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Top debit cards that build credit

Explore cards that can help improve your credit score.

Our top cards

Secured credit cards can be secured by a cash deposit or a deposit account. Credit cards backed by a deposit account are often called credit-building debit cards or debit-credit cards. When you use a secured card that’s linked to a deposit account, your credit limit is determined by your deposit account’s balance — meaning you can’t spend more than you have, helping you avoid excessive debt while also building a credit history. And to top it all off, these unique secured cards usually don’t have annual fees or interest charges.

Second-chance credit building

Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

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  • No annual fees
  • No credit check to apply, no interest and no minimum security deposit
  • Apply with a Chime Checking account and qualifying $200+ direct deposit

Build credit & earn rewards

Step Black Card

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  • $0 monthly fee with $500 in monthly direct deposits
  • Earn 5.00% on savings
  • Get up to 8% cashback on purchases
  • FDIC-insured up to $1 million

Good for cashback rewards

Extra debit card

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  • Starts at $12.50/month with yearly plan or $20 paid monthly
  • No credit check and no APR
  • Earn up to 1% back in points
  • Links to your bank account
  • Compatible with 10,000+ banks

Compare debit cards that build credit

1 - 5 of 6
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Requirements Credit Bureaus Offer
Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Finder Score: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
$0 per month
Must have a Chime Checking Account with eligible direct deposits to qualify.
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
A secured credit card that helps build credit and is designed to work with Chime’s Checking account.
Step Black Card
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Step Black Card
From $0 per month
Step users who are 13 years or older
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
Safely build credit without a credit check or credit history while earning savings rewards and cashback.
Extra debit card
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Extra debit card
From $20 per month
Requires an existing bank account.
Equifax, Experian
The Extra Debit Card can help build your credit and even offer rewards on every purchase.
Cleo Credit Builder Card
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cleo Credit Builder Card
$14.99 per month
Requires bank account
Equifax, Experian,TransUnion
A secured credit card designed to help build credit with up to a $500 cash advance
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
From $4.99 per month
Must be at least 18 years old, have an existing US bank account and a Social Security number
Cushion is an all-in-one banking app can organize your finances and build credit history

How do credit-building debit cards work?

Most debit cards come with deposit accounts, like checking accounts. With these, you can typically only spend up to your account’s available balance. Since you’re not borrowing, traditional debit cards aren’t part of your credit history.

Credit-building debit cards are like a debit and credit card hybrid. They’re basically an alternative secured credit card but with a different security deposit.

Credit-building debit cards are usually secured with an existing, linked bank account. The linked bank account balance acts as your security balance and sets your spending limit. When you use the card to make purchases, the balance is typically repaid with the linked bank account. Those payments are then reported to the credit bureaus, which can help you build a positive credit history.

Most secured and unsecured lines of credit charge interest. But most credit-debit cards are free, and most don’t charge annual fees or an APR like a traditional credit card.

Benefits of credit building debit cards

One of the best benefits of credit-building cards is the opportunity to build a better credit history, and usually, that means fewer fees than traditional credit cards.

  • Usually no APR. Most credit-debit cards don’t charge interest.
  • Fewer fees. Unlike credit cards, most credit-building debit cards don’t charge annual fees — and many don’t charge monthly maintenance fees either.
  • The account is secured. Most have some type of security, whether it be a linked bank account or a security deposit, making them a safer way to borrow due to the lower risk of accumulated debt you can’t repay.
  • No credit check. The majority don’t require a hard credit pull, and if they do, the requirements are easier to meet than traditional credit cards or loans.
  • Credit-building loans create a nest egg. These products are like savings accounts that you’re required to contribute to, and once the term is up, you get access to the funds.

What to watch out for

Credit-building products are considered safer than traditional borrowing methods, but with that safety comes some downsides.

  • Low spending limits. Because these credit-building debit cards often require a security or deposit, the spending limits are typically much lower than traditional credit cards.
  • Often requires linked bank accounts. Most require you to link an existing bank account, and most require you to open a specific checking account to qualify.
  • Check where they report. Some credit-building products don’t report to all three credit bureaus. For example, Affirm only reports payments to Experian.
  • Credit building loans take time. Unlike traditional installment loans, credit-building cards with loan installments won’t let you access funds until the term is over.

Who are credit-building cards best for?

Credit-building debit cards are great for anyone who wants to start improving their credit history. And if you have a poor credit history, most don’t require a hard credit pull at all, so your credit history isn’t a factor during the application process.

However, you’ll need a security deposit or a linked bank account that’s funded for credit-building debit cards to actually work. They won’t build credit on their own — you have to use the card so that repayments get reported to the credit bureaus.

Bottom line

Building credit takes time — often years of hard work. But many of these credit-debit cards can help push you in the right direction if you consistently use them and make all your payments on time. But taking on credit-building products isn’t the only way to boost your credit history — see more tips on how to build credit here.

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