Our take: The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card makes the path to stronger credit clear as a bell. The card’s setup won’t allow you to fail when it comes to making on-time payments.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Who is this card good for?
The Chime Credit Builder Visa card is good for those who don’t want to be bound by minimum deposits.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card Overview
Card type: Secured, Bad credit
Chime has three attributes that should be sweet music to the ears of anyone trying to get a foothold on building or rebuilding their credit: It doesn’t report credit utilization to the credit bureaus (but does report payment history), there’s no minimum security deposit requirement, and there’s no credit check when you apply. Here’s why all that matters.
Rebuilding credit isn’t easy, and since your options will be limited if you have poor credit, you’ll often need to fork over a chunk of cash as a deposit to get a secured card. But, your credit limit on a secured card is typically equal to the amount you deposit. The less you deposit, the more likely it is that you’ll spend close to your credit limit on the card. Spending close to your limit or maxing out your card is considered high utilization, and high utilization can hurt your credit score.
Also, with many secured cards requiring minimum deposits around $200 or $300, someone who might not have that much cash available immediately can be barred from getting a good card to improve their credit.
Lastly, the hard inquiry that happens when you apply for most credit cards can drop your score a few points. While a few points might not seem like much, if you’re working to rebuild your score, the last thing you want is to see it dip further.
Chime bypasses these issues entirely. There’s no credit check when you apply to open an account. And, rather than paying a minimum security deposit to an issuer and not being able to access the deposit, you use your Chime checking account to move however much money works for you into your Credit Builder secured account. The amount you move is the amount you can spend on the card, but you’re not borrowing against a set credit limit, so you don’t have to worry about utilization being an issue.
At the end of each billing cycle, the money you have in the Credit Builder secured account is used to pay the bill. This helps you build a history of on-time payments and that, in turn, will help you build up your credit score, which is the whole point of having a credit-builder card. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Be aware that to take advantage of the setup described above, you should have the Safer Credit Building feature turned on. Otherwise, you’ll need to manually trigger payments — and missing a payment can result in your card being disabled. Plus, if you hit 30 days past due, Chime may report you as late to the credit bureaus, which will hurt your credit score.
Who is the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card good for?
The Chime Credit Builder Card is good for someone seeking to rebuild their credit without having to put up a set security deposit. It’s also ideal for someone new to credit who needs a helping hand to make sure they don’t overspend on a traditional credit card.
Who shouldn’t get the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card?
Someone who is looking to occasionally carry a balance or who wants a starter card that can seamlessly transition into an unsecured card should look elsewhere as neither of those are possible with the Chime Credit Builder card.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card rates and fees
- Annual fee: None.
- Foreign transaction fee: None, but you must enable international transactions and there are some countries where you cannot use your Chime card.
- Intro APR: None.
- Purchase APR: None, you cannot carry a balance with this card. Instead, you can only spend the amount showing in the “Available to Spend” area of your account.
- Move My Pay feature: Set up your Chime account to automatically move a set amount into your credit builder account every time you get paid.
- increase your score, emergency card replacement.
- Early paycheck access: Sign up for early direct deposit and get notified when your paycheck is ready — up to two days earlier than with some other banks.
- Overdraft protection: Sign up for Chime’s SpotMe service to get overdraft protection for up to $200 without any overdraft fees.
Credit cards similar to the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
If you’re looking to build or improve your credit, the right credit card can be a helping hand. Here are some worthy alternatives to consider instead of the Chime Credit Builder Card.
Upgrade Secured OneCard vs. Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Similar to the Chime Credit Builder, the Upgrade Secured OneCard works best with a connected deposit account, although it’s not required like the Chime card.
If you do have an Upgrade Rewards checking account, the Upgrade Secured OneCard will earn rewards of up to 3% cash back at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars, gas stations, utilities and eligible recurring monthly subscriptions for things like your phone, cable and streaming services, up to $500 per year, then 2%. All other spending earns 2% cash back. Without the checking account, this card earns 1.5% cash back.
You also have a couple of repayment options with purchases made on the Upgrade OneCard, including “Pay Now” which automatically pays off your purchase the day after it posts to your account or “Pay Later” which makes your purchase subject to interest.
Earning rewards while you build your credit is a win-win, and the “Pay Now” feature ensures that you pay your balance in full without accruing finance charges. Just know that having more than one payment due date option on one card could be confusing for those who are new to understanding credit.
Chase Freedom Rise℠ vs. Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
If you have no credit history at all, it’s worth considering a no-annual-fee card like the Chase Freedom Rise℠.
The Freedom Rise earns 1.5% cashback on all purchases and your likelihood of approval is increased when you have a Chase checking account with at least $250 in it. The card incentivizes you to enroll in autopay with a $25 bonus for doing so, and Chase will automatically consider you for a higher credit line in as little as six months — which can help move the needle in the right direction when it comes to increasing your credit score by making it easier to keep your utilization low.
Just be aware that this card is meant for those with little to no credit history. If you have badly damaged credit, a secured card or credit-builder card like the Chime Credit Builder is a better option for you.
Is the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card right for you?
The Chime Credit Builder card is right for you if you’re seeking an option with a built-in safety device to keep you from overspending or missing a payment. It’s a unique approach that can be ideal for those who have had problems staying on track with other lines of credit or someone who doesn’t want to succumb to the temptation of overspending.
But those who can exert better self-control over their finances will likely be better off with a credit-building option that allows them to earn some rewards on their spending.
Frequently asked questions
Is the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card a real credit card?
The Chime Credit Builder is a real credit card. It allows you to make a purchase without paying for it instantly the way you would with a debit card. The issuer reports your payment behavior to the three major consumer credit reporting agencies and as a Visa card, it comes with $0 liability fraud protection.
However, unlike most traditional credit cards, you can’t carry a balance from month to month as the Chime Credit Builder card is tied to your Chime checking account — so you can only spend what’s been moved from your checking account and designated as available to spend. At the end of each billing cycle, your balance will be paid from those available funds without accruing any interest. Just make sure you have the Safer Credit Building feature activated, otherwise you’ll have to remember to make manual payments.
Can I use the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card with no money?
You cannot use the Chime Credit Builder card without money in your connected Chime checking account. In order to apply for the Chime Credit Builder card, you’ll need a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 into your Chime checking account.
Is Chime a bank?
Chime is not a bank, it’s a financial technology company. Chime products, including the Chime Credit Builder card, are issued in partnership with Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., both are FDIC-insured financial institutions.
Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.