Imagine a fairy godmother for your finances, but instead of a magic wand, she’s got savvy tips to improve your credit score. Sounds great, right?
That’s pretty much what the best credit-building apps are all about. These handy apps offer the tools and advice to make better money moves.
They even keep an eye on those major credit bureaus to make sure you’re getting the credit you deserve.
Whether you dream of a new home, a family vacation, or just a little financial breathing room, these apps can guide you.
In this post, I’ll show you how credit apps can help unlock a brighter financial future for you and your family.
- Best For Free Credit Check – Credit Karma
- Best For Credit-Builder Loans – Self
- Monthly Membership Includes Online Courses & More – Kovo
9 Best Credit Building Apps
1. Credit Karma
First up is Credit Karma, an app I personally use and trust. It’s been around for a while, so you know it’s got staying power.
Credit Karma is a reliable, cost-effective way to stay financially savvy without spending a dime.
The Credit Karma app is free to download on iOS and Android, making it super easy to monitor your credit score and credit history anywhere you go.
Once you’re in, you’ll get all the good stuff: real-time updates from 2 major credit bureaus, personalized tips to improve your credit score, and more.
You can easily check for hard pulls on your credit, check your credit utilization, and view all your loan totals in one quick spot.
Read why it’s my first pick for improving credit with my honest Credit Karma Review.
- Free to use
- Uses information from credit bureaus to determine your score
- Weekly score updates
- Financial education tools
- View credit score, credit utilization, and more
- Third-party features
- Score accuracy varies
- Only uses two of the three credit bureaus
- Limited customer support
2. Self Credit Builder
Self is a comprehensive credit builder tool offering more than a quick fix.
Self reports rent payments and other on-time payments to the credit bureaus, which helps improve your credit score and builds a strong financial history.
When you choose one of their credit builder loans, your monthly payments are safely tucked away in a certificate of deposit (CD).
The dual approach allows you to build credit while accumulating a credit-builder account, essentially a small savings stash for future use.
Monthly amounts can be as low as $25 or as high as $150, fitting a range of budgets.
But a word of caution: Self isn’t your most budget-friendly credit builder alternative. They charge a $9 admin fee, with higher interest rates on late payments.
- Pay regular bills and loans, plus create savings to build credit
- Offers a secure credit builder card
- Flexible credit builder loan payment options
- Reports to credit bureaus
- Steep interest rates on credit builder loans
- $9 admin fee
- Not the cheapest option to build credit
3. Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame pays you for improving your credit score. I couldn’t believe it initially, but they’ll give you $100 if you bump your credit score by 100 points.
It’s like getting a bonus for being financially responsible!
Credit Sesame is a free checking account that has a lot of benefits. You can get a Sesame Cash debit card with up to 15% cash back at places like Airbnb and Walmart.
Credit Sesame also offers a unique feature where some debit card expenses can qualify as “credit card purchases.”
At the end of the month, these get reported to all three credit reporting bureaus, helping you build a solid credit history.
And for those who like to keep a close eye on their finances, Credit Sesame has you covered.
You can get daily updates on your credit score from Experian, so you’re always in the know.
- Rewards for good credit
- Reports to credit bureaus
- 0% at signup
- Daily score updates
- Limited to Experian for daily updates
4. Experian Boost
If you’ve seen the Experian Boost commercial with the cow, you know they’ve found a fun way to talk about a serious subject.
Just like in the ad, Experian Boost aims to ‘moo-ve’ your credit score up by counting utility and phone bills you’re already paying.
You connect your bank account, pick the bills you’re paying, and you could get an average increase of 13 points in your credit score.
It’s like getting a gold star for adulting!
The best part? Experian is one of the big three credit bureaus, so you know this boost comes from a reliable source.
Plus, you get free access to your Experian credit score as soon as you sign up.
It’s a straightforward way to start building credit, especially if you have a limited credit history.
- Counts non-traditional payments
- Immediate credit score update
- Free Experian score access
- Limited effect for those with extensive credit history
- Boosts Experian score only
- It needs at least three recurring payments
I’ve been looking at Kovo lately, and let me tell you, it’s a pretty unique find among credit-building apps.
For just $10 a month, you get to build up your credit and get access to a bunch of online courses.
I’m talking about courses that can help you ace an interview, manage stress, or even start your own business.
It’s like hitting two birds with one stone: you’re building your credit and picking up some life skills.
What caught my eye about Kovo is how they report your payments to not just one or two but four credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Innovis.
Plus, after making four on-time payments, you can unlock rewards like gift cards when you open a credit card or loan with their partner lenders.
It’s like a little pat on the back for being financially responsible.
- Reports to four credit bureaus
- Educational courses included
- Unlockable rewards
- Two-year commitment
- Courses may not suit everyone
For those who want to get into the nitty-gritty of their credit details, MyFICO is a solid choice.
This isn’t just another app; it’s from the company that created the FICO score.
So you’re getting your info straight from the source. For $19.95 a month, you can get a deep dive into your Experian credit report and FICO scores.
However, if you want the full scoop from all three major credit bureaus, it’ll cost either $29.95 or $39.95 per month.
The extra cost gives you peace of mind with added features like identity monitoring and ID theft insurance.
While MyFICO isn’t designed to build credit, it equips you with the knowledge you need to make smart financial moves.
The catch? If you opt for the basic or free plan, however, your scores only get updated every three months.
- In-depth FICO analysis
- Additional identity protections
- Access to educational resources
- Free version offers one credit report (Equifax)
- Full access costs money (not a free service)
- Scores for mortgages, auto loans & more aren’t included in the free version
MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus feature is a game-changer for those looking to build credit with a credit-builder loan.
You apply for a loan of up to $1,000 and then pay it off over 12 months.
The monthly payments are reported to all three credit bureaus, helping you build a solid credit history.
Now, let’s talk about the cost. The Credit Builder Plus feature isn’t free; it comes with a $19.99 monthly fee.
Plus, the rest of your loan amount is set aside in a Credit Reserve Account, which acts like a savings account.
Once you’ve paid off your loan, you can access all the money you’ve paid into the savings account.
MoneyLion isn’t just about building credit, either! It’s actually a solid neobank that offers a bunch of other perks, too.
We’re talking automatic investment accounts, zero-interest cash advances, and even debit card rewards.
- No hard credit check
- Access to loan upfront
- Builds savings
- Pay $19.99 monthly
- Works like a regular loan- with monthly payments
- Limited to MoneyLion features
- Need a MoneyLion membership
8. Grow Credit
Grow Credit is a standout among credit-building apps, designed to turn your monthly subscriptions into a way to build credit.
If you’re like me, you’re already paying for Netflix or Spotify, so why not get some credit score brownie points?
If you’re already shelling out for subscriptions, using Grow Credit can be a savvy way to multitask your finances and work on building credit and a positive credit history at the same time.
The app provides a free Mastercard credit builder card for these subscription payments. Every payment gets reported to the major credit bureaus, boosting your credit score.
The free basic plan offers a $17 monthly credit limit, covering at least one monthly subscription.
But you might want to look into their paid monthly plans if you’re juggling multiple subscriptions and want them to up your credit score.
The monthly fees for the paid plans can add up, so you’ll want to ensure the credit builder benefits are worth the cost and your credit will get help from it.
- Turns subscriptions into credit-building
- Free basic plan
- Flexible spending limits
- Basic plan doesn’t cover more than one subscription
- Monthly fees for higher subscription amounts
- Limited to subscription payments
- Not a one-stop credit builder app solution
Kikoff is more than just a credit-building app; it’s a full-fledged service aimed at helping you improve your credit in multiple ways.
The Credit Account is a revolving line of $750 credit that targets three key factors affecting your credit scores: payment history, credit utilization, and credit age.
You can use this credit account to purchase from the Kikoff store and make monthly payments.
These payments are reported to Equifax and Experian, helping you build credit over time. And don’t worry, there’s no credit check involved, so getting started is a breeze.
But Kikoff doesn’t stop there. They also offer a Credit Builder Loan, a one-year plan that helps you build a payment history and saves $10 a month.
At the end of the year, you get all your savings back, which is a nice little bonus.
Last but not least, there’s the Kikoff Credit+ Cash Card. It’s a free, secured credit card product that can take your credit from poor credit to good credit.
- Multiple credit options
- No credit check
- 0%APR and no annual fee
- Limited store use for credit line
- Monthly fee
- Partial bureau reporting
Where can I check my credit score for free?
There are several ways to check your credit score without spending a dime.
Apps like Credit Karma offer free credit monitoring services that show your credit score and give you a breakdown of what’s affecting it.
They’ll even offer some advice on how to boost that score, and you can check in for free multiple times to see if your score is improving.
Remember, it’s always good to monitor your credit report; these credit monitoring services make it easy to do just that.
How can I increase my credit score?
There are plenty of tools and strategies to help you improve your credit score.
First off, making on-time payments is crucial. Whether it’s a utility bill or a credit card payment, punctuality is key to a good credit score.
Another strategy is to keep an eye on your credit utilization ratio. Aim to keep it under 30% of your credit limit. Free credit-building apps can show this to you.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, try not to carry a balance of more than $300.
You might also consider using credit-builder apps or taking out a credit-builder loan to help you establish a good payment history.
Some people even opt for a secured credit card to build credit. And remember to check your credit reports for any errors or discrepancies regularly.
You can dispute any or consult a credit repair company for help if you find any bad credit history.
What helps build my credit the most?
When boosting your credit, a few key factors move the needle.
First up, making monthly payments on time is a biggie, and trying to make full payments whenever possible- starting with not maxing out your credit limits.
Whether it’s your credit card, car loan, or utility bills, timely bill payments show you’re reliable, which is music to the bureaus’ ears.
Another major player is your credit utilization rate. Keeping this low (ideally under 30% of your credit limit) shows you avoid credit card debt.
It’s a good indicator of your credit history that you’re low-risk, which can help improve those credit scores.
Lastly, having a credit mix of different types of credit can also help. This could be a combination of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, and mortgage loans.
A varied portfolio shows you can handle different kinds of debt, which can be a plus for your credit scores.
Do credit-building apps really work to improve my credit?
Credit-building apps work and can be a real game-changer for your financial health.
These apps often come with different tools designed to help you improve your credit score significantly.
For instance, some offer credit-builder loans or credit-builder cards designed to help you pay off bills or rebuild your credit while making savings.
You borrow a small amount of money with a credit builder loan, and then the app reports your on-time payments to the credit bureaus.
Voila, you improve your credit score and gain a positive payment history!
Another cool feature many of these apps offer is credit monitoring.
They keep an eye on your credit for you, alerting you to any changes reported by the credit bureau and offering advice tailored to your situation.
So, if you’re looking to build credit, these credit improvement apps can be a very effective way to do it.
It helped us keep things in check and really stick to our budgets!
What’s the best credit-building app?
Selecting the best credit-building app is a personal choice and depends on what you want to achieve with your credit.
I’m a fan of Credit Karma for its comprehensive features like free credit score checks and personalized advice.
Credit Sesame is another good credit monitoring service, especially if you’re interested in identity theft protection.
But if you’re looking for something different, Kovo is worth checking out.
Not only does it help you manage your credit line and credit builder loan options, but it also offers educational courses to help you understand credit better.
When choosing an app, think about your specific needs- improving your credit score, monitoring your credit to see if you have a good credit history or a bad one, or learning more about how credit works.
Consider any fees, read through user reviews, and maybe test out a few of the best credit-builder apps to see which one feels right for you.
How long will it take my credit score to improve?
The timeline for boosting your credit scores can vary widely depending on your starting point and how consistent you are with good financial habits.
If you’re coming back from bankruptcy or a home foreclosure, it could take 3-6 years or more to improve your credit.
If you’re starting with a lower score, you might see improvements within a few months by creating a positive payment history on your auto loans, credit cards, or any other debts.
It’s also good to keep an eye on your bank account to save money and avoid any annual fees or overdrafts that could set you back.
But, if you want a significant increase in your credit, time and effort will make the biggest difference, and the best credit-building apps can help you get there.
The key takeaway is that building a strong credit profile is a marathon, not a sprint. So, stay committed to your credit-building journey, and you’ll see the results over time.
Credit-builder apps like Credit Karma can be game-changers when you want to boost your credit score.
A good credit-building app will come with features that help you keep an eye on your credit, and they can guide you toward making choices that will improve your financial standing.
Once you’ve found your match, stick with it, and keep working with it to achieve financial freedom.
Make it a daily or weekly routine to check in, follow the advice, and stay on top of your payments and credit report.
Building up your credit isn’t a sprint; it’s more like a marathon. It takes time, patience, and a steady focus to get the results you want.
But with Credit Karma in your corner, you’ll find it much easier. Before you know it, you’ll see your credit score climbing and doors to new financial opportunities opening up.