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There are a variety of apps out there in the Apple and Android app stores that can help you turn a poor credit score into a good credit score. We also included a few web apps in this list as well.
Some apps focus on letting you view your credit reports and credit scores. Others help you report your bills to the credit bureaus. Some are totally unique services.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best of the best credit-building apps in each category.
The Best Credit Building Apps in 2023
- CreditStrong: Best Credit Building App
- BoomPay: Best Rent Reporting App
- StellarFi: Best Bill Reporting App
- Credit Karma: Best Free Credit Monitoring App
- Self: Best Loan & Secured Credit Card Combo
- MyFICO: Best Credit Score App
- Extra: Best Debit Card that Builds Credit
- Experian BOOST™: Best App for Reporting Utility Payments
Best Credit Building Apps Compared
|Brand name||How It Works||Bureau Reporting||Price|
|CreditStrong||Reports like a traditional loan/credit card||TransUnion, Equifax, & Experian||$15 to $99 admin fee + 0% APR – 15.73% APR|
|BoomPay||Reports rent payment history||TransUnion, Equifax, & Experian||$2/month + $25 one time|
|Stellar Fi||Reports bill payments||TransUnion, Equifax & Experian||$5/month|
|Credit Karma||Monitor changes to your credit report & score||TransUnion & Equifax||Free|
|Self||Reports like a traditional loan/credit card||TransUnion, Equifax, & Experian||15.65% + APR & $46+ finance fee|
|MyFICO||Monitor changes to your FICO credit score||TransUnion, Equifax, & Experian||$29.95/month and up|
|Extra||Reports balance and payment history||Equifax & Experian||$7/month – $12/month|
|Experian BOOST™||Reports utility payment history||Experian||Free|
Below we’ll look at the details of these 8 credit building apps and how they can improve your score.
CreditStrong: Best Credit Building App
CreditStrong is a web app that offers a variety of credit builder accounts. None of them require a credit check when you sign up, so they’re a great way to fill out a thin credit file or aid in credit repair when you have bad credit.
However, you don’t get any money upfront. These are not financing arrangements and are strictly for building credit. Currently, CreditStrong’s three personal credit builder accounts include Instal, CS Max, and Revolv.
The Instal product is a traditional credit builder loan.
When you sign up, CreditStrong places your principal balance into a locked savings account as collateral and reports the new credit line to each major credit bureau. It shows in your credit report as a personal loan.
Next, you’ll start making monthly payments of principal and interest toward the account, which CreditStrong also reports to build your payment history.
Upon reaching the end of your repayment term, CreditStrong unlocks the savings account and releases your funds.
The CS Max product uses an identical structure, but the account’s principal balance and monthly payment options are much higher.
They’re designed to add a more substantial installment line to your credit profile and show lenders you can handle higher loan amounts.
That can help you qualify for larger credit accounts, which makes it the best credit builder loan for business owners who lack business credit and want to apply for financing with their personal credit scores.
Last but not least, Revolv shares some fundamental features with CreditStrong’s other two products.
That includes having no credit check, annual fee, or financing capabilities and requiring monthly payments that build credit.
However, unlike traditional credit builder loans, it shows up in your credit report as a revolving account rather than an installment debt, making it a great alternative to secured credit cards.
In addition, your monthly payments are interest-free and you get them back in full upon cancellation.
We consider CreditStrong the best credit builder app for its variety of affordable products that are highly effective at diversifying your credit mix, strengthening your credit profile, and improving your credit score.
CreditStrong’s customers see a 25-point boost after just 3 months of on-time payments. After 12 months of on-time payments, CreditStrong customers see an average credit score boost of 70 points!
BoomPay: Best Rent Reporting App
Up first on the list of apps and services to help you build your credit history fast without going into debt is the BoomPay app. This app allows you to build credit using your rent payment history.
You’ll simply need to link your bank account to the app so that BoomPay can view your rental payment history. You’ll then need to select your level of service: Do you want to just report your ongoing payment history or do you want to add up to two years of past payment history?
The ongoing reporting service costs $2/month while the past payment history reporting is just a $25 one-time fee.
Once you are subscribed, Boom will report your rent payments to all three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
If you elect to report past payment history, your credit score will see an immediate increase (provided you have no payments that were 30 days late or more), while having your ongoing rental payments reported will give you a lower but continuous credit score boost.
In addition to rent reporting, the BoomPay app also offers a feature called BoomSplit, which allows you to split up your rent payment into smaller bite-sized chunks. I.E. make weekly payments towards your rent instead of one lump sum.
The Boom app is available for download through both the Apple and Android app stores.
BoomPay isn’t the only rent reporting service out there, but it is the best one. We compared it to the competitors, and found that it’s the best for three reasons:
- It’s the only one that reports to all three credit bureaus
- It doesn’t require your landlord to cooperate
- It has the lowest prices
We listed this first on our best credit building apps list because it works quickly, it’s cheap, and it won’t get you into debt.
It’s not uncommon for BoomPay customers to see a 30-50 credit score point boost in just two or three weeks when they report their past 24 months of rental history.
StellarFi: Best Bill Reporting App
StellarFi is a new bill-reporting service that is lighting up the credit building industry.
It connects to your bank account and allows you to link the bills that you want reported to the credit bureaus. Rent, utilities, cell phone service, internet, and streaming services all count as bills you can report.
It then adds up the total of your on-time bill payments and reports it as one giant revolving credit account. It reports payment activity to all three major credit bureaus.
Best of all, StellarFi automatically reports a low credit utilization to maximize your credit score!
Pricing starts at just $5 per month, with no additional fees, deposits, or interest charges. You can cancel at any time.
StellarFi’s is a web app, but it’s mobile-friendly, so it’s really easy to sign up on your phone.
Credit Karma: Best Free Credit Monitoring App
The next app on this list focuses on one of the more overlooked aspects of building your credit: monitoring your credit.
If you aren’t looking at your credit reports, then how do you know if any of the steps you have taken to build credit are working?
There are a variety of credit monitoring services out there, each with its own features and price points. But in evaluating free credit monitoring/credit score apps, we found Credit Karma’s app to be the best.
The score Credit Karma offers you is based on the VantageScore Credit model, which differs slightly from the more popular FICO scoring model. You’ll be able to view your credit scores and reports from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major credit bureaus.
You can also get alerts on changes to your credit profile as well as monitoring to protect you from identity theft. And Credit Karma will display your approval odds for various credit card products.
Credit Karma also now offers their own checking and savings accounts which can be managed through their app.
Since Credit Karma is free and easy to sign up for, we recommend that you sign up for it as part of your credit improvement journey.
The app is currently available through both the Apple and Android app stores.
Self: Best Loan & Secured Credit Card Combo
Similar to CreditStrong, the next service on the list offers a credit builder loan. This loan works exactly the same as the CreditStrong one.
There is no hard inquiry, and once you are approved, your loan funds are locked away in a savings account until the loan is paid off.
This credit card is a secured credit card. But, instead of putting up cash for a security deposit, you can use the unlocked portion of your credit builder loan.
For instance, if you took out a credit builder loan for $1000 and have paid off $150, then you could transfer up to $150 worth of your unlocked funds to the credit card as a deposit.
Just like their credit-builder account, the secured credit card does not require a hard pull. While there is the possibility you could be rejected for the card, the qualifications are pretty straightforward:
- Account in good standing
- 3+ payments
- Minimum of $100 unlocked
Self’s app is available on both Apple and Android devices with high ratings on both.
MyFICO: Best Credit Score App
The next app on this list also focuses on credit monitoring but is much more geared towards helping you determine your current credit score.
The MyFICO app and service is backed by the company that calculates the most widely used credit score, your FICO credit score.
Over 90% of lenders use FICO scores to make lending decisions. This is why many people refer to FICO as the “real” credit score and VantageScore (which you get for free from Credit Karma) as the “FAKO” score. (Pronounced “fake-o”.)
Using the app, you can view (with paid membership) the FICO scores from all three of the credit bureaus. You also have access to industry-specific scores like the ones used for mortgages or car loans.
MyFICO also provides a simulator so that you can preview what changes to your credit profile, like new debt or a missed payment, will have on your credit score.
You can also receive alerts on changes to your credit, tips on what is affecting your credit, and view the history of changes to your credit score.
Educational resources, like calculators and articles, are provided to help you better understand credit and FICO credit scores.
Pricing for access to all of your MyFICO subscriptions start at $29.95 per month. You can cancel at any time, so if you want to sign up only for one month, you can.
If you’re working towards a credit score goal to buy a house or get a car, we highly recommend that you use MyFICO to check your real credit scores.
The app is available on both Apple and Android devices.
Extra: Best Debit Card that Builds Credit
Next up on the best of the best list is a debit card that helps you build credit.
Traditionally, debit cards don’t help you improve your credit score because there are no “credit” transactions to report. This applies even if you opt to process your debit card as a credit card when you swipe.
The Extra card works differently. It will use their funds to pay for your purchases. Then they pay themselves back using your linked bank account. The money is taken out of your account within one business day of your transaction.
At the end of the month, Extra reports all of your purchases as payment activity to the credit bureaus.
Their account will appear as a tradeline on your credit report.
Other benefits include that there is no hard inquiry because there is no credit check. Also, because your account balance gets paid off every day, you’ll never approach your credit limit, and there’s no negative impact on the credit utilization part of your score.
And since you’re not getting into debt, you will never have to pay interest charges! These traits make it one of the best credit card alternatives.
For their service, Extra charges a small monthly fee starting at $7. Or, if you want your debit card to earn you rewards, you can pay $12 a month to earn 1% cash back to spend in their store. There are also discounts offered for paying the fee in an annual lump sum.
The Extra app is currently only available through the Apple app store; the Android version is in development. (You don’t have to have a mobile device to use their service – anyone that meets their easy qualification criteria can get a card.)
Extra customers often report big credit score increases. Its month-to-month subscription can be canceled at any time. For this reason, it’s a low-cost, low-commitment tool for building credit.
Experian BOOST™: Best App for Reporting Utility Payments
The final app on this list combines the features of a credit monitoring service with the ability to increase, or boost, your credit score.
The Experian BOOST™ app is backed by one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian. So, when using the app, you’ll be able to view your credit report and score just as you would when pulling your Experian credit report.
The app allows you to monitor changes to your reports from all three credit bureaus and put a lock on your credit account.
In addition to the features for monitoring your credit, the app offers the Boost feature for improving your credit score. To begin, you’ll need to link your bank account to the service.
Experian then searches through your bank account history, looking for recurring payments.
Things like utility bills, streaming services, etc. They then add the payment history information for these transactions to your credit report.
The average score increase is 13 points. While a 13-point credit score boost might not be that exciting, the price is right. Experian BOOST™ is free, fast, and super easy to use. You can link your bank account to it and complete the whole process within 10 minutes or less.
The Experian Credit Report app is available on both Apple and Android devices.
How We Made Our Selections
When looking at all of the credit-building apps available out there, we wanted to focus on which was the best in each category. For instance, while there are many rent reporting apps, we chose to only detail the best app, BoomPay.
But how did we determine which app in each category was the best?
While several criteria were used, there were two main aspects we chose to focus on. The first was the ability of the app or service to increase your credit score, even when starting with no credit.
There are many apps and services out there that can help you build credit, but some are only useful for those who have an established credit history or are designed only for credit repair.
The second thing we focused on was the speed with which you can build your credit.
Experian BOOST™ offers an instant increase to your credit score, and so can BoomPay if you opt for past rent payment reporting.
The loan and credit/debit card products on this list take a bit longer, but can still help you build credit quickly.
And, as an added bonus, none of the services or products on this list perform a credit check. Which means no minimum credit score and no ding to your credit for a hard inquiry.
How Can I Raise My Credit Score Fast?
The best way to raise your credit score fast is to diversify your approach. Instead of just getting a credit builder loan, or just signing up for rent reporting, do both.
Each of these apps/services helps you build credit in a slightly different way. So, by using multiple apps/services, you can see a bigger increase in your credit score faster.
And, by opening these new accounts at the same time, the temporary decrease to your score caused by opening new credit lines, will be minimized.
Just remember to manage these accounts responsibly as even one late payment can kill your chances of achieving better credit.
Which Credit Building App is Best?
No one credit building app is the best. This is because each credit report is unique. Your credit profile and credit building needs will dictate which app/service is best for you.
For instance, if you have no credit history, but you have made on-time rent and utility payments, then either BoomPay or Experian BOOST™ may be best for your situation.
On the other hand, if your low credit score is due to a poor mix of credit, then using CreditStrong’s credit-builder account or Self’s secured loan and secured credit card combo, might be a better move.
How Much of an Increase Can I Expect After Using These Apps?
Generally speaking, you can expect your credit score to increase from anywhere between 5 points to over 100 points. The amount you can expect your credit score to increase varies based on the service you have chosen and the current state of your credit.
Each app or service offers its own anecdotal claims on how much their customers have seen their credit scores increase:
1. BoomPay – 5 to 100 points
2. Extra – 20+ points (based on customer testimonials)
3. CreditStrong – 75 average within 9 months
4. Self – 32 points for just the credit builder loan
5. Credit Karma – doesn’t directly impact your credit score
6. MyFICO – doesn’t directly impact your credit score
7. Experian BOOST™ – 13 point average
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Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.