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How Does Chime Credit Builder Work? Our Review

How Does Chime Credit Builder Work? Our Review

Most people want to improve their credit scores. If you have a poor credit score, you may be curious about Chime Credit Builder.

Chime Credit Builder is a secured credit card that lets you build your credit history. It helps accountholders boost their credit score with on-time payments, an improved credit mix, and a good credit history.

Discover how this card works, as well as who should take advantage of it.

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Chime Credit Builder Review

Those who want to improve their credit score will likely see benefits from Chime Credit Builder. But before you sign up for this card, make sure you understand what it is and how it works.

What Is Chime Credit Builder?

Chime Credit Builder is technically the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card. As a secured credit card, it has minimal requirements. There is no annual fee. Because it is secured, there is no interest rate. You also don't need to pass a credit check to apply.

Another convenient feature is that Chime doesn't have a minimum deposit for its Credit Builder card.

How Do Secured Credit Cards Work?

Because this is a secured credit card, you should refresh your memory on how this type of card works.

With a secured credit card, you make an initial deposit, and that deposit amount becomes your credit limit. Then, you use and pay the card statements like you would with any other credit card.

Secured credit cards have more lenient requirements because there is minimal to no risk for the card issuer. If the cardholder doesn't pay on time, the owed balance is subtracted from the deposit. Because the credit card limit depends on the deposit, the issuer will not lose money.

At the same time, the cardholder gets to build their credit with a secured card. This is because the card will appear on their credit report. While there, it can influence their on-time payments, credit utilization ratio, credit history, and credit mix. By improving all of these factors, it can improve the credit score overall.

Additionally, you don't have to worry about missed payments hurting your credit score. After all, you will not miss any payments with a secured Chime card. On top of that, your balance cannot go to collections and further lower your score, as you cannot have missed payments to begin with.

Chime Credit Builder Review

As a secured credit card, Chime Credit Builder is a good option for those with poor or no credit to build their credit. But there are also numerous other similar cards available. To decide whether this Chime card is the ideal choice for you, you will want to understand its features and other details.

How It Builds Your Credit Score

Because it is a secured credit card, Chime Credit Builder will help you accumulate on-time payments in your payment history. To ensure you get the most benefit from this, Chime reports to all three credit bureaus.

According to Chime, members notice their scores increase by an average of 30 points.

Chime will not affect your credit utilization, which is one of the factors influencing your credit score. This comes from the fact that it doesn't have a limit pre-set and that Chime doesn't report credit utilization.

As a bonus, Chime doesn't do a hard credit check when you apply. This is important for two reasons. First, you don't have to worry about your credit score affecting your approval. More importantly, the lack of hard inquiry means that your score won't temporarily dip. That said, opening the account may temporarily shorten your average credit history length. This can lead to a temporary dip.

How to Start Using Chime Credit Builder

Before starting using Credit Builder, you will need to open a Chime Checking Account. Your checking account must have qualifying direct deposits of at least $200. These must have been in the last 365 days. If you don't already have a Chime Checking Account, you can open one in a few minutes.

From there, you can set up your Chime Credit Builder account. As part of this process, you simply transfer some money from your checking account into your Credit Builder Account.

Remember that the amount you transfer will become your spending limit with the card.

From there, you can use the credit card just like you would any other card. Make your payments on time, and Chime reports them to the credit bureaus.

Be sure to turn on the Safer Credit Building feature to avoid late payments. This feature will automatically pay the balance on time.

Highlight: You Can Use Your Deposit to Pay the Balance

One highlight of this credit builder compared to other secured credit cards is that you can use your balance to pay your monthly statement. Many other secured cards do not offer this ability. With those cards, you cannot get that initial deposit back until you close your account. Depending on your financial situation, that may be problematic or unrealistic.

The fact that you can use the deposit to pay your statement lets you handle unexpected situations.

Safer Credit Building – Chime's Autopay

Another related highlight is the Safer Credit Building feature mentioned above. This is Chime's version of autopay.

If you enable this feature, when you make a purchase, that purchase amount in your Credit Builder account is put on hold. Then, Chime automatically uses the held money to pay your balance when your statement is due.

Related post: How Long Does It Take To Build Credit?

The Important Caveat: You Need a Chime Checking Account

It is very important to note that Chime Credit Builder requires you to have a Chime Checking Account. If you don't want to open a checking account with Chime, there are other secured credit cards that don't require a specific checking account. These will, however, still require a deposit of some sort.

Additionally, this is not necessarily a significant negative for most people. That is because you can open a Chime Checking Account in minutes, and there are no maintenance or monthly fees. This means that you can essentially create a checking account, put some money in there, and mostly leave the account alone.

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Fraud Protection

Chime has several measures in place to put cardholders in complete control. These include the ability to instantly disable your card. This is incredibly useful for preventing fraud, such as if you suspect your card information was compromised.

Another feature that protects against fraud is the ability to turn on transaction notifications. This feature will give you real-time alerts every time there is a transaction.

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Use It Like Any Other Visa

The Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card is a Visa. This means that you can use it just like any other Visa card. In other words, it is accepted in most places, both in-person and online.

Fee-Free Cash Advances

Like many credit cards, you can use Chime's secured card to get a cash advance. This is when you withdraw money from your credit card at an ATM, and it appears on your next billing cycle. Most cards charge high cash advance fees and possibly interest.

If you get your cash advance from an in-network ATM, there are no fees from Chime Credit Builder. You can easily find in-network ATMs via the Chime app. Furthermore, there are more than 60,000 in-network ATMs, so you likely have at least several by you.

24/7 Support

Another highlight of Chime Credit Builder is its access to 24/7 phone support.

No Fees or Interest

Compared to other secured credit cards, Chime stands out because it charges no annual fees and interest rates. Some competitors will have no fees or no interest, but few like Chime have both. The fact that Chime can offer both comes from the fact that you can use your deposit to pay off your balance – a feature few other secured cards offer.

No Rewards

The focus of Chime Credit Builder is to help cardholders build their credit. Because of this, you will not accumulate any rewards from using Chime.

Keep in mind, however, that some secured credit cards do offer rewards, such as cashback.

Who Is Chime Credit Builder Best For?

This Chime secured card is ideal for people who struggle to get approved for traditional credit cards due to low credit scores or no credit history. It gives you a credit card while helping build your credit.

It may also be a good option for people who struggle to control their spending with credit cards. Because it is a secured card, you can rest easy knowing that you will not spend more than you could pay off with your deposit.

Who Shouldn't Get Chime Credit Builder?

If you already have an established credit history and a good credit score, you may not need a secured card like Chime Credit Builder. While there is not technically a downside to using it, you will not get to take advantage of high credit limits or the ability to earn rewards.

Those with a strong enough credit score to apply to cards with higher limits and rewards may want to go that route instead.

Be Aware of a Learning Curve After Chime

Those new to credit cards should also remember that there will likely be a learning curve for other cards after you stop using the Credit Builder. The biggest learning curve will likely be the transition to high-interest rates and being aware of credit utilization.

Conclusion

Chime Credit Builder is a secured credit card designed to help those with poor credit improve their credit. You can set your own limit based on the amount you deposit. This card has some standout features, such as no fees or interest rates. It also reports your payments but not your credit utilization to the credit bureaus, boosting your credit score. It is a strong option for those with poor credit, but if your credit is established or you want rewards, you may want to consider an alternative.

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