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Ava Card ‍Build Credit
4.2
★★★★★
Finder score
On Ava's secure site
Fee
Varies by product $9 per month
Minimum deposit to open
$0

Our verdict

Build credit in two ways without interest charges; if you don’t mind a monthly fee.

Ava Card ‍Build Credit is a fintech company that offers two credit-building services: a credit card called the Ava Card and a credit-building loan called the Credit Builder Account. Both products don't require a hard credit check or opening deposit, and neither charges an APR. The Ava Card is used to pay for subscription services from a long list of approved merchants. The Credit Builder Account is a credit-building loan with a $30 monthly payment for 12 months, and you get the full amount back once the term is over. Ava reports to all three major credit bureaus to help improve your credit score, and can report payments within 24 hours instead of monthly so you can see faster results. But you'll pay $9 per month ($108 per year) or $72 for the yearly plan. And if you need a credit card for everyday spending, the Ava Card probably isn't for you as it's limited in what you can use it for.

Best for: People who want to build credit history.

Pros

  • No interest charges
  • No hard credit check
  • Credit card and credit-building loan
  • Reports to all major bureaus

Cons

  • Unavoidable fee
  • Ava Card only for subscriptions

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Who is Ava best for?

The Ava app is best for someone looking for ways to build credit history with minimal fees, no interest charges and without the worry of taking on debt. Ava requires you to link an existing bank account through Plaid, so if your primary bank isn’t compatible with Plaid, it’s not a good fit.

Ava is also best for someone with a lot of subscription services, as those are the only things you can use the Ava card for.

How Ava works

Ava has two products that work differently but can help build your credit with responsible management and timely payments.

Ava card

The Ava credit builder card is a credit card, but it can only be used to pay for approved subscription services, which include big names like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon, and many other services like game subscriptions, audiobooks, insurance and phone carriers.

It works like this: If approved, you’ll make the Ava card your primary payment method for the subscriptions of your choice. The Ava card is charged for those subscriptions, and then you pay off the Ava card balance with your linked bank account. Payment is due within seven days after the Ava card is used. You’ll need at least $100 in your linked bank account for automatic payments to go through. Otherwise, it will decline. While there are no fees for late payments, they can be reported to the bureaus, which can harm your credit rating.

The card has a credit limit of up to $2,500. The credit limit is designed to help with your credit utilization ratio. The payments add to your payment history, which is the most important factor in your FICO 8 score. The card doesn’t charge interest, annual fees or late fees.

Ava Save and Credit Builder Account

The Credit Builder Account is a credit-builder loan with no interest charges, credit check or late fees. It requires an existing bank account for payments and to set up the Ava Savings Builder account, which is where your payments are stored.

It works like this: You pay $30 monthly installments to Ava, which is placed in the Savings Builder account, which doesn’t earn an APY. Each payment is reported to the credit bureaus. After 12 months, the full amount is released to you ($360). Ava doesn’t charge finance fees or APR for this service, so in a way, you’re simply committing to a savings account that requires monthly contributions and builds your credit history.

However, just like other forms of credit, late payments can be reported to the credit bureaus, which could harm your credit score. There are no late fees, though.

Ava plans and cost

Ava is rather upfront about their pricing, offering a monthly and an annual membership plan to access the Ava Card and the Credit Builder Account.

PlanCost
Monthly$9/mo ($108 per year)
Annual$72/yr ($6 per month)

What we like about Ava

One of the first things we look at with credit-building services is what bureaus it reports to — and we’re happy to find that Ava reports to all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Many credit-building services only report to one or two, so this is a huge plus.

Also, Ava can report payment activity within 24 hours, whereas most reporting action is done monthly. If you want to see near-instant credit score improvement, this might be the service for you.

No credit check or APR

If you have poor credit or no credit history at all, it can be tough to get approved for credit to actually improve your credit rating. Ava doesn’t check your credit score when you apply and has no credit score requirements. There are also no interest charges on its credit card.

Ava Card has limited use, but it makes sense

The Ava Card is similar to other credit-reporting services with bill-paying cards such as StellarFi and Cushion. The card can only be used to pay for monthly subscription services. If you were on the hunt for a traditional credit card, this wouldn’t be for you. But if you need a credit card that won’t create the temptation to spend and want to build credit history without worrying about debt or an APR, it’s worth considering.

The Ava Card has a surprisingly large list of approved subscription services you can use it with, including game subscriptions, phone carriers, streaming services and even insurance. Some approved merchants include:

  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • Allstate
  • Amazon Prime
  • Apple subscriptions
  • Audible
  • Canva
  • Disney+
  • ESPN+
  • Funimation
  • HBO Max (Max)
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Pandora
  • Playstation Plus
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Walmart+
  • Xbox Live
  • YouTube Premium

Credit-building loan has no fees

Aside from the paid monthly subscription fee, the Credit Builder account doesn’t have any additional fees. The monthly payments are $30 per month, and at the term’s end, you get the full amount back.

Often, credit-building loans charge APR or finance fees to cover the service. But since Ava charges a monthly membership fee, that’s likely what’s considered a fee for the service.

Where it falls short

We have to call out the paid membership fee of $72 per year, or $9 per month. While it’s not as pricey as some rent-reporting services, and there are no exorbitant interest charges as you’d find with no-credit credit cards, it’s still a fee you have to consider.

As a fintech, Ava doesn’t have any physical locations like a traditional bank. There’s also no chat function on its site, but it does have a phone line, email and customer form you can submit.

Ava’s fees and access

Type of feeFee details
Membership$9 per month, or $72 per year
Opening deposit$0
Credit score requiredNone
Overdraft or nonsufficient funds$0
Late fees$0
APR0%

Compare Ava to other credit-building services

Narrow down top credit-boosting products by fees, benefits and more. For a closer look, tick the Compare box on multiple providers to see their features side by side.

1 - 5 of 15
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
$0
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
$0
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
$0
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
$1
Requires bank account
Equifax, Experian, TransUnion
A secured credit card designed to help build credit with up to a $500 cash advance
Ava Card ‍Build Credit
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Ava Card ‍Build Credit
From $9 per month
$0
Requires bank account
Equifax, Experian, TransUnion
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Customer experience

Ava does pretty well in the realm of customer reviews. It has an exceptional 4.8-star rating on Trustpilot out of nearly 1,000 reviews, most of which are happy customers.

Customers proudly proclaim how much their credit score has gone up since using the service, most seeing an increase between 60 to 100 points in just a few months. They love the lack of interest charges, ease of payments thanks to autopay and how the app helped them track their subscription services.

The most common complaint was that you need at least $100 in your linked checking account for autopay to go through for the Ava Card. Customers say that if it doesn’t go through with autopay, you can pay it manually, and it’s just a slight inconvenience.

On Ava’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile, there weren’t any major red flags worth calling out. Ava does have a poor F rating with the BBB, which is based on a company’s responsiveness to complaints and volume of complaints. Ava only has a few complaints, most of which have to do with accounts not connecting through Plaid, late payments being incorrectly reported and other smaller issues.

Overall, Ava’s feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

Frequently asked questions

Does Ava do a credit check?

No, Ava doesn’t check your credit score if you apply for the Credit Builder Account or the Ava Card.

Is Ava a bank?

Ava isn’t a bank — it’s a financial technology (fintech) company. Its banking services are provided and issued by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC.

Does Ava help build credit?

Ava could help improve your credit score with timely payments and careful management. It reports activity to the major credit bureaus, and the credit scoring models FICO and VantageScore use that information to generate your credit score. Ava’s Credit Builder Account can impact your payment history, length of credit history and credit mix. The Ava Card is a credit card, and it can positively impact your credit score when used responsibly.

Credit building card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top credit-building cards and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. The five factors include: Fees, credit score requirements, credit reporting practices, annual percentage rate (APR) and customer support options.

Read the full methodology of how we rate credit building cards.

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Bethany Finder

Editor, Banking

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