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Personal Loans

Digital Credit Union (DCU) Credit Builder Loan Review

Updated Apr 26, 2023   |   5-min read

DCU logo
on DCU’s website
Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

What we like:

Credit builder loans between $500 and $3,000 with terms as long as 2 years. 

Rates (APR)5%
Dollar amount of paymentsEstimated monthly payment of $43.87 per $1,000 borrowed
Repayment terms12 – 24 months
FeesNo origination fee. If your payment is more than 15 days late, DCU charges a late fee of 4% of your payment amount, with a minimum fee of $5. 
See how DCU compares to other credit builder loans.

Organized by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1979, Digital Credit Union (DCU) has grown to be the largest credit union in New England, with more than 6,800 shared branch locations. With primary locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, DCU provides loans to members in all 50 states. 

DCU offers a wide range of services and products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and personal loans. In this Digital Credit Union credit builder review, we’ll take a closer look at DCU’s credit builder loans for borrowers who want to establish or restore their credit. 

In this review:

How a Digital Credit Union credit builder loan works

A Digital Credit Union credit builder loan can help you build credit. You can borrow up to $3,000, and your loan is locked in a savings account until you’ve paid it in full. DCU will report your payments to credit bureaus, which can help you build credit over time. 

Once you pay off your balance, you’ll have access to the full credit builder loan amount. Your savings will also earn dividends along the way, which can help offset the loan’s 5.00% APR. This structure is different from a traditional personal loan, which immediately disburses your funds. 

You can apply for a credit builder loan on DCU’s website. You don’t need to be a member to apply, but you must become a DCU member to borrow the loan. Membership is open to individuals who work for certain companies or organizations, live in an eligible community, or are related to a current DCU member. 

How DCU helps build credit 

DCU offers credit builder loans between $500 and $3,000, with a minimum repayment term of 12 months and a maximum term of 24 months. The credit union estimates your monthly payments to be $43.87 per $1,000 borrowed, though your bills will vary depending on your loan amount and repayment term. 

As you pay off your loan, DCU will report your payments to TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and Innovis every month. Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score, so on-time payments can improve your credit score over time. 

Late payments can damage your score and show up on your credit report. Staying current on your credit builder loan payments will ensure the loan helps your credit and doesn’t harm it. 

Pros and cons of a DCU credit builder loan

Before opting for a DCU credit union, it’s worth considering the pros and cons. 


  • Repayment terms as long as 24 months.

    Having the option to spread out your loan payments over two years can make your monthly bills affordable.

  • Improve credit with on-time payments.

    DCU reports your payments to the credit bureaus, so you can build a positive credit history and improve your credit score over time. 

  • Build savings as you go.

    When you’ve paid off your loan in full, you can access the full amount in your DCU savings account. You could use it toward an expense or save it as an emergency fund. Your savings will also earn dividends at DCU’s published dividend rate. DCU’s Advantage Savings account has an APY of 2.02% as of March 2023. Its Primary Savings account has an APY of up to ​​6.17% on balances up to $1,000. 

  • No payments due for 60 days.

    DCU gives you 60 days after opening a credit builder loan or another personal loan before requiring you to make a payment. 


  • Can’t borrow more than $3,000.

    DCU’s credit builder loans max out at $3,000. If you qualify for an unsecured personal loan, you could borrow up to $50,000 or $100,000 from specific lenders.

  • Loan funds aren’t available right away.

    The loan is designed to help you build credit, so you can’t access your funds until you’ve paid it off in full. With a traditional personal loan, you get immediate access to a lump sum.

  • Must become a member to borrow a loan.

    Anyone can apply for a DCU credit builder loan, but you must become a member to borrow the loan. Membership requirements are flexible, but you may or may not be eligible depending on where you live and work.

Digital Credit Union eligibility requirements and application process

You can apply for a DCU credit union online. Get started by hitting the “Apply Now” button and indicating your desired loan amount and repayment term. 

The next page of the application will ask for details, including your: 

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number 
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Address 
  • Occupancy status 
  • Driver’s license number or other eligible identification 
  • Employment status 
  • Monthly income and expenses 

You can also apply for a DCU credit union over the phone by calling its loan origination team at 1-800-328-8797, ext. 7614. DCU does not run a credit check to borrow a credit builder loan. 

Alternatives to a DCU credit builder loan

If boosting your credit and accessing a loan are top priorities, borrowing a DCU credit builder loan isn’t your only option. Alternatives include: 

  • Shop around for credit builder loans. A credit builder loan can be a strategic way to build credit, but DCU isn’t your only option. Compare offers from multiple lenders to find an offer with the best credit builder loans for you. 
  • Opt for a secured personal loan. It can be tough to qualify for an unsecured personal loan without good credit, but lenders have more lenient requirements for secured personal loans. Securing a personal loan with collateral, such as a vehicle or savings account, can also help you access lower rates. However, make sure you can afford the monthly payments, or risk losing your asset. 
  • Open a secured credit card. Some credit card companies offer secured credit cards to help you build credit. You may have to put down a security deposit upfront. As you improve your credit, you may be able to qualify for a traditional credit card. 
  • Become an authorized user. If a parent, friend, or another trusted individual can add you as an authorized user on their credit card, you can reap the benefits of their responsible credit habits. Their credit activity will affect your credit without you using the card yourself.