Self Reviews

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About Self

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Founded in 2015, Self is a financial technology company that helps customers with bad credit improve their credit scores. The company offers four budget-friendly repayment plans for its Credit Builder Loan. Unlike traditional lenders, customers don’t have access to their loan funds immediately. Instead, your monthly payments are held in a certificate of deposit (CD), which can later be used after fees and interest are taken out.

    Pros & Cons

    • Available in all states
    • Flexible monthly payments
    • Fees
    • Cannot use loan funds immediately

    What is Self?

    Self offers a unique way to build credit when you have a poor credit score or a nonexistent credit history. Unlike traditional lenders, Self does not give you the loan funds upfront. Instead, it deposits your monthly payments into a CD through one of its three partner banks. You can choose which monthly repayment plan you want: $25, $35, $48 or $150 per month. The $25 and $35 options come with a repayment period of 24 months, while the $48 and $150 options will be repaid in 12 months.

    When you apply for a traditional credit card or loan, you are encouraged to spend that money and repay it. With Self, you sign up to rebuild your credit through fixed monthly payments and then have a lump sum of savings available after your repayment period. This way of building credit helps you build a habit of savings.

    How does Self work?

    To get a Credit Builder Account, you must apply for a loan through one of Self’s bank partners. This ensures that your money is secured. You will then choose a repayment plan that fits your budget, typically between $25 and $150 per month. Each payment is reported to all three credit bureaus, and the proceeds go to a CD.

    After the repayment period is over, you can use your savings, minus the fees and interest rate. You can also apply for the Self Visa secured credit card if you have three or more months of on-time payments and $100 or more built up.

    To qualify, you must be 18 or older and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You will need a valid bank account and Social Security number. Most applicants will be approved, but there is still a chance of being denied for the Credit Builder Loan. However, denial decisions are not due to poor credit scores or lack of credit history, and the company states that you will receive an email explaining why you were denied.

    Since Self is a software partner for a registered U.S. financial institution, it has to abide by strict security measures to keep your data safe. To do so, Self does regular criminal background searches on employees. It also encrypts your data at multiple levels.

    Self products and services

    The two main products Self offers for credit-building are its Credit Builder Account and secured credit card. Both don’t work like traditional credit-building products and can be easier for customers to manage.

    Credit Builder Account
    This is an installment loan that allows you to build up a positive payment history if you stick with your on-time monthly payments. Your payments are placed in a CD account that can be redeemed minus the fees and interest once your repayment plan is completed.
    Self Visa secured credit card
    Unlike other secured credit cards, you don’t need to put a security deposit down in order to use the card. Additionally, there are no hard pulls on your credit report. You become eligible for the card by first having a good-standing Credit Builder Account.

    Once you make three on-time payments and have $100 or more in your savings progress, you will be automatically approved. Your credit limit is based on what is saved in your Credit Builder Account.

    Self fees

    Using Self does come with fees. There is a set, nonrefundable $9 administrative fee on all Credit Builder Loan accounts. Additionally, interest fees and finance charges are based on which repayment plan you choose.

    Other fees can occur if you are not responsible with your account, including:

    • 5% late fee of your monthly bill if your payment is 15 days past due
    • $15 return fee for any failed payments
    • $1.20 to $4.75 fee per month if you pay your Credit Builder Loan account with a debit card

    Self FAQ

    Will my credit improve by using the Self secured credit card?

    Both the Credit Builder Loan and secured credit card can help you improve your credit. However, like any credit card, you do need to use it correctly. It is important to charge to your account each month and make on-time payments. While most individuals will see an improvement in their credit scores with these two products, Self cannot guarantee results.

    What banks does Self work with?

    You can choose to get your Credit Builder Loan through one of Self’s partners, Sunrise Banks, Lead Bank or SouthState Bank – all are FDIC-insured banks.

    Can Self hurt my credit score?

    Even though Self is designed to build a customer’s credit score back up, you have to make on-time payments to see results. It is a loan, and if you fail to make on-time payments, your late payment will be reported to the three credit bureaus, and you can take a hit on your report.

    Is Self legit?

    Self is a legitimate company that has been around since 2015. It partners with only FDIC-insured banks and has helped over 4 million with credit-building products. According to the company, the average customer who opens a 12-month Credit Builder Account with a VantageScore under 600 saw an average score increase of 49 points with regular on-time payments.

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