Chime vs Self. Which Credit Builder is Better?

Updated: May 9, 2024

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Comparing Self Credit Builder vs Chime Credit Builder. Which Should You Choose and Why?

When it comes to finding the best banking products for your specific and unique financial needs, things can get a bit hectic. Some financial institutions offer such a wide range of services that they overload users, making it harder to determine the best fit for your needs. Let’s compare Chime vs Self to see what they can offer you. Both Chime and Self offer personal banking products that help people build better credit1 and become eligible for loans, credit cards, and other similar products. Let’s compare the two options to help you make the right decision.

  • Chime Offer – best for those who want to build credit with a card that has no international transaction fee and are not planning to use the referral option
  • Self Offer – is best for those who want to try different plans, plan to use referral rewards, and have no intention to use a credit builder card outside the United States.
Chime vs Self Credit Builder Account

Chime vs Self Comparison Table

IssuerStride Bank N.A.Lead Bank
Annual Fee$0$0
Regular APR0% FixedSee Terms
Credit NeededAccepts AllAccepts All
Best ForBuild, rebuild, or increase credit scoreBuild credit, establish credit history
Credit ReportingYes, 3 Major Credit BureausYes, 3 Major Credit Bureaus
PlansNoYes, 4 different plans
Referral BonusNoYes, $10 for each friend referred
Card IncludedYes, Chime Secured VisaYes, Self Secured Visa
Foreign Transaction FeeNoneYes, 2%
Fast Pre-approvalYesYes
Credit CheckNoneNone
Card ReplacementFreePaid
Administrative FeeNoneNone
Minimum DepositNone$100
FDIC InsuredYesYes
Web StoryWhat is Self Credit Builder Account
ContactsContact Chime Secured CardContact Self Credit Card
ReviewsChime Review
ComparisonsChime vs NetspendSelf vs Cheese Credit Builder
More InformationMore infoMore info
Claim this OfferClaim this Offer

What is Chime Credit Builder?

Essentially, Chime is a financial technology company that offers one secured credit card, savings account, and checking account, all connected to a user-friendly mobile app. To help you to better understand how Chime can help you get ahead of your finances, let’s delve deeper into their products.

User-friendly account options
Reports to all three major bureaus
Automated savings tools
Competitive savings APY
Direct deposit payments
Mobile-only service
No in-person service
Difficulties in accessing Chime accounts and funds

Chime Spending Account

Chime’s spending or checking account involves no monthly fee and includes no minimum balance requirement. The only requirement is to provide a direct deposit in your account to become eligible for receiving payments up to two days early. If you establish a $200 direct deposit each month, you get access to a fee-free SpotMe service that allows the account holder to overdraw their account by $20 on making debit card purchases. You can increase your monthly overdraw amount up to $200 or more, but this will depend on your spending activity, direct deposit frequency and amounts, account history, and other factors.

Chime Savings Account

Chime offers an excellent, high-yield savings account that is also free of a minimum deposit, minimum balance requirement, and monthly fees. More importantly, there’s no limit to the amount of interest a holder can earn. However, new holders must have a spending account to use this service. There are two ways to save money with Chime:

  1. Save money with each spending – the Save When You Spend feature allows account owners to save on each purchase they make using a Chime debit card.
  2. Save with each new payment you receive – an account holder can set up a recurring transfer of funds from their spending account to their savings account each time they receive payment.

Chime Credit Builder Card

Chime offers the Credit Builder Card that you can apply for and get approved for without a credit check. If you need a financial tool to build or rebuild your credit history2, this card is an excellent way to do it. This service allows you to transfer funds from your spending account to your Credit Builder account to use your credit card at a 0% APR. Chime helps you build your credit by reporting your payments to all three major credit bureaus.

What is Self Credit Builder?

Self allows you to build your credit by using your own money to earn interest, save, and lend funds to yourself. Self is an excellent choice for people looking to rebuild bad credit and repair their credit history. If you can’t get a loan or a credit card because of no credit or bad credit, you can fix that problem with credit builder loans. Self offers different credit builder programs that don’t require you to make a deposit. Instead, you can use a loan program that ensures all your payments go into a certificate of deposit. Aside from improving your credit rating and building your history, you get a fully funded certificate of deposit.

Great financial tools for improving or building your credit rating
4 loan/CD amounts
Build savings
Access to a secured credit card
Early withdrawal is subjected to penalties
CD withdrawal isn’t available until the loan is paid in full

Self Credit Builder Account

Self credit builder account allows you to link your bank account to it and either set up automatic payments or make one-time payments each month. A credit builder account also allows you to determine a beneficiary for any amount paid to your account. If you decide to pay back your builder account at any time, you can do that without any extra penalties or additional fees. Once you pay back your account, you will receive the proceeds of your certificate of deposit with all the accrued interest.

Self Credit Builder Loan

Instead of making a security deposit, Self provides a certificate of deposit with a term of either one year (12 months) or two years (24 months). There are four different amounts to choose from for your CD. Insured by the FDIC and held by either Lead Bank or Sunrise Banks, your certificate won’t be available for withdrawal until it’s paid in full. The loan owner makes monthly payments that are reported to all three major credit bureaus.

Self Visa Secured Credit Card

Self essentially helps people with bad or no credit to establish payment history and rebuild credit to become eligible for the Self Visa credit card. All it takes to meet the eligibility requirements for this card is to make three monthly payments on time, have $100 or more in savings, and keep your builder account in good standing. The card allows you to choose your credit limit for securing your deposit, build your credit score, avoid upfront payments, increase your credit limit and buying power, and more.

Self and Chime Alternatives and Competing Offers

NameIssuerAnnual FeeReviewApplication
OakStone Gold SecuredSynovus Bank$39
Sable ONE SecuredCoastal Community Bank$0Sable ONE ReviewApply Now
Cleo Credit Builder CardWebbankSee terms
OpenSky Secured VisaCapital Bank N.A.$35OpenSky Visa ReviewApply Now
First Progress Platinum EliteSynovus Bank$29First Progress ReviewApply Now
PCB Secured VisaPlains Commerce Bank$39What is PCB Visa?
Surge Secured MastercardCeltic Bank$69Apply Now
GO2bank Secured VisaGreen Dot Bank$0Apply Now

RELATED: Best Credit Builder Apps

Bottom Line

Chime is an excellent solution for people looking for an array of user-friendly financial tools accessible via one mobile, multipurpose app. It provides a range of automated savings tools that will particularly appeal to people who want to work on their credit score, history, and emergency fund. However, Chime may not be the most suitable solution for those looking for a full suite of financial/banking services.

On the other hand, Self provides both online and mobile access to credit builder plans for people who can’t get approved for a loan or a secured credit card. The company helps you repair your credit history and improve your rating while building your savings in the process. Both Chime and Self can be useful options for becoming eligible for loans and credit cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Reference List

  1. Why building credit is so important. CNBC
  2. Credit Score: Definition, Factors, and Improving It. Investopedia


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