Review Review [Pros, Cons, and Pricing 2022]

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There are a few ways to begin building credit, such as secured student loans and secured credit cards. But what do you do when you have exhausted these options, with no success? If you have experienced the unfortunate luck of not qualifying for a credit card or personal loan, then credit builder loans are available.

Credit builder loans are typically more useful for those with no credit, but if you have poor credit, they can help to raise your score. One of the places people look for assistance with efforts to rebuild their credit is Self. Let’s take a close look at that platform, so you can determine whether or not it is a good fit for you. 

Onto our review!

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Before diving deep into our review, here are a few of the platform’s key pros and cons. 


  • All payments are reported to credit bureaus: As long as you make timely payments, Self handles reporting all of your payment history to the big credit bureaus, whereas credit cards only handle providing your FICO score.  
  • “Forced” savings account: Self can be treated as a way of forcing yourself to save money and to hold yourself accountable when it comes time to make payments, as you receive money after your loan is paid off. 
  • Upfront, one-time administrative fee: The one-time fee is affordable, only nine dollars, and is only required when you wish to active your Self account. 
  • No credit score/history needed: Self does not require you to have a credit score or prior history, which makes Self a great option for those just starting out in the credit finance world. 
  • No income information needed: You do not have to provide Self with income documents, so your income will not determine your payment eligibility. 
  • Interest is often less than most credit cards: For the credit builder loan, Self’s interest rate is around 15%. The interest rate for the secured Visa is around 23%, but varies depending on your past payment history with Self. 
  • Diversifies credit score account: What helps to build your credit score is to have both installment loans and revolving payments. Credit cards are a form of revolving payment, whereas mortgages and student loans are installment loans, so having a loan through Self makes for one installment loan. 


  • Negative history may affect edibility: If you already have credit history, and it leans closer to the poor category, then your negative payment history could impact your chances of getting approved for the loan or the secured Visa through Self. 
  • Late/missed payments are reported: Payment history is the key to good credit history, so if you miss a payment, or make a payment late, Self will report it to the credit bureaus, which negatively impacts your credit. 
  • Costs 5% per monthly payment if you miss the grace period: The grace period for Self is 15 days, so once you miss this period, then an additional 5% will be added to you monthly bill. 
  • Interest earned on CD is next to nothing: Unfortunately, the money that is saved from every monthly payment does not total out to be an overwhelming figure. 
  • Pay to take out loan: Applying to build your credit with Self means that, unlike other methods of credit building, you have to pay to take out your loan through this account. 

About Self. Inc

Self Financial, formerly known as Self Lender, is a financial technology company that offers free credit monitoring, as well as a credit builder loan. The company’s main goal is to make building a financial foundation accessible for everyone. Self Financial is based in Austin, Texas, and focuses on the difficult road credit building can be. They offer other resources to help teach the public about what a credit builder loan is. 

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Features of Self

  • Credit monitoring: The first service that Self has been known for is their credit monitoring service, similar to Credit Karma. 
  • Secured Visa credit card: Self offers another way to build your credit score through their services, by applying for their secured credit card. Secured credit cards are one way to build credit, often a good idea for students or young adults, and Self offers their own. 
  • Mobile app: For those who like to keep track of their score on the go and manage their payments on the go, Self has a mobile app to help you make timely payments. 
  • Credit builder loan: Although Self has been known for being a free credit monitoring service, Self has become known for being a source as a loan provider. This is the main service that Self puts forward on their website, as it is the service that is accredited with helping people establish or potentially fix their credit. 
  • User-friendly interface: The Self. Inc website and app are user friendly and include transparent information about how Self works and the resources the company offers, including pricing and processes. 
How Does Work?

How Does Work?

Using Self. Inc begins with creating an account. In order to open an account, you only need to be at least 18 years old, have a social security number, and live in the United States permanently. First, you must apply for a credit builder loan at a bank, credit union, or through Self Financial. Once your application has been approved at your financial institution of choice, then the bank, credit union, or Self will move the loan amount into a separate credit-builder account. This separate account is typically a savings account or certificate of deposit. 

The amount you will be given will vary, often anywhere between $300 and $1,000. However, sometimes the amount can be as high as $2,500. Through Self, you will need to pick the amount you wish to commit to paying every month. There are currently four preset options available: $25, $35, $48, and $150. To activate your account, there is a one-time, non-refundable administrative fee of nine dollars. 

Interest rates and APR rates differ for each payment amount and each lasts a different length of time. For those who choose $25 and $35 payment amounts will pay over the course of two years, whereas those who pay $48 and $150 will pay over the course of one year. Each payment you make goes toward establishing a credit history with the main three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Lastly, you are able to pay your loan off early, but do be aware that Self cannot guarantee what will happen to your score from paying your loan off or closing your account early.

It is important to know that working through Self. Inc means that this loan is not a traditional personal loan as users cannot spend the loan money they are approved for. However, going through Self means there is no hard pull on your credit if you already have previous history. Once the balance of your loan is paid off, then your service provider will unlock the CD or savings account offered through Self and will return the accrued money to you, the borrower, minus any interest or administrative fees. Alternatives and Competitors

  • Secured Credit Cards: Secured credit cards are a great place to start, and are common starting points for college students and young adults. Nearly every major credit card company offers a secure credit card. It is best to shop around as every credit card has different interest rates, APR rates, annual fees, and credit history requirements. Think about what you would want this card to do in terms of benefits as well. 
  • Installment Loans: Installment loans include mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans, as a few examples. Installment loans are useful in defining your FICO score. Installment loans are simply loans that have fixed amounts that need to be paid on a certain day every month. Smaller scale loans, such as co-sign loans, variable-rate loans, fixed-rate loans, and debt consolidation loans, are other payments that can have a positive effect on your credit score. 
  • Credit Strong: Credit Strong is an independent community bank that offers different installment accounts. Credit Strong allows you to choose what your primary focus for the installment account is and then pick an option for the amount you wish to work with. The three main options are Subscribe, Build & Save, and Magnum, which vary in the amount you wish to contribute, starting at $15 a month. You can cancel any of these options at any time and face no penalty. And if you are not looking to build credit, Credit Strong has a separate option to take out personal loans through them. 
  • Credit Sesame: Credit Sesame is a great resource for learning about the various tools and techniques to understanding and building your financial foundation. This website offers resources on picking the best credit card, information on home insurance and auto loan rates, and information on loans. Credit Sesame also has its own online banking debit card, known as Sesame Cash: Credit Sesame’s goal is to help you better understand where you stand financially by providing you with information on making the right financial decisions for you and your life. You can track your score, track your payments and learn how to improve your score with Credit Sesame on PC and mobile devices. 
  • Nerdwallet: Nerdwallet is similar to Credit Sesame in that Nerdwallet provides plenty of resources on how to pick the best cards, insurance, mortgages, and so on throughout your financial-based life. Nerdwallet also provides calculators for these different parts of finances, with guides and tips to reference. While there is no banking service or secured credit card through Nerdwallet, the information they provide is priceless as building your credit score and financial backing comes down to the choices you make. 

More of our review below. Reviews & Complaints

The public responses are mixed about Self Financial. Other financial reviews on personal blogs and other financial websites regard Self Financial as a great way to build credit if you have already tried other options. The public reviews from customers are divided, some state that helped them to build their credit scores enjoy the Visa and CD perks, while others make claims of money theft, poor customer service, and lack of a difference in credit score. It is worth noting that the app and website reviews state the credit builder loan is best suited for those with no credit history.

The overall ratings feature on Google and Apple app stores are 4.9 and 4.8 out of 5 stars, respectively. Reviews on iOS devices reach over 20,000, while reviews on Apple devices are over 40,000. does have a customer service number, and users are able to contact customer service through email and a chat that appears on both the website and the mobile app. It is also worth noting that there have been complaints to the Better Business Bureau about the lack of funds being deposited from users’ credit deposit accounts. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (Faq)

We answer there most common questions with our review below.

Is legit?

Yes, is a legitimate financial company that can help you learn more about building your credit score and offers credit builder loans. also offers a secured credit card to help improve your credit score. 

What happens if I close my account?

If you close your Credit Builder account while it is in good standing, then payments reports will no longer be sent to credit bureaus. However, there is no guarantee or knowledge as to how closing your account will impact your credit score. Closing your account early can limit the full potential your credit score could achieve and fluctuate your score, as payment history is the key to maintaining a high credit score.

How do I qualify for the Self Visa?

In order to qualify for Self Financial’s secured credit card, you must have a Credit Builder account and it must have been open for at least three months. Your Credit Builder account must have reached at least $100 in savings, and the account must be in good standing. However, meeting all of these requirements will not guarantee that you will qualify. Review Parting Thoughts

Self overall is a good option for when you have exhausted all other options in building credit. The best way to use is to improve your chances of being approved for other means of increasing your credit score. does make a point of reminding the users of the responsibility of their own credit scores and that making on-time payments is the best, tried, and true way of improving your credit score. 


Thanks for reading our review.

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