Monese

Monese Credit Builder review: Build your credit score each month

Another fintech introduces a way to build or improve your credit score while you save - for a £2.50 fee. Is it worth it?

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Monese Credit Builder is the latest offering from fintechs looking to help customers improve their credit rating by paying into a “reverse loan”. The service costs 3 times more than its main rival, LOQBOX, so what do you get for your money?

How Monese Credit Builder works

Monese Credit Builder is a cross between a savings account and a loan, and is designed to help you improve your credit score. Like LOQBOX, it does this by reporting monthly payments – that get deposited in a “locked” savings account – to the credit reference agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, as regular repayments on a loan.

You choose the amount you can pay, between £30 - £100 per month. Monese multiplies this amount by 12 and locks that amount away for you in a “Credit Builder pot”, to be unlocked once you’ve made your last (12th) repayment.

As long as you make all your payments in full and on time (along with the monthly fee), by the end of the year you’ll have 12 months of “positive payment behaviour” recorded by the credit reference agencies, and between £360 and £1,200 saved up and ready to spend.

You can cancel your payments before the end of the 12 months and get back the money you’ve paid in (minus the monthly fee: see below) but Monese warns that you’re less likely to see an improvement in your credit score if you do this.

How much does it cost?

Unlike LOQBOX, which is free (as long as you keep your savings in a bank account with one of their partners; it costs £30 to transfer it to a different account) Monese costs £2.50 per month. You’ll need to pay that fee on top of your monthly payments into your Credit Builder pot.

Is it safe?

Monese is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, but it’s not a bank. The money you pay into your Credit Builder pot won’t be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but by a process called “safeguarding” whereby your funds are stored in a separate account that Monese can’t touch.

Benefits and features

Once you’ve made 4 or more repayments into your Credit Builder pot, you become eligible for an extra feature called Monese Boost, which involves financing eligible transactions from your Monese account, up to an available credit limit, and repaying them over 3, 6 or 12 months. Monese then reports these repayments to the credit reference agencies.

Monese Credit Builder also offers a “credit health check” service to help you identify any factors that may be affecting your credit score.

Who is behind Monese Credit Builder?

Credit Builder is a feature of Monese, a mobile app alternative to mainstream banks.

Pros and cons of Monese Credit Builder

Pros

  • As long as you make your monthly payments as agreed, Monese Credit Builder’s reports to the credit reference agencies should help to improve your credit score over time.
  • If you’re already a Monese customer, getting started is quick and easy.

Cons

  • Monese Credit Builder is a relatively new product, so as yet there’s no evidence that it will actually help you improve your credit score, although similar products have produced results.
  • A monthly fee of £2.50 adds up to £30 over the course of a year.
  • As with other ‘reverse loan’ products, any missed or late payments will be reported to the credit reference agencies, which could damage your credit score.

Who is eligible?

Designed to help those who struggle to access credit or have little or no credit history, Monese Credit Builder is available to all Monese UK registered account holders aged 18-75.

How to apply

If you already have a Monese account and you’re eligible for the Credit Builder, you’ll see the option under the Explore section in your Monese app. To open a Monese account, visit the website or download the app.

Monese customer reviews

Monese Credit Builder is a new product and so there are no customer reviews available yet. As a financial services provider, Monese has a Trustpilot rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on over 2,000 customer reviews. The negative reviews are mostly from customers unhappy that their account has been closed or that their access has been blocked.

Alternatives to Monese Credit Builder

  • LOQBOX is a similar product that also helps you improve your credit score. There’s no monthly fee but there is a one-off fee of £30 if you want to move the money you’ve saved at the end of the year.
  • Pave uses Open Banking to connect to your existing bank account and reports your regular bill payments to the credit reference agencies to help build your credit history.
  • Cashplus offers credit builder current accounts for customers with a poor credit score.
  • Bits is a virtual credit card which charges a monthly fee and reports the payments to the credit reference agencies, Credito does the same (although it only reports to one credit reference agency, TransUnion) and SteadyPay offers a similar service called SteadyPay StepUp.
  • Tide offers a similar product to Monese Credit Builder and LOQBOX, but for your business credit score rather than your personal one.
  • You could also consider getting a credit builder credit card.

The verdict: is Monese Credit Builder any good?

The strongest benefit of this particular product might be the way it integrates with Monese accounts, so existing Monese customers can start using Credit Builder easily in the app and take advantage of the Monese Boost feature once they’re 4 months into their repayments.

However, the monthly fee of £2.50 does make this product more than 3x more expensive than its competitor LOQBOX over the course of a year. As Monese Credit Builder is so new to the market, it remains to be seen whether it will provide its users with 3x the value. But if you already have a Monese account and you want to build a good credit score and some savings at the same time, this could be a decent option.

As ever with this type of product, a word of warning: only sign up to ‘repay’ an amount you’re confident you can find every month, a if you miss a payment or make it late you could end up damaging your credit score even further, which in turn will affect your ability to borrow at competitive interest rates, or at all, in the future.

Name Product Score Reports to Savings requirement Credit limit Fee How it works
Pave Plus
Finder rating
★★★★★
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
N/A
Not specified
£9 per month
Build your credit score with all major Credit Reference Agencies by paying your membership fee on time. Subject to eligibility, Pave may open a credit line that you can use to top up your bank account periodically.
Pave Lite
Finder rating
★★★★★
TransUnion
N/A
N/A
£5 per month
Build your Experian credit score by paying your membership fee on time (reported to Experian as loan repayments).
Loqbox free
Finder rating
★★★★★
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
£20 - £200 per month
N/A
£0
Decide how much you can save over 12 months and LOQBOX will handle each deposit as a payment on a 0% APR loan – helping build your credit score. Receive all your savings back into a new bank account for free.
Loxbox flexi
Finder rating
★★★★★
Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
£20 - £200 per month
N/A
£30 (one-off)
Decide how much you can save over 12 months and LOQBOX will handle each deposit as a payment on a 0% APR loan – helping build your credit score. Receive all your savings back into an existing account for £30.
Pave Spotlight
Finder rating
★★★★★
N/A
N/A
N/A
£3 (one-off)
Identify the best fixes for your score and check if Pave Plus could help you build credit.
Bits Basic
Finder rating
★★★★★
Experian, TransUnion
N/A
£48
£4 per month
Build your credit score with Experian by paying your monthly subscription fee. You can also opt into Bits’ “Rent reporting” service to start reporting your rent payments to Equifax.
Tymit Booster secured credit card
Finder rating
★★★★★
Experian
Not specified
Your credit limit will equal the cash deposit amount
£9.95 per month
Improve your credit score by making a cash deposit to get a credit limit of the same amount. Tymit will report your repayment behaviour to Experian each month.
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