The Chime credit builder card does the same thing as a traditional secured credit card: it helps you build your credit history if you have no or bad credit.
But the similarities end there, as the $0 annual fee card from Stride Bank requires no minimum collateral deposit and even allows you to adjust your credit limit. There’s also no credit check required and, perhaps more surprisingly, no interest charged; you’re essentially putting your money aside to pay off your credit card bill. In a way, it’s similar to a rechargeable prepaid debit card, except it reports your activity to the credit bureaus.
These unique features can certainly help with your credit journey, but you must be willing to open an account with Chime. Also, because of the card’s guardrails, you may not be ready to manage other types of credit products later. At this point, once you’re ready, there’s no way to upgrade to a traditional, unsecured card.
Key Features of the Chime credit builder card
Card Type: Secure.
Annual fee: $0.
Deposit: There is no minimum deposit requirement. The money you transfer from your Chime spending account to your secured Credit Builder account is the amount you can spend with the card.
April: not applicable
External transaction fees: None.
- No credit check required.
- Payments are reported to the top three credit bureaus.
How the Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card Works
To get the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, you must open a Chime spending account and make a direct deposit of at least $200 in the past 365 days.
Instead of a one-time deposit, you can “distribute” funds to your Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card by transferring funds from your Chime Spending Account to your Secured Credit Builder Account, which becomes your line of credit – you Available in the Bells app. When you need cash, you can transfer money back to your Chime spending account through the Chime app, and you can withdraw money using your Chime ATM card.
Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card Benefits
No credit check
Most credit cards — even secured ones — put a rigorous check on your credit report when you apply, which helps card issuers assess your creditworthiness. Even if you’re subsequently approved for the card, these hits will temporarily lower your credit score by a few points, which isn’t ideal if you’re new to credit. But the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card doesn’t check your credit score when you apply, which means it’s perfect for people with poor or no credit.
Adjustable credit limit
The money you transfer from your Chime spending account to your secured Credit Builder account is the amount you can spend on your card. You can transfer funds automatically each time you get paid, or manually. Money transfers are almost instant and take about a minute. With the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, you can shop anywhere Visa cards are accepted. Other secured credit cards have a credit limit set and you may need to use the card for several months to qualify for a credit limit increase.
The Chime Credit Builder does not charge interest because you cannot spend more than the amount in your secured Credit Builder account. In a way, it’s a credit card that shares similarities with a rechargeable prepaid debit card. This is helpful because you can’t get credit card debt with this card. Other secured credit cards charge high interest rates, so you can take on expensive debt when trying to build your credit history.
Credit card maximum limit will not affect your credit score
Your credit usage isn’t reported to the credit bureaus, so you don’t have to worry about the percentage of your total available funds that you have to spend. But unlike prepaid debit cards, your payment history and other factors are reported, so it’s important to pay on time. If you miss a payment, your card will be deactivated until you pay the balance. If your payment is more than 30 days late, it will be reported to the credit bureau and may affect your credit score.
Autopay makes on-time payments a breeze
A more secure credit-building feature — a variation on the auto-transfer option available on more traditional credit cards – can prevent unexpected missed payments.
Whenever you make a purchase with the card, the full purchase amount is held in your Secured Credit Builder account. Once your invoice is due, the pending money will automatically be used for payment. This prevents you from making late payments without having the money to pay the bill in full.
Disadvantages and Alternatives
Requires a Chime Spending account and direct deposit
The connection between the Chime Spending Account and the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card facilitates a unique user experience for the card, but opening an account and receiving direct deposits can present some difficulties. Many other secured credit cards also require a bank account to make deposits, but the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is an option for anyone without a bank account. You can pay your deposit by debit card or check, or by money order or by Western Union.
No bonus or sign-up bonus
In the past, it was fairly rare for secured credit cards to offer rewards, but that has changed in recent years. Unfortunately, the Chime Credit Builder Visa® credit card is not part of this trend. It does not offer any rewards program.
Of course, rewards aren’t the top priority when you’re working on improving your credit score. But they’re a pleasure to have, and they’re one of the cards in this class. For example, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card with a $0 annual fee earns 2% cash back on quarterly purchases of up to $1,000 at gas stations and restaurants (then 1% is refunded), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardholders are eligible for a bonus offer, and Discover details: “Introductory Offer: Unlimited Cash Back Contest – Only from Discover. Discover automatically doubles all cash back you earn at the end of your first year! No minimum spend or maximum Reward. Dollar for dollar.”
No upgrade path
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® credit card can help you improve your credit score, but once done, there is no higher tier card to upgrade. So there’s little reason to keep using these. If you choose a credit card that offers rewards and other perks, you’ll need to open a brand new account with a completely different card issuer.
It does not provide the practice of managing more traditional cards
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card makes it easy to control your budget and pay your credit card bills on time. That’s great news for your credit score, but every credit card you end up buying will work very differently.
Once you start using an unsecured credit card with interest rates and fees, the training wheel relaxes significantly. With a revolving credit card, you can spend up to your credit limit, make a small minimum payment when you borrow, and then spend up to your limit again. If you pay late, you could face late fees, higher interest rates, and a big drop in your credit score.
The Chime credit builder card will definitely help you build your credit, but before you apply for another credit card later, familiarize yourself with how it works.
Should You Get a Chime credit builder card?
If your goal is simply to build credit, the Chime credit builder card removes many of the stumbling blocks that would trip up any credit card novice. But some other entry-level credit cards offer cash-back bonuses, even though they charge interest and require a term deposit. If you decide to use the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, you should know that all unsecured credit cards you use in the future will not have the same guardrails.