- If you’re having debt problems, you can contact the government’s money advice website, MoneyHelper for free support.
Finance broker Credito launches in the UK with a new service designed to build your credit with 12 monthly payments.
New kid on the “build your credit score” block Credito has launched a subscription service designed to build your credit profile, that is if you’re willing to shell out a monthly fee. But with a £19.99 non-refundable payment being reported to just 1 credit reference agency and the concerning prospect of taking out an unregulated loan, it’s hard to see Credito taking off just yet.
What is Credito?
Just like many other credit building services, Credito is targeting those with poor or no credit with a service designed to build their credit score. It works as a 12-month subscription service. Each month you pay your monthly subscription fee, Credito will count this as a finance repayment and will report it back to credit reference company TransUnion.
The idea is that this demonstrates to future lenders that you’re responsible with your financial obligations. Conversely if you miss a payment, this is likely to harm your credit profile and impact your ability to get loans or credit cards, or get good rates.
Credito is a licensed credit broker that trades under Credit Intelligence, which also owns credit report service Credit Angel.
Although Credito is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), using its service requires you to take out an interest-free loan (0% representative APR) with an unregulated lender called Credit Builder Loans. Using unregulated loans isn’t recommended and means that you do not fall under the protection of the FCA if you have a problem.
How does Credito work?
Once you have completed the sign-up journey, Credito will set up a £239.88 unregulated loan from a company called Credit Builder Loans. Each month, your £19.99 membership will be automatically taken from the UK bank account you provided and reported to TransUnion, essentially acting as a “loan repayment”.
At the end of the 12 months, your Credit Builder Account will close and you may see an improvement to your TransUnion credit score. However, be aware that your other borrowing activities over the same period could undermine the benefit from Credito – for example, if you missed a payment on a credit card, your credit score could still go down despite using Credito.
As part of your membership, you will also have access to Credito’s guides and advice which offer to help you create a financial action plan. This action plan is aimed to give you tips on how to manage your money and identify what is currently holding you back from receiving loans from other lenders.
What features does Credito have?
- Credito app. Although not yet launched, Credito is promising that its app will be available soon. It seems that the app will allow you to keep track of your credit score, showing your starting score and how much it is improving by (if used correctly). You will also be able to view your current payment history and when the next payment is due.
- Credit advice. As part of your subscription, you’ll have access to Credito’s “credit coaches” and you can set up an action plan on how to improve your financial well-being.
- UK-based support team. Credito offers online and phone support for your credit builder account.
Is Credito safe to use?
Although Credito is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), signing up to Credito requires you to take out an interest-free loan (0% representative APR) from an unregulated lender, Credit Builder Loans. This means that you can’t use the Financial Ombudsman if you have a problem.
What are the pros and cons of Credito?
- You can potentially boost your TransUnion credit score.
- You can access your credit score and track any progress (however this is free from a number of services).
- It has the potential to damage your score if you miss a payment.
- You have to take out a loan with an unregulated lender.
- Credito reports to one credit reference company (TransUnion) and there are other credit-builder options like LOQBOX that report your payments back to the big 3 UK agencies.
- It has a non-refundable monthly fee.
- The free trial is limited to 14 days.
- There are no perks or rewards.
- Alternative tools can show you your credit score for free.
Am I eligible for Credito?
Because there’s little risk involved (for Credito), there aren’t strict eligibility requirements. To be accepted you must:
- Have a UK bank account which allows direct debits
- Have an email address, phone number and be a UK Resident
- Be 18 or over to use this service
- Have an iOS or Android smartphone to be able to use the app (not yet released)
The company recommends that you don’t apply if you’ve received 1 or more county court judgements (CCJs), or have been subjected to an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) or debt management plan in the last 12 months.
Credito customer reviews
Since Credito launched, it’s received only a small number of reviews on Trustpilot.
As there were only a little over 20 reviews when we checked (updated 26 January 2022), we can’t draw any meaningful themes from them yet. Reviewers were generally positive, with some saying they found Credito efficient and helpful.
Our verdict: Is Credito any good?
In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in credit building initiatives that promise you a simple solution to boost your credit score. If you want to accelerate your credit score improvement, credit-boosting tools are a viable option. But when other credit-building tools like LOQBOX are offering a free service (as long as you open a bank account with a LOQBOX partner) that will help you build up some savings without asking you to take out an unregulated loan, Credito is falling short.
Alternatives to Credito
When considering credit-builder services it’s important to know all the options available to you. Before committing to a service, have a read of our top 10 tips on how to improve your credit score.
Other credit-building services
As the one who did it first, LOQBOX has been dominating the credit-building market with its free tool that allows you to build up your credit score and save some money. Like Credito, each month you will pay a sum to LOQBOX that will be reported to a credit bureau, but unlike Credito, LOQBOX not only reports to TransUnion but also to Experian and Equifax. When the 12 months are up (or sooner), you will get all your money back.
For more alternative credit-building tools, have a look at the table below.
Alternatives to credit-building services
Having a poor or limited credit history doesn’t mean that credit cards are off the table. As long as you pay off your credit card each month, credit builder credit cards are a way to build a positive credit history with your everyday spending. Think about it, how many Costa coffees can you buy with £19.99?
If you’re on the fence about credit builder services, it is definitely worth taking a look at our eligibility checker to see what credit cards you could get approved for, with no effect on your credit score.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
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