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Guide to the Self Visa Credit Card: A unique credit-building product

Combine Self’s new secured card with a Self Credit Builder Account for a one-two credit-building punch

Summary

Unlike most secured cards, the Self Visa Credit Card lets you build up your security deposit gradually over time instead of forcing you to come up with a deposit of $200 or more all at once.

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If you’ve had a few financial stumbles and are looking for a way to rebuild your credit, signing up for a secured credit card is a solid first step. But since many of these cards offer tiny credit limits, require large upfront cash deposits or carry a ton of fees, finding a good fit is easier said than done.

Enter the Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card, a secured card that pairs with a Self Credit Builder Account to help you build your credit without having to come up with a big security deposit all at once. With the Self Visa Credit Card, you can build your security deposit over several months, choose your own credit limit and then raise your limit over time as you make payments into your Credit Builder Account.

Qualification is simple, and Self will let you know exactly how you’re tracking toward the card. Once you’re eligible, you’re approved.

We’ve broken down the basics of how a Self Credit Builder Account and the Self Visa Credit Card work together, how you can qualify and what you need to know to get started.

Start with a Self Credit Builder Account

Before you apply for the Self Visa Credit Card, you’ll need to open a Self Credit Builder Account. As its name implies, a Credit Builder Account is designed in large part to help you build credit. Unlike personal loans – which offer money up front in a lump sum that you must pay back over time –  credit builder loans hold your funds in an account while you make payments. This lets you prove that you can pay back what you’ve borrowed and gives you a chance to build your credit in the process.

Here’s a quick overview of how Self’s Credit Builder Accounts work:

  • You apply for a Self Credit Builder Account. There’s no credit check required to open a Credit Builder Account – just a one-time, non-refundable administrative fee of $9. If you’re approved, one of Self’s partner banks will issue you a small loan (typically between $500 and $1,700) and hold it in a secured CD (certificate of deposit).
  • You make payments for 12 to 24 months. You set your monthly repayment commitment when you apply and can see exactly how much you’ll pay in fees and interest, along with the full amount you’ll receive at the end of your loan period. Simply make your required monthly payments until your loan is paid off.
  • You build credit history and add to savings. Your loan payments are reported to the national credit bureaus. Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score, so if you make your payments on time and in full, you’ll be building a positive payment history and could see your credit score build. In the meantime, you’ll be growing your account balance with each monthly payment (minus fees and interest).
  • You get the full loan amount back at the end. Once your loan balance reaches zero, your CD or savings account is unlocked, and you get access to the full amount you borrowed, minus interest and fees.

Before you apply, Self’s online slider tool lets you pick how much you’ll pay each month and see how much you’ll get back in 12 to 24 months. Visit self.inc/pricing for the most recent pricing options.

How to qualify for the Self Visa Credit Card

Once you’ve set up a Self Credit Builder Account, qualifying for the Self Secured Visa is pretty simple. You become eligible for the card after you’ve met the following criteria:

  • You’ve made at least your last three monthly credit builder loan payments in full and on time.
  • You’ve saved $100 or more in your Credit Builder Account.
  • You have no outstanding fees.

If you meet these requirements, you can apply for the Self Visa card with no credit check, even if you haven’t finished paying off your Credit Builder Account. You’re automatically approved and won’t have to come up with any extra money as a security deposit or damage your credit by submitting your credit report to a hard inquiry.

Self Visa Credit Card features

The Self Visa Credit Card offers a number of features and perks that make it especially useful for anyone looking to build or rebuild credit. Some of the its biggest highlights include the following:

You can build your deposit over time

Unlike other secured credit cards, which typically require you to put up a security deposit of $200 or more up front before you can use them, the Self Visa Credit Card uses the money that’s already in your Self Credit Builder Account to secure your line of credit.

When you open a Self Credit Builder Account, you can pick the monthly commitment that works for you and build up your security deposit over several months instead of having to come up with hundreds of dollars in one lump sum.

You set your own credit limit

You choose your Self Visa Credit Card’s credit limit based on the amount you’ve saved in your Credit Builder Account. For example, if you’ve paid $500 in principal toward your Self Credit Builder Account, you can access a credit limit of up to $500 without putting up any additional money.

This could really help you manage your credit utilization, since you can set a credit limit that makes sense based on your spending habits, not how much money you can afford to tie up in a security deposit. And to further help you stay on top of your credit, the Self app and website feature a credit utilization tracker, making it easier to see where you stand.

You won’t pay a lot of fees

The Self Visa Card’s fee and penalty policy is much more forgiving than that of most credit cards, making it a great choice for those who are rebuilding their credit or are new to credit cards.

The Self Visa Credit Card annual fee is only $25, and, unlike many cards, it doesn’t penalize you with a higher APR if you struggle with paying on time. The card also doesn’t charge a fee the first time you make a late payment. And if you do slip up again, you’ll pay $15 – less than half the maximum late fee of $40 that many other cards charge. Other typical fees, such as insufficient funds fees and debit card convenience fees, still apply.

You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted

What makes the Self Visa card useful is that it’s a real credit card. In other words, you’ll be able to use it anywhere Visa is accepted in the U.S, including gas stations, grocery stores and online. Most other credit-building options, such as store credit cards and online credit accounts, won’t allow you this freedom.

Your credit history is reported to all three credit bureaus

Be sure to make the minimum payment due toward your statement balance each month to build your credit. Your payment activity will be reported to all three credit bureaus, so it’s important to practice responsible credit management. Additionally, since the card pairs with a Self Credit Builder Account, you’ll also demonstrate responsible credit habits by having a mix of credit.

Bottom line

If you’re serious about building or rebuilding your credit, the Self Visa Credit Card could be a great option, offering a low-entry barrier, forgiving terms and a chance to build your security deposit gradually over time.

Instead of trying to cobble together hundreds of dollars all at once to secure your card, you can open a Self Credit Builder Account, choose the monthly commitment that works for you and start saving for your deposit with the help of a straightforward payment plan. Once you’re eligible, you can get the card without a credit check, set your own credit limit and build your credit on multiple fronts.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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