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Kikoff
On Kikoff's secure site
Fee
From $0 per month
Minimum deposit to open
$0

Our verdict

This fintech offers many ways to build your credit history, but not all options report to all three credit bureaus.

Kikoff is a credit-building fintech with multiple products designed to help you build a better credit history. There's a revolving line of credit called Credit Account, credit-builder loans, a secured credit card with 0% APR, a dispute tool, and rent reporting services — all of which have the potential to improve your credit score with careful management. One of the most intriguing products is the secured credit card that works like a debit card; it has no credit check, interest charges or annual fees. The Credit Builder revolving line of credit is a very odd product, and you might be better off with another credit-building tactic. Most of the products lack monthly fees, aside from the credit-building loans that require monthly payments for reporting activity, but know that not all of the products and services report to all three major credit bureaus.

Best for: Those who want to build credit without worrying about an APR or hard credit checks.

Pros

  • Multiple credit-building products
  • Secured credit card with cash back
  • No hard credit checks

Cons

  • Credit Account is only for Kikoff online store purchases
  • Rent reporting only reports to Equifax
  • Dispute tool only for Equifax errors

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Who is Kikoff best for?

Kikoff is best for someone looking to start building their credit history or those who need to rebuild a poor credit history. Kikoff offers different types of credit-building products, including a dispute tool that helps you find and correct errors on your Equifax credit report, a secured credit card, a line of credit for small purchases and credit-building and rent reporting services.

Kikoff products and services

ProductType of productDetailsCredit bureaus it reports toMonthly fees
Kikoff Credit AccountRevolving line of credit with limited purchasing options.Credit line up to either $750 or $2,500 that can be used in Kikoff‘s online store for credit-building purchases.Equifax and Experian
  • $5 for the basic tier
  • $20 for the premium tier
Kikoff Credit Builder loanA credit-building loan.Make $10 monthly payments into an account, and after 12 months, you receive all the funds back.Equifax and TransUnion$10 monthly payments
Kikoff Secured Credit CardA secured credit card with 0% APR.Requires a $50 deposit for credit reporting, 0% APR, cashback rewards and overdraft protection by meeting deposit requirements.Equifax, TransUnion and Experian$0
Kikoff rent reportingGet rent payments reported.One-time fee of $50, requires verification of lease or rental agreement and reports timely rent payments.Equifax$0 with Credit Account Premium
Dispute toolDispute errors on Equifax credit report.Can remove up to five errors per month, no fees.Equifax$0

What we like about Kikoff

Kikoff offers multiple avenues to start improving your credit history. Most of Kikoff‘s products are free to use and lack hard credit pulls. Kikoff will report your accounts each month, but which credit bureau it reports to depends on the Kikoff product you choose.Kikoff also has a credit report dispute tool designed to remove errors from your credit reports for you, up to five errors per month. There’s no fee for this service, but it can only remove errors from your Equifax report.

Other products and services address the major factors of your FICO 8 Score, which are payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history and credit mix. To sign up for any of their products, you’ll need to create a free Kikoff account with an email and password, and you’ll need a bank account to pay for credit-building loans, connect to the secured card or repay the Credit Account.

Secured credit card with 0% APR

Perhaps one of the better products, the Kikoff Secured Credit Card, is very similar to other popular secured debit-credit cards. It has no annual fee, 0% APR and no credit check, and activity is reported to all three credit bureaus. The card can also be used at ATMs within the Allpoint network with no fees, but there’s a $2.50 Kikoff out-of-network ATM fee.

The Kikoff Secured Credit Card requires a $50 minimum deposit for credit reporting, and deposits are kept in the Kikoff Credit + Cash Account that you open with the secured card. You also need to link an external bank account. The deposits act as the security and set the credit limit on the secured card. At the end of each billing cycle, the funds you deposited automatically repay your owed balance. There are no interest charges, because you’re required to repay your entire owed balance from the billing cycle each month.

Cashback rewards are available too. They’re limited-time offers that can be found in the Rewards section of the Kikoff mobile app. Online cashback deals require using a link, and in-store deals are automatically applied if conditions are met.

There’s also an optional overdraft protection service, in which you can use your linked bank account to cover overdrafts made from purchases or cash withdrawals with the secured card. To qualify for the overdraft service, you must have qualifying direct deposits of at least $500.01 each month into your Kikoff Credit + Cash Account.

Kikoff Credit Builder Loan

More of a traditional credit-building method, the Kikoff Credit Builder loan acts like a savings product designed to build credit. It’s a 12-month term that requires you to make a $10 minimum deposit every month into the account. At the term’s end, you’ll get the full $120 you deposited, and you would have built 12 months of positive payment history as long as you made timely payments.

While their site states that it’s like “a savings product with minimal fees and a low interest rate,” we confirmed with several customer representatives that the account doesn’t earn an APY like a traditional savings account. There’s also no APR, but you’ll pay a $0.50 fee if you pay by card.

Credit account up to $750

Kikoff‘s Credit Account is a line of revolving credit that can be used to purchase mini credit-building plans for small purchases within the Kikoff online store. The credit line is up to $750, and there’s no interest charges, credit check, annual fees or late fees. The credit line has a small minimum payment of just $5 per month, and the account offers a full refund within 45 days if you’re not satisfied with the service.

The line of credit can only be used in the Kikoff online store. This account doesn’t come with a physical debit card and can’t be used for everyday purchases. You can only make small purchases in the Kikoff store for small credit-building loans and to buy things like e-books, video courses, budgeting exercises and other things of that nature. The line of credit will cover the purchases made in the store, and you’ll then repay the balance on the line of credit with no interest charges.

For example, you could buy a Kikoff Credit Building Service plan for $4.75 per month for eight months. Using the line of credit, you’ll pay the $4.75 per month for the term, and you repay Kikoff‘s line of credit to build credit history that’s reported to Equifax and Experian.

These credit-building plans are different from the Kikoff Credit Builder loan. A Kikoff Credit Building Service plan doesn’t return your funds paid.

Get your rent payments reported

Kikoff can report your rent payments to Equifax, and only on-time payments will be reported. This service comes with no extra fees if you have a Kikoff Credit Account premium plan ($20 per month). For an additional one-time fee of $50, and Kikoff will report rent payments retroactively for up to 24 months.

To get rent payments reported, you must link the bank account you’re using to pay your rent, and send in a lease or landlord agreement for verification and Kikoff for verification and Kikoff can send verifiable payments to Equifax.

Where it falls short

The Kikoff dispute tool is a nice sentiment, but it can only remove potential errors from your Equifax credit report. The service is free, but it’s something you can do yourself for free by contacting any of the major bureaus. And similarly, the rent reporting service only sends payments to Equifax.

Credit Account isn’t that useful

Even though it doesn’t have any fees, the Credit Account’s line of credit can’t be used for purchases outside of Kikoff, and it doesn’t come with a physical card. This line of credit is only used to make purchases in the Kikoff online store.

It’s a tough sell, and the purchases are largely useless, aside from the potential credit-building opportunity or if you enjoy e-books. Comparing the Credit Account to the secured card option, the card is clearly better because you can actually use it — and the Credit Account only reports to two bureaus, whereas the secured card reports to all three.

Compare Kikoff to other credit-building products

Narrow down top credit-building services by fees, APR and features. For a better comparison, tick the Compare box next to multiple providers to view them side by side.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Requirements Credit Bureaus Offer
Experian Boost®
Not rated yet
Experian Boost®
$0 per month
$0
Requires Free Experian® membership and Experian Boost to build credit.
Experian
StellarFi
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
StellarFi
From $4.99 per month
$0
Must be at least 18 years old and a US resident with a valid Social Security number.
Equifax, Experian
Cushion
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cushion
From $4.99 per month
$0
Must be at least 18 years old, have an existing US bank account and a Social Security number
Experian
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
Extra
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Extra
From $20 per month
$0
Requires an existing bank account.
Equifax, Experian
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How to open Kikoff

Kikoff offers multiple products and services, all of which require a free Kikoff membership to access or apply for.

The credit-building products, such as the secured card, credit-building loan and credit account, all skip a hard credit check, and you must be a resident of the US with a Social Security number.

To be eligible for the Kikoff secured credit card, you must link an external bank account to make deposits or to enroll in the overdraft service. Similarly, you must link your bank account to use the rent reporting service or make payments on the Credit Account or credit-building loans.

Customer experience

KKikoff‘s customer feedback is very mixed. It launched in 2019 and has amassed nearly 1,000 customer complaints and reviews.

The majority of customer reviews on Trustpilot are very positive, with customers often stating they were skeptical of the fintech at first but then were surprised about the results and the improvements they saw to their credit files and scores. Others point out that it’s an easy and cost-effective way to build credit history, has an easy-to-navigate app and the customer phone line is helpful.

Complaints on its Better Business Bureau page are mostly from customers who didn’t know that the Credit Account can only be used in Kikoff‘s online store and that it doesn’t come with a physical card. Once customers figured that out, they canceled the account only to find out that canceling it can cause damage to their credit scores. Kikoff has responded to these complaints, explaining the product and apologizing for the confusion. They’ve also made attempts at resolving grievances.

On Reddit, most of the threads are users asking if Kikoff is legitimate, and the response is varied. Many of the threads say that Kikoff is a good supplement to other credit-building methods, and it’s an inexpensive way to start rebuilding credit history. Others tell stories about their credit scores increasing dramatically over a few months, and some users simply recommend traditional credit cards instead if they can qualify.

Frequently asked questions

Is Kikoff a bank?

No, Kikoff is a fintech company, and its banking services are provided and issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

Is Kikoff a legit credit-building service?

Yes, Kikoff is a legitimate credit-building fintech that reports credit-building accounts and credit cards to the major credit bureaus.

Do I get a physical card with Kikoff Credit Account?

No, you don’t get a physical credit or debit card with the Kikoff Credit Account. That line of credit can only be used in the Kikoff online store to enroll in credit-building plans to pay for small purchases within the online store.

If you want a physical Kikoff card, the Kikoff Secured Credit Card may be a better fit, as you get a physical card and can use it for purchases outside of Kikoff.

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

Writer, Banking and Loans

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