your credit score and can appear on your credit report for two (2) years. Credit score improvement is not guaranteed. A soft credit pull will be conducted that has no impact to your credit score.
- Credit score improvement is not guaranteed. A soft credit pull will be conducted that has no impact on your credit score. Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus. Data was sourced from credit score data from over 74,000 Credit Builder Plus members with an active loan between August 7, 2019, and February 18, 2021. Credit score improvement is not guaranteed. Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus. MoneyLion is not a Credit Services Organization. Credit Builder Plus is an optional service offered by MoneyLion.
- Based on a representative study conducted by Experian®, members who made their first purchase with Credit Builder between June 2020 and October 2020 observed an average FICO® Score 8 increase of 30 points after approximately 8 months. On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score.
- Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Spending Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.