Self Visa® Credit Card review
Fund this secured card using a credit-builder loan.
- Get this card if you want to save consistently and if you have damaged credit.
- Pick something else if you don’t need a savings component, and if you have no credit or fair credit.
- Apply with any credit score.
Purchase APR (variable)
Recommended credit score
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The Dallas Morning News, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
The Self Visa® Credit Card is a secured credit card with a $25 annual fee. It’s unique in that you must take out a credit-builder loan beforehand — called a Credit Builder Account — and make three on-time monthly payments. Then, use your savings progress in your loan to fund your card’s security deposit.
Before getting the card, consider if its unique structure will work for you. One factor to consider is whether you want to keep making payments into the Credit Builder Account for 12 to 24 months. The minimum monthly payment is $25 to $150, and you’ll have to keep paying it for the life of your credit-builder loan. Otherwise, you’ll incur an early withdrawal fee.
On the upside, you won’t have to make an additional deposit for your secured card. Once you reach $100 in savings, you can open the card. And as you continue saving in your Credit Builder Account, you can increase your card’s credit limit in increments of $25. This convenience is a big selling point for Self.
Another perk is you can apply for Self with any credit score. That makes this lender an option if your score is severely damaged. Just make sure you have the income to pay into your Credit Builder Account each month.
Should I get the Self Visa® Credit Card?
There are two reasons to get the Self card: If you want a system that forces you to save money, and if you have severely damaged credit that’s making it difficult to get approved for a card.
Consider Self if you need both the Credit Builder Account and a secured card — and you like the synergy between these products. Otherwise, there are other secured card options if you have extremely poor credit. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, for example, doesn’t require a credit check.
How Self works
- Open a Self account and pay the $9 administrative fee. Self’s bank partner will lend you funds to put into a certificate of deposit (CD), and you can’t access the money until the CD matures.
- Make your next three monthly payments on time.
- If you’ve accumulated at least $100 in savings and your account is in good standing, you’re eligible to open the Self Visa® Credit Card.
- Use your savings progress to secure your Self Visa® Credit Card.
- When you pay off your credit-builder loan, you’ll receive your principal back minus fees and interest.
Current Credit Builder Account plans
At the time of this writing, here are the Credit Builder Account plans Self offers:
|Monthly payment||Term||Administrative fee||Interest rate||APR||Finance charge||Total amount of payments||Amount you receive at end of term|
- You don’t need a credit score.
This card can be a good choice if you have no credit history or if your credit is damaged. While approval is never guaranteed, Self’s approval requirements are quite lenient.
- No hard inquiry.
Most credit card issuers initiate a hard inquiry on your credit report when you apply for a card, which typically lowers your credit score. Self doesn’t. Instead, it may perform a soft inquiry, which won’t affect your credit score.
- Fund your secured-card deposit with your credit-builder loan.
As you make payments into your credit-builder account, use your savings progress for your secured-card deposit if you meet the requirements.
How to use your Credit Builder Account savings progress for your secured-card deposit
Here are the requirements if you’d like to open a Self Visa® Credit Card:
- You made the last three monthly payments for your Credit Builder Account on time.
- You have savings progress of at least $100 in your Credit Builder Account.
- Your account is in good standing — including no outstanding fees.
What to watch out for
- $25 annual fee.
A $25 annual fee isn’t high for a secured card, but it can be an unwanted cost while you’re trying to build your credit. Several other great secured cards don’t charge annual fees at all.
- You can open the card only if you sign up for a Credit Builder Account.
Even then, you can’t open the secured card right away — you have to make a few on-time monthly payments first.
- $9 administrative fee for the Credit Builder Account.
It’s not particularly high compared to other credit-builder loans, but it’s still a cost to consider.
- You’ll find lower APRs on credit-builder loans elsewhere.
The APR hovers around 15% variable. Meanwhile, you can find credit-builder loans from some credit unions with APRs as low as 4% to 5% variable. This means you could end up paying more over the life of your loan.
How to apply for the Self Visa® Credit Card
- Click Apply now.
- Click Start building credit.
- Enter your email address.
- Enter your name and create a password. Agree to Self’s terms and proceed to the application.
- Complete the application with details such as your address, mobile phone number, Social Security number and date of birth.
To qualify for approval at Self, you must:
- Be a US citizen or eligible permanent resident with a physical address in the country.
- Be at least 18 years of age or older.
- Have a debit card or bank account to fund your loan.
- Have a Social Security number.
What credit score do I need?
You can apply to Self with any credit score. You can also apply if you don’t yet have a credit score.
Compare secured credit cards
The Self Visa® Credit Card is unique in the way it manages to make a credit-builder loan and secured card work together. That said, apply with the company if you need both products. You may also have an extra incentive to apply if you have severely damaged credit, as the company doesn’t check your credit score. For other options, consider secured credit cards with no credit check.