What we like:
Offers a 50% refund on the interest from on-time payments.
|Dollar amount of payments||$26.65 – $88.85 per month (based on our calculations)|
|Repayment terms||12 months|
|Fees||Late fee up to $25|
Alltru Credit Union serves the Greater St. Louis region of Missouri. Founded in 1968, it started as McDonnell Douglas Credit Union and later changed its name to 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.
In 2020, it rebranded as Alltru Credit Union. As of March 2023, Alltru has over 37,000 members in seven locations and holds $329 million in assets. It offers savings and checking accounts, and credit and loan products.
If you’re new to credit or rebuilding your credit, a credit builder loan might be suitable for you. Beyond establishing credit, a credit builder loan has other financial perks. Here’s our take on the Alltru Credit Union credit builder loan.
In this review:
- How Alltru credit builder loan works
- How Alltru Credit Union helps build credit
- Pros and cons
- Alltru eligibility requirements and application process
How Alltru credit builder loan works
Credit builder loans are different from other loans in that the loan amounts tend to be smaller. Plus, its primary purpose is to help you establish credit. The money you borrow goes into a savings account on your behalf. A standout feature of the Alltru credit builder loan is if you stay on top of your payments, you’ll get 50% back on the interest.
To be eligible for an Alltru credit builder loan, you must be an Alltru member. Credit union membership is available for those who live, work, worship, or go to school in one of the following:
- City of St. Louis
- St. Louis County
- St. Charles County
You can also apply if you’re related to an Alltru credit union member.
You can complete an application online or in a brick-and-mortar branch to get a credit builder loan. Alltru requires a credit check and doesn’t charge an application fee.
How Alltru Credit Union helps build credit
With the Alltru credit builder loan, you can borrow $300 to $1,000 and have 12 months to repay it.
Alltru will report your payment history to the three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. As long as you stay on top of your monthly payments, this can help you build credit. Remember: Your payment history makes up 35% of your consumer credit score.
If you take on a credit builder loan, prioritize making on-time payments within the specified time frame—in Alltru’s case, 12 months. As a reward for on-time payments, you’ll get back half of the interest you paid on the loan. If you fall behind or miss payments, your credit score will dip.
Beyond taking out a credit builder loan, you can look into having a mix of credit—credit cards, personal loans, and auto loans. It’s crucial to use credit responsibly. Your length of credit history, amounts owed, and new credit affect your credit score. Review your credit report regularly. You can order one for free from all three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can request one per week through December 31, 2023.
Pros and cons of an Alltru credit builder loan
Before deciding to proceed with any financial product, it’s wise to consider the pros and cons.
Loan proceeds go into a savings account
Get a 50% refund on interest with on-time payments
Payment assistance or plans are available
APR is relatively high
Only one repayment term (12 months)
Only available to Alltru Credit Union members in the Greater St. Louis area
Alltru eligibility requirements and application process
To qualify for an Alltru credit builder loan, you must be a credit union member. You can apply online or in an Alltru branch.
You’ll provide the following to apply:
- Street address
- Date of birth
- ID (i.e., Social Security number)
- Driver’s license
Alltru Credit Union will verify your identity, pulling from commercially available databases of public records and consumer reporting agencies.
When you apply, Alltrue conducts a hard credit pull. These often stay on your report for up to two years, but it only affects your score for the first year. How much of an impact are we talking about? Hard credit inquiries can cause your credit score to dip anywhere from five to eight points.
Alternatives to Alltru credit builder loan
If you have a low credit score, need cash, and want to boost your credit, an Alltru credit builder loan isn’t your only option. You can also build your credit and access funds using one of the following.
Other credit builder loans
Do your research on the best credit builder loans:
- What are the minimum credit requirements?
- What are the loan amounts, interest rates, and repayment periods?
- Is there a late fee or prepayment penalty?
You’ll see how a credit builder loan can help build your credit and which lenders or banks offer appealing perks.
Secured credit card
A secured credit card might be an option. You can often qualify with a lower credit score. It works the same as any other credit card, but you must “secure” the credit card by putting in a deposit—typically the same as your line of credit. If you stay on top of your payments, you might have the option to “graduate” to an unsecured credit card.
Retailer credit card
Retailers’ credit cards tend to be easier to qualify for than other credit cards. You might be able to scoop up perks by using the store card—and build your credit simultaneously.
Secured personal loan
Secured personal loans are backed by some form of collateral, such as a home or car. They might be easier to qualify for than unsecured personal loans.
Lending circles were created for folks who were unbanked or underbanked. When you join a lending circle, you put anywhere from $50 to $200 into the pool of funds. Each month, one person in the circle has access to the funds and is responsible for paying them back. Like credit builder loans, payments are reported to the credit bureaus.
The Alltru Credit Union credit builder loan can be a solid choice if you’re looking for a simple way to boost your credit and have funds in your bank account. It’s always wise to explore your options and check out comparable credit builder loans from other banks and lenders.