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Kovo Credit Builder
Fee
$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open
$0

Our verdict

Pay to build a better credit history and access personal and business online courses.

Kovo is a public benefits corporation that offers a credit-building plan with monthly installments over 24 months. There are no monthly service fees, interest charges, late fees, prepayment penalties or failed payment fees — plus, there’s no hard credit check. While there are no fees, you’ll pay $10 in monthly installments, which are reported to the major credit bureaus to boost your credit history. These payments also unlock online personal and professional courses covering lessons on improving self-esteem, stress management, programming and business plan essentials. However, unlike most credit-building loans, Kovo doesn’t release your funds back to you after the term ends. And while the product advertises rewards gift cards, earning those requires signing up with Kovo’s partners.

Best for: Those who want to build credit history.

Pros

  • No fees
  • No hard credit check
  • Reports to four credit bureaus
  • Access various digital courses

Cons

  • Won’t receive funds at the term’s end
  • Autopay isn’t optional
  • Gift card rewards require signing up with Kovo’s partners
  • No mobile app

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Who is Kovo best for?

Kovo is best for someone who needs to start building a payment history or those on the road to credit repair. Kovo is rather affordable. While there’s no monthly fee, you’ll make $10 in monthly installments to add up to two years of payment history to your credit reports. Overall, it’s best for someone who wants to improve their credit score and avoid taking on debt.

How Kovo Credit Builder works

Most credit-building loans involve making monthly payments into a savings account. At the end of the term, the lender releases the funds back to you minus interest and fees.

Kovo works a little differently than regular credit-building loans — its plan is more like a subscription service that builds credit history.

The Kovo credit-builder plan involves making $10 monthly payments for 24 months. Kovo automatically withdraws the payments from your linked payment method. You’ll gain access to a library of educational courses, and Kovo reports your payments to major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Innovis. The payments factor into your payment history, which makes up 35% of your FICO 8 score. With timely payments, a Kovo credit-builder plan could help improve your credit score with reported payments.

Unlike other credit-building loans, you won’t get the $240 back once the term is over, and unlike a traditional personal loan, Kovo won’t give you any funds upfront. In a nutshell, you’re paying $240 for two years to access educational courses and build payment history. If you want to cancel the Kovo credit-builder plan before the 24-term is up, you can do so without any penalties. However, you won’t get the full two years of payment history reported.

What we like about Kovo

Kovo offers a straightforward way to build a payment history that can increase your credit rating. It also reports to the major credit bureaus, including Innovis, a lesser-known bureau. Some credit-building products only report to one or two major credit reporting agencies, such as Experian Boost, which only reports to Experian.

There are actually no fees

We dug hard for hidden fees with this service and came up short — the only thing you have to pay is the $10 monthly installment for the credit-building plan.

There are no interest charges, late fees, prepayment penalties or early closure fees. There’s also a 30-day refund guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the service starting from the day you sign up. If you cancel outside the 30-day refund period, there still aren’t any fees to do so (you just won’t get your money back).

While there are no late fees, being more than 30 days late on your Kovo payment can be reported to the credit bureaus, potentially harming your credit score. You can avoid late payments by setting up your account with autopay.

Various digital courses

When you get a Kovo Credit Builder plan, you’ll gain access to its interactive, digital courses, which Kovo states are valued at $400 altogether.

A few include:

  • Self Confidence & Self Esteem: Confidence via Self-Awareness
  • Entrepreneurship: How To Start A Business From Business Idea
  • Stress Management With Time Management for Burnout & Anxiety
  • Business Plan Essentials: Roadmap to Success
  • Intro to Programming

The courses’ creators aren’t listed, and it’s unclear if you gain access to the full library of courses when you sign up or if you unlock courses over the 24-month plan.

Where it falls short

Kovo’s plan is a little different from most credit-building products or loans in that you won’t receive the funds at the end of the term. A major draw with most credit-building loans is that you’re building a nest egg and improving your credit score at the same time — Kovo really only offers payment history building. So unless you enjoy educational courses, the $10 monthly payment for those courses might not be worth it.

Rewards program isn’t great

As soon as you land on Kovo’s site, it says you can build credit history with rewards. It’s true that there are rewards, but they’re not like the rewards you’d find with a credit card. You’ll get gift cards from Kovo’s partners, and you’re only eligible once you’ve made at least four on-time payments on your credit-building plan.

When you open a loan or credit card offered by Kovo’s partners, which can include lenders and credit card issuers, you can get a gift card that’s 1% of the amount you’re taking out. For example, if you were to take out a $5,000 personal loan with a Kovo partner, you could earn a $50 gift card. However, each reward can only be redeemed once per category, and each category has limits:

  • Personal loan up to $500 gift card
  • Student loans up to $250 gift card
  • Auto loan refinancing up to $150 gift card
  • Credit card up to $75 gift card

Kovo is trying to offer an incentive to customers to open loans or credit cards from its partners so it can make money. But earning a gift comes at the cost of committing to a loan or credit card, and it’s not that enticing. Applying for credit you don’t need can increase your debt and hurt your credit score.

Kovo’s fees and access

Type of feeFee details
Monthly installment payment$10
Monthly service or membership fee$0
Minimum deposit$0
Credit score requirementNo credit check
APR0%
Other fees
  • Late fee: $0
  • Prepayment penalties: $0
  • Early closure fees: $0
  • Failed payment fees: $0

Compare Kovo to other credit-building products

Narrow down top credit-building options by cost and benefits. For a better comparison, tick the Compare box on multiple providers to see their features side by side.

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$0
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Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Step Black Card
From $0 per month
$0
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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.
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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
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Current Credit Building Card
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Current Credit Building Card
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Build credit with every swipe using only the money in your account, no matter your credit history or score.
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How to open Kovo credit-builder account

Kovo doesn’t have an app, so head to KovoCredit.com to get started.

  1. Create an account with email and password creation, and verify your email.
  2. Apply for the credit-building account. Eligibility depends on identity verification and income qualification.
  3. If approved, link your preferred payment method to cover the $10 monthly payments for 24 months. Payments are set to autopay.
  4. Access digital courses on various topics.

There are no fees if you need to cancel your account before the 24 months are up. If you cancel within the 30-day refund period, you may qualify for a refund.

Customer experience

Kovo holds a respectable A rating with the Better Business Bureau and has a few dozen complaints. Like other companies with credit-building loans and products, some complaints are from customers who were under the impression they were applying for a loan or say that Kovo incorrectly reported late payments. Kovo makes an effort to respond to all positive and negative reviews to resolve them or clear up confusion around its credit-building product.

Those few complaints are quickly outshined by Kovo’s very positive Trustpilot page. It holds a stellar 5-star rating — very rare for a financial services company. Customers are very pleased with the product, reporting a marked increase in their credit scores. They praise the easy signup and the autopay, and they like that Kovo reports to all the major bureaus.

Frequently asked questions

Do you get your money back with Kovo?

No, you don’t get your monthly installments back from Kovo once the 24-month term ends. The monthly installments are used to pay for the digital courses you can access, and Kovo reports the payments to the major credit bureaus.

How much does Kovo credit builder cost?

You’ll pay $10 in monthly installments. There are no interest charges, membership fees or late fees — just the monthly payment for the credit-builder plan.

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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