Credit Building Apps Like Credit Strong (Access Thousands Upfront + Build Your Credit)

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A poor credit score makes life tough in more ways than one. Your credit score often determines whether you can buy a new car, get approved for a loan, secure a mortgage or even land a new job (yep, your credit score is THAT big of a deal). Credit builder loans like Credit Strong may help improve your credit score and sock away some savings. However, Credit Strong’s long loan term means you could be stuck paying off your loan for a full decade! To help you figure out the best option for you, we’ve rounded up the top credit-building apps like Credit Strong.

Credit Strong website on computer screen

Credit Strong can help you quickly boost your credit by 25 points and build up $1,000 in savings for just a $15 monthly payment. However, you don’t receive any money upfront. You’ll need to make those $15 monthly payments for ten years to get your $1,000 and pay $815 in interest and fees along the way.

So are there loan apps like Credit Strong that suit you better?

If you’re struggling with a subprime credit score, you may already have been stung by high interest rates and fees. While people with strong credit can earn hundreds of dollars a year in cash back or credit card rewards points, a low credit score can keep you from getting approved for any loans or credit cards!

When it comes to strategies that can move the needle on your credit score, forget credit repair companies who claim to have a “quick fix”. Hint: they don’t. Building your credit score takes time. Using a credit builder loan can improve your score and help you enjoy greater access to certain financial products.

Credit Strong is one of the most popular credit builder loans, but does that make them the best option? 

We’ll answer that question for you right now.

How do credit builder loans work?

Unlike a traditional loan, where you’re given your funds upfront and have to pay back the principal plus interest, credit builder loans place your funds in a locked savings account and help you rebuild or establish your credit as you demonstrate a positive payment history.

As you make regular payments, they are reported to the major credit bureaus. Payment history is the largest component of your credit score. Just a few months of on-time payments can contribute to a significant increase. Once your loan is paid off (including any interest and fees), the savings account is unlocked, and you receive the loan proceeds. This is how you build up some savings while building up your credit score.

Since the amount you’re borrowing is held as collateral, there’s less risk involved from lenders. This makes credit builder loans affordable and easy to qualify for. Many have no credit check requirements. This makes them an effective way to work on your credit score no matter what your credit looks like today!

How does a Credit Strong credit builder loan work?

Credit Strong offers small, affordable credit builder loans for $1,000 or $2,500. You can start building your credit for just $15/month. 

Each plan helps you build up some savings as you work on your credit. Since there’s no hard credit inquiry, you won’t have to worry about your credit score dropping. Whether you’re borrowing a little or a lot, every plan is risk-free, meaning:

  • No credit score required
  • No upfront security deposit
  • No credit check (easy approval)
  • Cancel any time (at no cost)

For example, with the Build 1000 plan, you would make 120 monthly payments of $15 (plus the $15 administrative fee), which totals $1,815. You will receive back $1,000 at the end of the plan, so the total finance charge is $815.

Credit Strong has over 1 million customers with products built for people with bad credit. That means no stressing over whether you’ll be approved, and with free credit score monitoring, you can track your progress.

Is Credit Strong sounding like the right app for you so far? 

Before you apply (it only takes a few minutes!), it’s worth comparing credit-building apps like Credit Strong for access to the best credit-building products that suit your needs and lifestyle. 

Although credit builders have been shown to boost credit scores (Credit Strong customers see their scores improve by an average of 25 points within three months of opening their account), there are downsides to be aware of. For example, credit builder loans won’t release your cash until your loan is repaid. You may be stuck without the money you desperately need. Credit Strong’s loans have a ten-year term, so you could make payments (including interest) for a full decade before receiving your loan proceeds!

Since knowledge is power, here are some of our favorite alternatives.

Credit builder loan alternatives to Credit Strong

We’ve broken down the full pros and cons in our in-depth Credit Strong review, but if you’re looking for upfront cash or different financial features, it helps to know what’s out there. To help you avoid unnecessary fees and headaches, here are the best credit-building apps like Credit Strong.

SeedFi Borrow & Grow – Access up to $4,000 right NOW while building your credit 

seedfi loans can increase your credit score

SeedFi’s Borrow & Grow plan1 is a personal loan and credit builder in one. 

First-time borrowers are eligible for loans from $1,500 to $8,000 with $300 to $4,000 upfront (repayment periods range from 10 to 48 months, and APRs range from 11.59% to 29.99%)2 so you can deal with any urgent expenses. The rest of your SeedFi loan is locked in a savings account until you repay in full with payments reported to the three main credit bureaus which may increase your credit score3. Then, the funds are yours to use in any way you like. Spend them, save them, invest them, it’s up to you!

Here’s an example of how you might use SeedFi’s Borrow & Grow Plan.

Let’s say you need to borrow $500 for car repairs. 

You can quickly and easily apply online with SeedFi.  You can see what you qualify for without impacting your credit score.  

Once you choose the offer that meets your needs, you can choose how much of your loan you want upfront and how much to deposit in your locked savings account. Let’s say you want $500 for car repairs and $500 for savings later. 

Your upfront amount is typically available within a few days. The remaining amount is yours once you repay the full $1,000 you’ve borrowed (plus interest) over your repayment period. Now you don’t need to stress about your car repairs AND have funds left over for a rainy day!

You can see how much you’ll qualify for on the SeedFi website in a few minutes without impacting your credit score.4

Access up to $4,000 for less >>> Check out the SeedFi Borrow & Grow Plan

MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus – Access some money upfront while you save & build your credit

MoneyLion app displayed on a phone screen

Most credit builder loans lock your funds and hand you the keys when you’ve met all your repayment obligations. This is great for building credit – not so great when you need a little extra cash.

MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus solves this problem by giving you a portion of your funds right away. The remainder is locked in a savings account. This is alongside access to 0% APR cash advances for up to $300 when you need some extra cash along the way!

Applying for Credit Builder Plus provides loans up to $1,000 (5.99% to 29.99% APRs). A portion of the funds available upfront and the rest when you complete your repayments.

DID YOU KNOW: Over half of Credit Builder Plus customers see their credit score increase by more than 42 points within 60 days of opening an account?

Get funds while you save and build credit >>> Check out MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus

Chime Credit Builder Secured Credit Card – No-interest and no-fee credit card to boost your credit score

Chime app on phone screen held by woman in a pink shirt

Chime Credit Builder is a no-interest and no-annual-fee credit card that can also help boost your credit score by 30 points. If you’re one of the millions of people with credit card debt (14% of Americans have over $10,000 in credit card debt), adding *another* credit card can seem daunting.

Chime removes this fear with a card that’s practically debt-proof. Although the Credit Builder card shares the same purpose as traditional secured credit cards, the similarities end there. Chime’s credit building card requires no credit check, no minimum deposit and $0 in annual fees.

Instead of borrowing against a maximum limit, you set aside money in advance to pay your credit card bill. This amount becomes your new limit, so there’s no way to spend more than your means. Each on-time payment can help you build credit.

You will need to open a Chime account and receive a qualifying direct deposit to your checking account. There are also no rewards or upgrade paths attached to your card. But if you’re just looking to buff out a few scratches and dents in your credit score, the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card can help.

Get a 0% APR credit card with no credit check  >>> Build credit with Chime

Kikoff Credit – Build your credit for just $5/month

hand holding phone with Kikoff Credit on screen

Kikoff costs just $60, payable over 12 months – so you can build your credit for only five bucks a month!

Customers with a credit score below 600 see their credit scores increase by 27 points after just one month! Over time, customers who started with a score below 600 see that increase more than double to 58 points5

Apply online – there’s no credit check – and Kikoff will create a $750 revolving line of credit in your name. You can only use the line of credit to purchase at Kikoff’s online store. This store contains a variety of eBooks on personal finance, wellness and other topics, starting at $10 each.  You’re not obligated to purchase anything, and the monthly Kikoff membership payments are reported to Equifax and Experian, which can positively impact your credit score.

Kikoff does not charge interest (0% APR), late fees, administrative fees, or other fees (just the $5 monthly payment for your membership). With just a $60 price tag, Kikoff can greatly impact your credit score. All without taking a big bite out of your wallet.

Build your credit for just $5/month >>> Check out Kikoff Credit


​​How we picked these apps

To come up with this list of credit builder apps, we picked the top loan apps like Credit Strong, hit the ‘downloaded’ button, and spent time comparing features and reading T’s & C’s. We considered loan features, including total funds, availability of funds, APRs and loan repayment schedules. We also looked for additional features that might help people looking to rebuild or establish their credit. These include soft or hard credit checks, borrowing limits and additional financial features. We may receive a referral fee if you purchase or use some of the products described in this article.

  1. Sample Borrow & Grow Plan: Amount Financed: $7,000 ($3,500 accessed up front and $3,500 locked in savings), APR: 24.99%, Finance Charge: $3,318, Total of Payments: $10,318, Payment Schedule: 85 biweekly payments of $120 and one final payment of $118. The payment schedule spans 40 months.
  2. Advertised rates and terms will be subject to change without notice. Your actual APR and other loan terms will be shown to you as part of the online application process.)
  3. Based on a simulation conducted with TransUnion® data, customers who opened a SeedFi Credit Builder Plan from March 2021 through August 2021 would have shown an average increase of 41 points on their VantageScore 3.0 credit score if they had added a Credit Builder Prime to their credit profile and made on-time payments on all of their credit accounts for 6 months. Individual results may vary, and late payments can have a negative effect on your credit score.
  4. If you check your offers, SeedFi issues a soft credit inquiry, which does not impact your credit score and is not visible to creditors. If you select a SeedFi loan offer and continue with your application, SeedFi will issue a hard credit inquiry, which may affect your credit score. Personal loans and banking services provided by SeedFi’s bank partner, Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.
  5. Based on Kikoff customers that used the Credit Account product and made consistent on-time payments during account lifetime. This data is based on observed VantageScore 3.0 credit score changes. Payment behavior can impact your credit score, and individual results may vary. Data current as of March 2022.

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