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Personal Loans

Credit Builder Loans Like Seedfi

Credit builder loans can help you to establish credit history by making on-time installment payments to a lender. SeedFi offers small lines of credit up to $500 to help you build a positive credit history. You pay no interest, and payments are reported to each of the three major credit bureaus.

Founded in 2019, SeedFi was acquired by Intuit in early 2023. While SeedFi no longer offers personal loans, the Credit Builder loan program is still available through Credit Karma. 

If you’re interested in credit builder loans like SeedFi, shopping around and comparing options from different lenders is helpful. That can help you to find the best loan for your needs and budget. To save you time, we’ve evaluated several popular companies to highlight the best alternatives to SeedFi. 

Key takeaways of Seedfi to consider before comparing the options below

SeedFi loans combine a line of credit with a savings element to help you build credit. To use one of these loans, you’d first need to create an account with Credit Karma if you don’t have one already. Once you’ve done that, here are the next steps.

  • Tell Credit Karma Credit Builder when you get paid.
  • Choose an amount to save from each paycheck that’s at least $10. 
  • When you get paid, that amount is drawn from your line of credit and deposited into a locked savings account.
  • You pay that same amount back to Credit Builder with no interest. 
  • Each payment is reported to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. 

When you’ve paid back $500 in savings to Credit Builder, that amount is transferred to an unlocked savings account. You can then use that money in any way you’d like. You can open new lines of credit over and over to continue building credit history and savings. 

As Erin Kinkade, CFP, says, “If the borrower follows the credit builder loan program, their credit credit score should increase and also reflect positively on their credit report.”

Understanding how SeedFi loans work can help you to compare alternatives. As you navigate the list of alternatives below, here are a few things to consider. 

  • Program structure. Credit builder loans don’t all work the same way, so it’s important to understand exactly how different programs work.
  • Interest and fees. SeedFi charges no interest for credit builder loans, but other lenders may do so. They can also charge fees for a credit building loan.
  • Credit reporting. Ideally, any credit builder loan you get reports payments to all three of the major credit bureaus. But if a lender reports to one or two only, that’s something you’d like to know beforehand. 
  • Term length. Credit builder loans are typically shorter-term loans, though that isn’t always true. It’s a good idea to check the term length and monthly payment requirements. 
  • Benefits. Some lenders may offer special incentives to encourage you to choose their credit builder loan over another. For example, if you get a credit builder loan with SeedFi, you’ll also have access to free credit monitoring through Credit Karma. 
  • Reputation. Lastly, consider a lender’s overall reputation and legitimacy. Reading reviews from past and current customers can give you a better idea of what people do or don’t like about a particular company. 

Credit builder loans like Seedfi

SeedFi is one of several companies that offer credit builder loans. The companies that we’ve profiled below share both similarities and differences in terms of how their loans work, what they cost, and what kind of repayment terms you can expect. 

The best credit builder loan for you is ultimately the one that allows you to build credit at a pace that works for you and is affordable for your budget. You may also appreciate credit builder loans that offer special perks or benefits outside of improving your credit scores. 

Trustpilot score1.
Product typeLoan in a bank-held CD accountLoan in a bank-held CDSecured credit cardInstallment loan linked to a savings accountInstallment payment plan for Kovo courses
Admin fee$9$0$0$15 to $25$0
Monthly payment$25 to $150Starting at $24Statement balance$0 to $449$10
Term length24 months12 or 24 monthsN/A24 to 60 months for loans

Unlimited for revolving credit
24 months
When funds are receivedAt the end of the loan termAt the end of the loan termN/AAt the end of the loan termN/A
Credit bureaus reported toEquifax









Unique benefitsFree access to VantageScore 3.0 credit scores

Access to some of the funds you’ve paid in with a Self Visa® Credit Card
Free access to credit monitoring

User-friendly mobile app
No fees
Spend while you build credit history with a Chime

Secured Visa Credit Card

No fees and no interest
Multiple credit builder loan options, including revolving credit lines

Personal and business credit builder loans are available
Earn rewards and learn new skills as you build credit


Editorial rating: 4.8/5

  • Self Financial offers four credit builder loan options to help you build or establish credit. 
  • Borrowers pay interest and a non-refundable administrative fee. 
  • Loan funds are held in a CD account and are returned to you at the end of the loan term, minus interest and fees.

Self Financial offers credit builder loans to people who are seeking to establish or build credit, including those with bad credit. To get started, you would choose your loan plan and pay the non-refundable administrative fee. You’d then pay your loan back in installments over a period of 24 months. 

Loan funds are held in a certificate of deposit account at an FDIC-member bank. The money in the account is turned over to you, less fees and interest due, once your loan is paid in full. There are four plans to choose from: 

  • Small Builder: Pay $25/month and get back $520
  • Medium Builder: Pay $35/month and get back $724
  • Large Builder: Pay $48/month and get back $992
  • X-Large Builder: Pay $150/month and get back $3,076

All four require you to pay an administrative fee and all four have 24-month repayment terms. Each one also charges interest, with annual percentage rates ranging from 15.72% to 15.97%, as of September 2023. There’s no hard credit pull required for a Self credit builder loan.

What makes it a good option for a loan like SeedFi?

Self Credit Builder loans could be a good fit if you’d like to save more than the $500 limit set by SeedFi. You can also potentially get access to some of the money you pay faster with the Self Visa® Credit Card. 

On the other hand, Self charges fees and interest, whereas SeedFi doesn’t. So that’s something to keep in mind if you’re hoping to build credit without spending any money. 


Editorial rating: 4.9/5

  • Cheese offers secured installment loans to help you build credit. 
  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $2,000 and there are no fees.
  • Borrowers do pay interest with Cheese loans. 

Cheese credit builder loans are designed for borrowers with low or no credit scores. You can borrow $500, $1,000, or $2,000, which is deposited into a bank-held CD account. You’ll then pay your loan back over a period of 12 to 24 months, at the end of which the money in the CD is turned over to you. 

Similar to Self, Cheese loans are secured installment loans. Cheese is not a bank; instead, all loans are issued through Synapse Credit, LLC. Some of the highlights of Cheese loans include:

  • No hard credit checks
  • No fees
  • Low, fixed interest rates

You’ll need a bank account to apply for a credit builder loan with Cheese. Once approved, you can decide which amount to deposit and your preferred loan term. 

What makes it a good option for a loan like SeedFi?

You might consider a credit builder loan from Cheese if you want some flexibility with loan terms and amounts. There’s no credit check required, which is a plus if you have no credit at all or you’re trying to rebuild bad credit. 

While you won’t pay fees, you will pay interest ranging from 5% to 16%, which is something to keep in mind. 


Editorial rating: 5/5

  • Chime lets you build credit using a secured Visa credit card.
  • There are no fees and no interest payments required with Chime’s credit builder option.
  • You’ll need a Chime checking account to get started. 

In addition to credit builder loans like SeedFi, you might consider secured credit cards as well. Chime’s credit builder product is just that: a secured Visa credit card that allows you to build credit history using everyday purchases. 

It works like this. You open a Chime checking account if you don’t have one yet and set up qualifying direct deposits of $200 or more. You can then move money from your Chime account to your credit builder card and use it to make purchases. 

Each month, you’ll pay back your statement balance and Chime reports those payments to the three major credit bureaus. There are no fees and you’ll pay no interest either. Chime won’t check your credit when you apply, so this might work for you if you have bad credit or no credit. 

What makes it a good option for a loan like SeedFi?

If you already have a checking account with Chime or plan to open one, then getting a Chime Secured Visa Credit Card could be a logical step. You can decide how much you’d like your credit limit to be, based on how much you keep in your Chime account. 

You’ll need to pay your statement balance in full each month, but you’re not paying interest on purchases. And since this isn’t a loan, you can continue building credit for as long as you’d like. 


Editorial rating: 4.6/5

  • CreditStrong offers revolving credit lines and credit builder loans.
  • Loan limits are generous, ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. 
  • No credit check is required to qualify for a CreditStrong loan or line of credit. 

CreditStrong offers several products to help you build credit from scratch or rebuild a poor credit history. You can choose from a revolving line of credit, which yields the best value, or two loan options. Here’s a quick overview of how they work. 

  • Revolv is a $1,000 revolving credit line that requires no monthly payment and is designed to help you improve your credit utilization. 
  • Instal loans start at $1,000 and they allow you to build credit—and savings—with low, fixed payments that you can make over a period of 24 to 48 months. 
  • CS Max loans range from $2,500 to $25,000 and they’re designed to demonstrate to lenders that you can handle larger credit amounts. 

The Revolv product requires a $99 annual subscription fee, while the installment loans charge upfront administrative fees of $15 to $25. You’ll pay no interest for Revolv but Instal and CS Max loans are subject to interest charges. 

What makes it a good option for a loan like SeedFi?

CreditStrong might be suitable for people who either want access to a revolving credit line with no interest, or who are looking for a larger installment loan option to build credit. You may also look into CreditStrong if you’re specifically interested in building business credit. 

It’s important to consider what you’ll pay in fees and interest, however. Some of the other credit builder loans like SeedFi that are included here could end up being less expensive. 


Editorial rating: 4.5/5

  • Kovo helps you build credit by making installment payments toward Kovo courses.
  • Eligible course-takers can earn rewards as they build credit.
  • Payment history is reported to three major credit bureaus and Innovis.

Kovo is not a traditional loan, but it can help you to build credit through installment payments. When you create a Kovo account and purchase a course, you can opt to pay for it in installments of $10 per month for 24 months. Those payments are then reported to the major credit bureaus as well as Innovis. 

So what can you learn? Kovo courses are designed to help you hit your goals and center on topics like:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Job interview skills
  • Stress management and time management
  • Personal branding
  • Programming

There are no fees and no interest charges. You get the benefit of learning new skills as you build your credit history. And you have an opportunity to earn up to 1% back on eligible payment plans. 

What makes it a good option for a loan like SeedFi?

Kovo might appeal to people who don’t necessarily need a loan but still want a pathway for building credit. Being able to earn some valuable skills along the way is a nice added benefit, as is the lack of fees and interest charges. 

Of course, if you’d like to build savings instead, then you might consider SeedFi or one of the credit builder alternatives to SeedFi we’ve covered here. 

Ask the expert

Erin Kinkade


Do your research to make sure the lender you select for a credit builder loan is a reputable company. Look for a company that will report to all three credit bureaus. And, understand the fees. Administrative fees are understandable, but exorbitant fees should be avoided.

How to choose the best credit builder loan like Seedfi

Credit builder loans can help you get on track with improving your credit scores, but it’s always a good idea to do your research. The lender that works best for someone else might not be the best one for you. 

Before choosing a borrowing option, think about what you need or want most. For example, if you’re more interested in building savings, then you might consider a CD-linked loan. But if you’d like to be able to spend, then you may want a loan option that includes access to a secured credit card.

Here’s a rundown of how the credit builder alternatives mentioned here compare. 

  • Best for added benefits: Self Financial
  • Best overall credit builder loan: Cheese
  • Best credit-building card: Chime
  • Best collection of products: CreditStrong
  • Best for small loans: Kovo

As your credit improves, you can consider other ways to build credit. That can include researching the best personal loan companies that offer unsecured loans online.