Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Personal Loans Kovo Credit Builder Review Updated Oct 27, 2023   |   8-min read Reviewed by Timothy Moore Reviewed by Timothy Moore Expertise: Bank accounts, credit cards, taxes, insurance, personal loans Timothy Moore is a personal finance and travel writer specializing in bank accounts, credit cards, taxes, and insurance. His passion is helping readers navigate life on a tight budget. Learn more about Timothy Moore Find out moreon Kovo’s websiteEditorial RatingEditorial RatingWhat we like:No credit check, 0% APR, rewards on loans, and access to courses on business and success.Rates (APR)0%Dollar amount of payments$10 per monthRepayment terms24 monthsFeesNoneSee how Kovo compares to other credit builder loansBest Credit Builder Loans Kovo is a registered Public Benefit Corporation whose goal is to empower consumers to take control of their finances. How does the company do it? The Kovo credit builder grants customers access to a wealth of self-help courses on finance and entrepreneurship. Rather than sell access to these courses in a one-and-done transaction, Kovo provides them on credit. While customers learn how to be successful, they establish an on-time payment history with major credit bureaus, aiming to boost their credit score. In this review: How Kovo credit builder worksHow Kovo helps build creditPros and consKovo eligibility requirements and application processAlternatives How Kovo credit builder works Kovo credit builder isn’t like a traditional loan. Instead, you’ll sign up—and get instant approval—and then receive access to a wide range of interactive courses designed to help you improve your business skills, build confidence, and achieve your goals. You’ll get access to these courses on credit and then pay them off over 24 months. But how does that boost your credit score? Our Kovo credit builder review breaks down the logistics, pros and cons, and application process below. How Kovo helps build credit With Kovo, you don’t borrow money and repay the loan over time. Instead, you buy access to Kovo’s curated courses, paying them off over 24 months. These courses include: Job Interview Skills, Interview Strategy & Answer ScriptsSelf Confidence & Self Esteem: Confidence via Self-AwarenessEntrepreneurship: How To Start A Business From Business ideaPersonal Branding Path To Top 1% Influencer Personal BrandStress Management With Time Management For Burnout & AnxietyEntrepreneurship: Sales Training, Techniques and MethodsEcommerce Bootcamp AcademyGoogle Sheets FundamentalsIntro to Programming Kovo costs Of course, nothing in life is free. You get access to these courses immediately, but you’re buying them on credit. Kovo says they’re worth more than $400, but customers get access to them for $240. You’ll pay $240 over 24 months in installments of $10 per month. Those monthly installments act as on-time loan payments, which Kovo reports to TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, and Innovis. Unlike many other loans and lines of credit, a Kovo credit builder doesn’t carry an APR, and you’ll pay no monthly or annual fees. If you pay off the loan early, you won’t pay a prepayment penalty—and if you miss a payment, you won’t incur any late fees. How this helps your credit score Your payment history is the most critical factor in calculating your credit score, so two years of on-time payments can make a huge difference. A Kovo loan also diversifies your credit mix and increases your length of credit history over time, which can boost your score. For reference, here are the five significant factors FICO uses to calculate your credit score: Payment history (35%)Amounts owed/credit utilization (30%)Length of credit history (15%)Credit mix (10%)New credit (10%) Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so it’s crucial to make on-time payments to Kovo. Kovo doesn’t charge late fees, but a missed payment can be detrimental to your score and defeat the purpose of the loan. Don’t sweat it, though: The default option for Kovo is autopay. You shouldn’t have to worry about late payments as long as you link a well-funded checking account. Tip: Some lenders may also look at your VantageScore. On-time payments account for 35% of your FICO score, but they’re 40% of your VantageScore. Translation: On-time payments matter! Additional help with credit After four on-time payments to Kovo, you’ll get access to loan offers, including personal loans, student loans, student loan refinancing, and credit cards. If you take one of the offers, Kovo will issue you a gift card: 1% of the total loan value or a flat $75 gift card when opening a credit card. The gift card is a definite perk, and Kovo says you can earn up to $1,225 in rewards. But the real value is in the continued credit score growth. By taking out new loans and opening (and responsibly managing) a credit card, you may improve your credit score even more. Pros and cons of a Kovo credit builder In our Kovo review, we uncovered a wide range of benefits of a Kovo credit builder and a few cons to consider before applying. Pros No credit check: Hard pulls on your credit report can lower your credit score. When you’re applying for a loan to help build your credit, this can be frustrating. So Kovo won’t run your credit. (Bonus perk: You’ll get instant approval.) No APR: Unlike some credit builder loans, Kovo doesn’t charge interest on what you borrow. Instead, you’ll pay a flat rate of $10 per month for 24 months. You know exactly how much you’ll spend when you enter the loan contract. No hidden fees: Kovo’s status as a Public Benefit Corporation means the company is committed to helping consumers achieve their goals. Pricing is transparent, and there are no hidden fees—not even late fees. Access to courses: Other credit builder loans might pay out a lump sum you can use for whatever you’d like, and that has its perks. But a Kovo credit builder can help you establish financial success with a wide range of courses teaching business understanding and skills. Credit score improvement: If you keep up with your payments, you should expect your credit score to improve—the on-time payments, more diverse credit mix, and increased length of credit history all help. Rewards: On-time payments get you access to several loan and credit card offers, and with the growth in your credit score, you’ll be able to qualify. But it’s more than just access to a good deal; Kovo also gives you gift cards when you take out a featured loan. FICO score access: As a Kovo customer, you’ll get access to your FICO score and can track how much it’s improving every month. Reports to all four credit bureaus Reports to TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and Innovis. Cons Temptation to borrow: If you need a personal loan, student loan, or credit card, the marketplace within Kovo can be helpful. But if you don’t need to borrow money now, you might feel tempted to take out a loan you don’t need because of the rewards. No app: As of now, Kovo doesn’t offer a smartphone app. You’ll need to manage your account on a desktop or in your preferred smartphone browser. Kovo eligibility requirements and application process Applying for Kovo is straightforward: You’ll get instant approval without a credit check. You can apply in a few simple steps, which take less than two minutes. You’ll start by providing your email address to get a verification code. Once verified, you’ll enter personal information, including your full name, phone number, birthday, address, Social Security number, and monthly income. Kovo does a quick background check, but it won’t pull your credit report, so there’s no impact on your credit score. Note: Kovo is available across the country, but residents of Louisiana are not yet eligible for rewards. Alternatives to Kovo credit builder A Kovo credit builder isn’t for everybody. After all, you never get to hold borrowed cash in your hands. Instead, you get access to educational materials and then build your score by paying off the cost of the courses. If you’d rather get access to cash you can spend, or if you live in Louisiana where rewards are not yet available, consider one of these alternatives to Kovo: Other credit builder loans Kovo’s approach to credit building is different from more traditional credit builder loans. Rather than get a lump sum, as you would from a personal loan, you get access to courses and make installment payments. In a way, you can think of Kovo as more like a (small) student loan. If you’re interested in building your credit score but want to pocket cash instead of knowledge, check out our selections for the best credit builder loans available. Secured credit cards Qualifying for a traditional credit card can be challenging if you’re struggling with bad credit or a lack of credit history. Instead, you may be able to get a secured credit card. To open a secured card, you’ll make a small security deposit, often as low as $200. Typically, your credit limit is equal to the security deposit you make, which minimizes the risk to the creditor. Spend the card like a debit card, pay it off monthly, and watch your credit score climb. After several months of on-time payments, the lender may raise your credit limit or even let you upgrade to an unsecured credit card. The best secured credit cards have no interest and no fees, while others may offer a small cash-back reward. Unsecured credit cards for bad credit Secured credit cards are a valuable tool in building your credit. Still, because you have to pay a security deposit, they’re not helpful in handling an emergency expense you can’t afford. As an alternative, you can look for unsecured credit cards (no security deposit required) designed for borrowers with fair, poor, or even no credit. Just be careful to spend wisely: Interest rates and fees are often high on such cards, and it can be easy to slip into debt. Secured personal loans If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely a personal loan company will issue you a loan without any assurances to minimize their risk. But you might qualify for a secured personal loan. Like a secured credit card, secured personal loans require collateral. Instead of a security deposit, you can offer up the money in your savings account or some kind of valuable property, such as your car. Not every lender provides this option. Start your search with our roundup of the best secured personal loans to find a loan that fits your needs. Authorized user Taking out any kind of loan comes with some level of risk. If you don’t feel ready to take on the responsibility of borrowing on your own but want to get in safe practice while boosting your score, ask a friend or family member whether they’d let you become an authorized user on their credit card. As long as the cardholder whose account you join is responsible—maintaining a low credit limit and paying off the card in full every month—you should enjoy the same credit benefits as if you were swiping the card and making payments. As an authorized user, you’ll get a credit card in your name. Any spending you do with the card, however, is the cardholder’s responsibility, so only swipe it if they’ve given you the thumbs up and ensure you have a plan to repay them.