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How to use the Self Visa® Credit Card to build your credit

This secured credit card has a low barrier to entry that makes it easy to start building your credit


If you are at the beginning of your credit history or hoping to recover from a poor credit history, the Self Visa Credit Card can help you build your credit. Read on to learn more about how to use this unique tool.

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There are a lot of reasons why it might be difficult to get a credit card. Maybe you’re just beginning your credit history. Maybe you’ve made a few credit mistakes in the past, and your credit history isn’t all that great. Maybe you have fair or poor credit, and every credit card application you fill out gets turned down.

The Self Visa® Credit Card is here to help. By giving you access to a secured credit card without making you go through the process of a traditional credit application, people with no credit history and people with poor credit can give themselves the opportunity to build their credit — no matter what their credit score looks like.

How the Self Visa® Credit Card works

The Self Visa® Credit Card is designed to help you build credit without a standard credit application process. Instead, you prove your creditworthiness by opening a Credit Builder Account with Self. This account, which reports to all three major credit bureaus, helps you build your credit while saving money, for as little as $25 a month (minus interest and fees)*. Your monthly payments go towards unlocking a CD that you’ll receive, with some interest, once your Credit Builder Account is paid off.

Your Credit Builder Account also helps you unlock the Self Visa Credit Card. Once you’ve made three consecutive monthly payments in full, have at least $100 in your credit builder account and have no outstanding fees, you’ll be eligible for the Self Visa. It’s a secured credit card, which means you’ll need to use some of the money in your Credit Builder Account to put down a deposit against your Self Visa card. Deposit a minimum of $100, and you’ll receive a line of credit in the amount of your deposit. This means you won’t have to come up with extra cash to cover your deposit – you can use the same money to cover two credit building strategies.

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

How to use the Self secured card to build your credit

The Self Visa is an excellent way to build your credit, whether you’re new to credit or trying to bounce back from a bad credit score. In fact, you begin the process of building your credit as soon as you open and start making on time payments with the Credit Builder Account that helps you become eligible for the Self secured card. Every monthly payment you make on your Credit Builder Account gets reported to the three major credit bureaus, so you can start building a history of on-time payments even before you receive your Self credit card.

Once you have your Self Visa, start using it to make regular purchases. Since your credit limit will be relatively small, as little as $100 depending on your deposit, you’ll want to make sure that your Self credit card transactions don’t exceed your available credit. Use the card for everyday expenses that fit within your credit limit, and remember to make on-time payments every month so that you can continue to establish a positive credit history.

The other good way to build your credit with the Self Visa is to pay off your card in full as often as possible. If you have a $75 balance on your card, for example, don’t just make the minimum payment; instead, pay off the entire $75 if you can. Why? Because 30% of your credit score comes from what’s called a credit utilization ratio. That’s the amount of credit you’re using versus the amount of credit you have available. The lower your credit utilization ratio gets, the higher your credit score can grow.

Making on-time payments every month and paying off your Self secured card in full whenever possible will help you develop a solid credit history while maintaining a low credit utilization ratio, both of which are important factors in your credit score.

How the Self Visa compares to other credit building strategies

The Self Visa Credit Card is one of’s best secured credit cards of 2020, thanks to its low barrier to entry and competitive benefits.

The biggest difference between the Self Visa and other secured credit cards is the method by which you receive the credit card. With a standard secured credit card, you fill out an application and have to come up with funds for a high security deposit to qualify. But with the Self Visa, you simply open a Credit Builder Account with Self and begin making regular payments. Once you’ve made three consecutive monthly payments in full, have $100 or more in your account and have no outstanding fees, you’ll be eligible for the Self secured card. Plus, the deposit for the card comes right from the funds in your Credit Builder Account.

The Self Visa card also helps you build good credit habits, starting from the day you open your Credit Builder account. By requiring you to make regular, on-time payments into your Credit Builder account for at least three months before receiving your Self secured card, Self is helping you practice the kind of responsible credit behavior you’ll want to use on your new Self card as well as any credit accounts you might receive in the future.

The one drawback to the Self Visa secured card? You won’t earn any rewards. However, the majority of secured cards don’t offer cash back or points, so this isn’t unusual.

Is the Self Visa Credit Card right for you?

If you are at the beginning of your credit history or hoping to recover from a poor credit history, the Self Visa Credit Card can help you build your credit. This secured credit card is designed to be accessible to anyone who successfully maintains a Self Credit Builder Account, making it a smart choice for people who might otherwise be turned down for other types of credit. Once you have your Self secured card, make regular on-time payments and pay off your balance in full as often as possible. With good credit habits, you’ll soon see your credit start to grow.

*Sample product: $25 per month, $520 loan amount, 24 months, 15.92% APR and $9 administrative fee. See full rates and fees for more information. Self card agreement. Self terms of service.

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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