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8 Best Credit Building Tools For Bad Credit

December 20, 2022

In today's world, having a good credit score is essential. It plays a significant role in various aspects of our lives, from getting a loan, renting an apartment, or even securing a job. Unfortunately, many people struggle with bad credit, which can have a detrimental impact on their financial wellbeing. If you find yourself in this situation, worry not! 

There are several credit-building tools available that can help you improve your credit score and regain control of your financial life. In this blog post, we will discuss what credit-building tools are, how they can help you, and provide a list of the 8 best credit-building tools of 2023 to get you on the path to financial success.

What are Credit Building Tools and How Do They Help?

Credit-building tools are financial products or services specifically designed to help individuals with bad credit or limited credit history improve their credit scores. These tools work by either helping you establish a new line of credit or enhancing your existing credit profile. They function by reporting your responsible financial behavior, such as timely payments and low credit utilization, to the credit bureaus. As a result, your credit score gradually improves over time.

Using credit-building tools effectively requires discipline, consistency, and a commitment to responsible financial habits. By utilizing these tools and ensuring you make timely payments, maintain low balances, and avoid applying for multiple new credit lines simultaneously, you can witness a steady improvement in your credit score.

Some common types of these credit-building tools are: 

  • Revolving credit products 
  • Secured credit card
  • Credit builder loans
  • Debit cards that build credit
  • Credit monitoring services
  • Credit reporting services

In these categories, we chose the 8 best credit-building tools for you to consider. Remember to compare different financial products to see their features, benefits and fees to see which one satisfies your needs best. 

8 Best Credit Building Tools Of 2023

In this section, we will delve into the features and benefits of various credit-building tools available in 2023. These tools are specifically designed to help individuals with bad credit or limited credit history improve their credit scores. Some of them don’t even require credit checks, which makes them more available. 

Cheese Credit Builder

Cheese Credit Builder provides a refreshingly simple way for individuals to build credit while also helping them save money and create emergency funds for future use. 

By making monthly payments to a deposit account offered by Cheese, customers can rest assured that their on-time payments will be reported to all three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. 

Once the loan term is completed, you'll get your money back, minus the interest. The only cost involved is the APR (5%-16%), with no hidden fees such as administration, membership, late charges, or upfront deposits. 

Standing out among other credit builder loans discussed in this article, Cheese Credit Builder brings the most flexible repayment plans. Users can choose from loan amounts of $500, $1,000, or $2,000 and loan terms of either 12 or 24 months. If you're ready to embark on your credit-building journey, you can easily sign up here and get instant approval right away.


Self offers credit-building loans specifically designed to help you enhance your credit standing. As you progressively pay off the small loan amount, the funds become accessible once all payments have been made. Throughout the repayment period, your money is held in a Certificate of Deposit (CD).

Users have the flexibility to opt for monthly payments of $25, $35, $48, or $150, depending on their desired spending and the final amount they wish to access at the end of the loan term. The APR charged by Self ranges from 15.58% to 15.97%, which is relatively high in comparison to other credit builder loans like Cheese Credit Builder. Additionally, Self charges a $9 administrative fee, making it somewhat more expensive.

Self is probably the most available credit builder loan - it serves people from all 50 states. Self claims that it has assisted more than 1 million consumers in enhancing their credit scores.

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Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is a well-regarded option for individuals seeking to rebuild or establish their credit. 

A key advantage of the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is its refundable security deposit. Based on the deposit amount, cardholders can determine their credit limit, making the card accessible to a diverse range of consumers, irrespective of their financial situation.

As cardholders exhibit responsible credit usage and maintain consistent on-time payments, they may become eligible to graduate to an unsecured card. This progression not only enhances their credit profile but also opens up opportunities for more favorable credit products and improved financial prospects.

Here are its features: 

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Fee: Up to $40
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0
  • APR: 28.49% variable rate. (Bank of America, US Bank, and Citi all offer secured credit cards with around a 26% to 27% APR)
  • Deposit: The minimum security deposit required can be $49, $99, or $200 to open your account, with an initial credit line of $200. 
  • Rewards: None
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Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a top choice for individuals working to build or repair their credit. 

What sets the Discover it® Secured Credit Card apart from many other secured credit cards is its cashback rewards program. Cardholders can earn rewards on their everyday purchases, making it not only a tool for credit building but also an opportunity to receive additional value.

Another advantage of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is the potential for a credit limit increase without the need for an additional security deposit. By demonstrating responsible credit usage and on-time payments, cardholders may be eligible for this benefit after a certain period of time.

Here are its features: 

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Fee: Up to $41 (except for the first time you pay late)
  • APR: 25.99% variable rate. (Capital One Platinum Secured credit card comes with a 28.49% variable APR)
  • Deposit: The minimum deposit required for the Discover Secured credit card is $200. This will be your credit limit until you are eligible for a review.
  • Rewards: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter; 1% cash back on all other purchases; 2x Cashback Match (you get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year)
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Kikoff is a unique service designed to help individuals build and improve their credit scores. Their primary offering, the Kikoff Credit Account, provides users with a $750 interest-free credit line exclusively for purchases made on the Kikoff online store. 

The service charges a $5 monthly fee, while eliminating interest and late fees, simplifying the repayment process. As a revolving credit option rather than a credit builder loan, Kikoff functions similarly to a secured credit card, allowing users to grow their credit by purchasing and lowering credit utilization. 

The Kikoff Credit Account reports to Equifax and Experian. It offers a quick and easy sign-up process with no credit checks, and instant approval. 

Grow Credit

Grow Credit is a special service that helps people build and improve their credit scores in a new way. Users can pay for subscriptions and regular bills, like streaming services and phone bills, with the Grow Credit Mastercard®. This turns normal expenses into chances to build credit.

The platform has an easy-to-use mobile app, which makes building credit simple. Grow Credit offers different membership plans for various financial needs, so each user gets a personalized experience. For example, there’s a free plan with a $17 credit line for users with few subscription expenses. While this basic "Starter" plan is free, but there are monthly fees for the "Plus" and "Premium" plans, up to $9.99/month. These plans give higher credit limits and faster credit-building.

Grow Credit reports to all three big credit bureaus. This means it's a great way to boost your credit score. By focusing on everyday expenses and offering different membership choices, Grow Credit makes credit-building easier and more flexible for everyone.

Experian Boost

Experian Boost is a special, free service from Experian, a top credit bureau. It helps people improve their credit scores by including financial activities that were not counted before.

When you connect your bank account to Experian Boost, it can see your utility and phone bill payment history. Then, it adds these on-time payments to your credit file. This new method lets users see a quick increase in their credit scores by rewarding good financial habits that were not considered earlier. Experian Boost is changing how credit scores are figured out, making it more fair and helpful for everyone.

Extra Debit Card

Extra is a special debit card that helps users build credit while keeping the ease and control of a debit card. Unlike regular credit cards, Extra doesn't need a credit check or charge interest. Users can link their Extra card to their bank account and use it for daily purchases.

Every time users buy something with the Extra card, they can earn reward points. These points can be traded for different perks. Extra reports on-time payments to credit bureaus, so users can build and improve their credit scores without the risks of credit cards.

For Extra's basic credit building service, you'll be charged $149 per year. This service includes reporting spending to Experian and Equifax, as well as access to a financial tracking app.

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Things To Pay Attention When Choosing Credit Building Tools

When choosing credit-building tools, consider these five essential factors to ensure you're making the best decision for your financial needs and goals:

Fees and charges

Investigate any fees associated with the credit building tool, including annual fees, monthly fees, or interest charges. Compare costs across various options to make sure you select a tool that fits your budget while providing the credit-building benefits you seek.

Reporting to credit bureaus

To maximize the impact on your credit score, opt for a tool that reports your payment history to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). This comprehensive reporting will help you build a strong and consistent credit history.

Flexibility and accessibility

Assess the available options, such as varying credit limits, repayment terms, or membership plans, to ensure the tool can be tailored to your specific financial situation. Additionally, look for tools that don't require a credit check or a high credit score, making them accessible to individuals with bad credit or no credit history.

Rewards and benefits

Some credit-building tools offer extra perks, like cashback rewards or access to financial tracking tools. Evaluate these benefits and choose a tool that provides the most value for you. These additional features can enhance your credit-building experience and provide added incentives to use the tool consistently.

Reviews and effectiveness

Research user experiences and read reviews or testimonials to gain insights into the tool's effectiveness and any potential drawbacks. Look for tools with a proven track record of helping users improve their credit scores, as this is ultimately the main goal of using a credit-building tool.

Build Credit With Cheese Easily

After reading the reviews of these credit-building tools, have you made up your mind to use one? If so - 

Cheese Credit Builder is an excellent credit-building tool that offers a simple and affordable way to improve your credit score. With Cheese Credit Builder, you can easily build credit by paying a monthly deposit, which Cheese will report to all three major credit bureaus. Additionally, Cheese Credit Builder offers flexible repayment plans and no hidden fees, making it a smart choice for anyone looking to build their credit. 

If you're interested in improving your credit score and gaining financial independence, sign up for Cheese Credit Builder today and start building your credit with confidence!

Cheese Credit Builder

Cheese helps you build credit and save money on autopilot.

- No Credit Check or Admin Fees
- Get a Custom Credit Builder Loan
- Build Your Credit and Save Money