Self Credit-Builder Loan Review

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Written By
G. Dautovic
July 01, 2023
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If you're looking for a way to improve your credit rating, you may want to consider a Self credit builder loan. This type of loan is designed to help people improve their credit scores, and it can be a great option if you need to take control of your finances.

This review will focus on the credit builder loan offered by Self, one of the leading providers of these loans. Moreover, we’ll discuss the benefits of self credit builder loans as well as how to use them to improve your credit rating. Lastly, we’ll take a look at some Self Credit Builder reviews shared by the lender’s customers.


Reports to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

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Fortunly Rating

Fortunly's Rating: Our editorial team determines the rating based on a set of evaluation criteria developed for each product and service category.

12 or 24 months
15.65%-15.97% (depending on the plan)
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
From $9/month
pros thumb up Strengths
  • Reports to all three bureaus
  • Accepts clients with bad credit
  • Reports both loan and card payments
  • You can get a credit card with no extra security deposit or hard credit inquiry
pros thumb up Weaknesses
  • Plans begin at $25, whereas others offer cheaper options
  • Approval isn’t guaranteed

Overview: Is Self Credit Builder Legit?

Self is a credit builder loan service that helps people improve their credit score by offering secured loans. To obtain a secured loan, borrowers must provide collateral, typically in the form of a savings account. The Credit Builder Account is accessible to residents of all 50 states via Self's online and mobile platforms.

There are four Self credit builder plans to choose from, and the interest rate and APR will vary depending on which one you’ve opted for. Keep in mind that the money you borrow through a credit builder loan does not become available to you right away. Instead, certificates of deposit are used, which are FDIC-insured for your peace of mind. The funds will be released to you once all payments have been made.

Self credit repair reports to all three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which can help the borrower's credit score improve gradually. With the practical Self mobile app, borrowers can track their progress and see how their payments impact their credit score. All in all, Self is an excellent option for people looking to improve their credit score.

How Does Self Compare to Other Credit Builder Loans?

Self Logo
Credit bureaus reported to:

Experian, Equifax, TransUnion


From $9/month

Credit Strong Logo
Credit Strong
Credit bureaus reported to:

Experian, Equifax, TransUnion


From $15

SeedFi Logo
Credit bureaus reported to:

Experian, Equifax, TransUnion


Per request

How Does Self Lender Work?

Credit builder loans are one way that Self helps its customers raise their FICO scores. You can think of a credit builder loan as a personal loan with the specific goal of establishing a track record of on-time payments rather than financing a purchase. In addition to these loans, you can also choose credit counseling services, which can assist you in getting back on track.

A credit builder loan works by delaying the transfer of funds until after the loan terms have been fulfilled. So, before you get your hands on the money, you must make your final payment. The first step, similar to applying for any loan, is filling out an application. You will need to give Self Lender Inc some identifying information, including your name, Social Security number, and address.

This is how it works if you get approved:

  • Self will open a savings account in your name and deposit the loan amount there, sending you a monthly bill.
  • Your monthly loan payment is reported to the credit bureaus by Self.
  • Self will give you access to the savings account once you've paid off your balance in full.

Your regular payments include both principal and interest. As a result of these payments, your credit score will hopefully increase, and you will be able to collect a sum of money at the end of the loan that will be sufficient to improve your credit score.

Expect your Self Credit Builder Account to appear on your credit report one or two months after opening it. It's possible that Self may appear on your credit report as a "secured installment loan," so don't be alarmed if you don't see the word "Self" anywhere.

How To Apply for a Self Loan?

The loan application is completed online. The prerequisite is a negative ChexSystems report from the previous 180 days, including bounced checks or unpaid fees. To qualify, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a permanent resident of the United States
  • You must have a Social Security number
  • Have a bank account or a debit card; a prepaid card is acceptable too.

If you choose a longer loan term, you’ll be stuck with it for the duration of your loan even though it might turn out you need a shorter one. On the other hand, when you opt for larger payments, Self lender loans are typically shortened. Self will not perform a hard credit pull when you open an account, which is convenient for those with poor credit.

Bear in mind that the number of on-time payments makes a huge difference in your credit score. Larger payments have the advantage of requiring you to save more money, but they may have the adverse effect of reducing the positive impact on your credit score.

Referral Program

Self Credit Builder offers a referral program that gives you a $10 award for every successful referral. Simply share your unique referral link with friends and family, and when they get a loan and make their first successful payment, you'll get $10 in your account. There is no limit to how many referrals you can make.

 Self  Rates and Fees

The next step is to settle on one of the four Self lender programs that works best for you. This includes not only the total amount of your monthly payments but also the number of payments you will be making. The available plans on Self are:


Monthly Payment Fee



Interest Rate


Small Builder


24 months




Medium Builder


24 months




Large Builder


12 months




X-Large Builder


12 months




In order to activate your account, you must pay a $9 one-time, non-refundable administrative fee. If your payment is 15 or more days late, you will be charged 5% of your regular monthly payment as a late fee. In most cases, your credit score will take a hit if your payment is more than 30 days late.

If your payments are consistently late, your Self account will be closed and a "defaulted" notation will be added to your credit reports. After deducting the closing costs and any outstanding balance from your loan deposit, you will receive the remaining balance. Please keep in mind that your credit will suffer as a result of this default.

Self Lender Credit Card

Self now offers a Visa credit card that is secured by funds from your Self loan account. The following are the requirements:

  • Your account must be in good standing.
  • You must have at least $100 in savings progress.
  • Your previous three monthly payments must have been received on time.

Like the loan, the secured credit card will report your payment history to the major credit bureaus without requiring a hard inquiry into your credit. You'll then have access to both revolving (credit card) and installment (the loan) credit. The credit scoring models in place today reward consumers for responsible use of credit, so this may help consumers build credit more efficiently.

Self Lender Reviews: BBB

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given Self a B+ rating. In operation since 2014, Self was accredited in 2016, and has helped over a million people improve their credit scores. 

Boasting an overall BBB score of 4 based on customer reviews, Self enjoys considerable trust among its users. However, a number of them reported being dissatisfied with how and when Self forwards information to the credit bureaus, as well as with the lender’s lack of promptness in addressing customer emails.

Self App Review

The Self app helps users keep track of their credit utilization, payment history, and other important factors that affect their credit score. Although there are numerous great credit builder apps on the market, Self's app stands out due to its simplicity and effectiveness, as evidenced by the app's high ratings on both the Play Store and the App Store.

Summary: Is Self a Good Credit Builder?

Self Credit Builder is a legitimate company that has helped many people improve their credit scores. Although there are some drawbacks to its services, the company offers a good way for people with poor or no credit to build up their credit history. 

Additionally, the app provides convenient tools for users to keep track of their progress. However, it takes time for your credit score to improve and for the loan to appear on your credit report. And if you pay off the loan early, you will not be refunded in full.


Is Self credit building worth it?


If you are looking to raise your credit score, a Self credit builder loan could be a good choice. Owing to a solid credit history, you get loans for big purchases like cars and houses.

Is Self Credit Builder legitimate?


Many people with bad or no credit have benefited from Self, a legitimate credit building company, as mentioned in numerous Self Credit Builder reviews.

How fast does Self build credit?


It typically takes 30-60 days for the loan to show up on your credit report after the date of approval. Many customers see an improvement in their credit score within three months of opening an account, as Self reports to the three major government agencies monthly.

What happens if I pay Self lender off early?


You will be reimbursed for the amount you paid, reduced by the non-refundable administrative fee and any interest you have already paid on the loan.