|Credit Building Rating:||4.2 / 5|
|Cost of Membership||5.0|
|Ease of Building Credit||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
This card offers a simple, low-cost way to build credit, but it’s missing benefits like a rewards program and the opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card.
Other Notable Features: Free FICO score access, free Experian Boost access, SpotMe overdraft coverage.
The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa is a secured credit card that can help you build credit over time without worrying about typical credit card fees and interest charges.
The card charges no annual fee or interest and carries no minimum deposit requirement if you have a Chime Checking Account with eligible direct deposit. This makes it a solid choice whether you’re new to building credit or are trying to get your credit score back on track after financial difficulties.
That said, the card is missing a few key features, including a rewards program and the option to upgrade or “graduate” to an unsecured card in the future. If all you want is a low-risk way to build your credit score, the Chime Secured Card is definitely worth a look, but a traditional secured card could also be a good fit.
- In comparison with most secured cards, this card has very minimal fees, since there is no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no transfer fee and most importantly, no interest charges.
- There are many free features that help build credit, such as having no credit check necessary to apply and FICO score access through the mobile app.
- No minimum security deposit required if you have a Chime Checking Account with eligible direct deposit
- You have to have a direct deposit account through Chime ($200 or more) to qualify for the card.
- There is no option to upgrade or “graduate” to an unsecured card once your credit improves.
- It has no standout incentives, as there is no welcome offer, intro APR period or rewards offered with the card.
Why you might want the Secured Chime® Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
This card stands out for its limited fees and restrictions, which are refreshing considering how expensive many credit-building cards can be. You also have access to Chime-specific perks like a High Yield Savings (HYS) account and overdraft fee coverage, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of tools such as Experian Boost, which can help you stay on top of your credit score.
Flexible security deposit
Most secured credit cards require a minimum security deposit of around $200 when you open your account. This deposit doubles as your credit limit and is held as collateral by the issuer until you’ve either paid off your balance and closed your account or upgraded your secured card to an unsecured card.
The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa card doesn’t carry a minimum security deposit as long as you have a Chime Checking Account with eligible direct deposit. Instead, you can transfer any amount into your Chime account and use these funds to cover purchases.
The money you transfer from your checking account to the Credit Builder Secured account determines how much you’re able to spend with the card, and this serves as your “security deposit” when applying for the card.
Free credit building
Your Chime card payments are automatically reported to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), as with most traditional credit cards. And since the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa doesn’t have a pre-set credit limit, you won’t have to worry about card charges negatively impacting your credit-utilization ratio. You can spend up to the amount you’ve transferred to your secured account without worrying about high utilization (though, to be fair, you also won’t see any credit-building benefit from maintaining a low credit utilization ratio).
The Chime mobile app also features the Safer Credit Building tool, which will automatically pay your balance in full each month so you never have to worry about paying your balance late, which would leave a negative mark on your credit report.
The card also helps you monitor your credit score since it offers free access to your FICO score through the in-app Experian FICO® Score experience. You also get access to Experian BoostTM, which helps you build credit by paying eligible streaming subscription, phone, utility and rent bills on time. If you use a Chime Checking Account to pay for these expenses, you can even add your eligible bill payment history to your Experian credit file.
No credit check required
Unlike most credit-building cards, the Chime Credit Builder does not require a credit check when you apply. Most issuers do a “hard pull” of your credit report when you apply for a new card, which temporarily lowers your credit score. Since you won’t face a dip in your credit score when you apply for the Chime card, it can be a low-risk option for people with bad credit or limited credit history.
One of the most enticing aspects of this card is that it doesn’t carry any of the most common credit card fees. The card charges:
- No annual fees
- No transfer fees
- No foreign transaction fees
- No minimum balance fees
The Credit Builder Secured Card also charges no interest or cash advance fees when you withdraw cash from any ATM (and you can access any of the card’s 60,000+ in-network ATMs without paying a fee).
Other Chime services
The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa card lacks some of the purchase and travel protections you’ll find on competing cards such as the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, but it comes with a few notable security features like two-factor and fingerprint authentication and real-time transaction alerts. Here’s a rundown of Chime’s other benefits:
- Get paid early: You can get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
- Pay anyone: You may send and receive money instantaneously with no instant cash out fees, as with services like Zelle and Cash App. When sending money, the recipient does not need a Chime account, only a valid debit card.
- SpotMe®: Chime will cover overdrafts up to $200 with no fees on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals for eligible members (you can start with a $20 overdraft and increase this to $200 based on factors such as account activity and history).
- Chime High Yield Savings Account: With a High Yield Savings (HYS) account from Chime, you can earn a 2.00% APY with no minimum balance required.
Why you might want a different card
Though the Chime card is a solid choice for credit-builders, it lacks many of the perks you can find on the best secured cards, like rewards, a welcome offer, and the option to upgrade to an unsecured card after making a few months of on-time payments. You also have to be willing to have a Chime Checking Account with qualifying direct deposits to be eligible for the Credit Builder Secured Card.
Must bank with Chime
To be eligible for this card, you must first become a Chime member by creating a Chime checking account and setting up a qualifying payroll direct deposit of $200 or more. This allows you to access the Credit Builder account, deposit funds and start using your card.
But if you already have direct deposit set up with another bank and don’t want to switch — or if you don’t intend to use Chime Checking as your primary account for payments — this may limit your ability to use the card to its full potential.
No welcome bonus, intro APR period or rewards
Like most — but not all — secured cards, the Chime card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus. It’s also missing an intro APR period on new purchases and balance transfers, which could be helpful if you need to finance expenses or pay off existing debt. Indeed, since the card doesn’t charge interest, you won’t be able to carry a balance at all. While this means you won’t have to worry about credit card debt, it also limits your payment flexibility, making the card potentially less useful in case of emergency expenses.
Perhaps most disappointing is the card’s lack of a rewards program. The Chime card doesn’t even offer a low flat rewards rate on general purchases. Some secured cards, such as the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card, offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases while charging an annual fee. As such, opting for the Chime card could mean leaving money on the table.
No option to upgrade to an unsecured card
Some traditional secured credit cards give you the opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured version of the card once you make on-time monthly payments for a specified time period. The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa card lacks this option, so you’ll need to apply fresh when you’re ready to move to an unsecured credit card.
How does the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa card compare to other credit-building cards?
The Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa can be an excellent choice if you’re looking to build or rebuild your credit history. However, it’s missing some extra benefits like a rewards program. It also doesn’t give you the chance to upgrade to an unsecured card.
Consider these alternatives, which can help you build credit while earning rewards or giving you the opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card:
Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
|Credit limit||$200+||See terms||$200-$2,500|
|Other things to know|
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card vs. Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Card offers the opportunity to earn flat-rate cash back on all purchases, which is a satisfactory perk for a secured credit card considering the majority offers limited or no rewards. Plus, the 1.5% flat-rate on all purchases is on par with most flat-rate cash back cards.
Though, a couple of downsides with the Capital One Quicksilver card is that, unlike the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa card, it charges interest and has a $200 minimum security deposit, so you would have to decide if having flat-rate rewards are worth more than not having to pay interest. These cash back reward incentives can be beneficial, but depending on your circumstances, it may not be a significant factor if your primary goal is to develop credit.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card
The Discover it Secured Card is one of the best cash back credit-building cards, as it offers flat-rate cash back on all purchases, elevated cash back on gas stations and restaurants purchases as well as Cashback Match, which is where Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year with the card. In complete contrast to the Chime Credit Builder Secured, you can build credit and earn valuable rewards in the process.
Unfortunately, it has a pretty high interest rate, which is significantly above the current average credit card interest rate. It also has a foreign transaction fee and a minimum security deposit of $200, unlike the Chime Credit Builder Secured, so you’d have to give up the low cost of the Chime Credit Builder Secured Card for the opportunity to earn cash back rewards with the Discover it Secured.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card vs. Citi® Secured Mastercard®
The Citi Secured Mastercard is similar to the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa in that there is no annual fee, no rewards and no notable benefits, but the main difference is that you have the option to upgrade to an unsecured card after making on-time payments for a specified period of time, whereas with the Chime Credit Builder Secured, there is no option to upgrade. Therefore, you must stick with the secured card unless you decide to apply for a unsecured credit card with a different issuer.
Though you can upgrade to an unsecured credit card with the Citi Secured Mastercard, you have to pay high interest, a slew of fees such as a foreign transaction fee and balance transfer fee as well as a minimum $200 security deposit – so you would have to forego many of the Credit Builder Secured Card’s low-cost perks to have the option to upgrade to an unsecured card with the Citi Secured Mastercard.
How to use Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
- Set automatic transfers from your Chime Checking account using the Move My Pay feature.
- Use the Secured Credit Builder Visa card on everyday purchases to build a steady balance, that way your payments can be tracked and reported to the three major credit bureaus.
- Make sure you pay your bills on time by using the Safer Credit Building feature, as timely payments are essential for building a good credit score.
- Use Chime’s in-app credit-building features with Experian to track progress.
- Use the opportunity to open a Chime High Yield Savings (HYS) Account to earn 2.00% APY.
- After you have improved your credit and upgraded to better cards, don’t close this card – especially if this is your first card. Credit scores benefit from accounts with long, positive credit histories.
Is the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card right for you?
The Chime Visa Secured Credit Card has no annual fee, no interest charges and an easy-to-use mobile app, and is overall a good alternative card option for consumers with no credit history or bad credit who are looking to repair their financial record. It has many of the same benefits and drawbacks as traditional secured cards in the market, but it offers a particularly compelling mix of both.
You can utilize credit-building features like you would with any other competing credit card, but its lack of rewards stands out as its most notable drawback. There are secured cards that offer rewards, however, but you will presumably have to pay interest and a minimum security deposit. But overall, if your primary focus is to build credit, the Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card is a simple, no-frills way to reach your goals.
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