chime visa credit card

The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card is a unique card that does not check your credit, has no fees and allows you to use your deposit to pay. The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card offers an interest-free way to build credit with no credit check required. One of Chime's great features that they offer is called the “Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card.” A secured credit card is a form.

Chime visa credit card -

Chime Review–A No Fee Banking Alternative (2021)

Chime is one of several new Fintech companies trying to challenging the banking industry. It offers a highly rated mobile app, low fees, a credit builder credit card and a competitive interest rate. In this Chime review we cover its features and fees.

Chime review

Chime Snapshot

I embraced online banking when it first became a thing more than a decade ago. It started with ING Direct and the Orange Account. Since then I’ve held accounts at many online banks, including CIT Bank, Ally Bank, American Express Bank, and Capital One. Chime is different.

For starters, it’s not a bank. It’s an app that offers bank accounts through partner FDIC-insured banks. The idea is to take great technology, pair it with traditional banking, and then take over the financial industry. Let’s dig into the details to see what it offers, how much it costs, and whether it’s right for you.

  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
  • Track your account balances and daily transactions with the Chime mobile app
  • Get daily balance notifications and instant transaction alerts
  • Send money instantly to friends
  • Chime Visa® Debit Card
  • 0.50% APY
  • No monthly fees.
  • No minimum balance requirements.
  • 60,000+ fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs.

Pros & Cons

What we like

  • Excellent mobile app
  • Competitive interest rate
  • No fees
  • Free ATMs
  • Get paid up to 2 days early
  • Build credit with free secured Visa card

What could be better

  • No physical branches
  • Past outages have prevented account access for brief periods of time

Chime Review

Chime comes with two account types: a Spending Account and a Savings Account. The Spending Account includes a Visa debit card that also serves as your ATM card.

Account Types

Spending Account

The Spending Account is your checking account. There are no overdraft fees, monthly fees or minimums with this account. There are also no foreign transaction fees.

How do you deposit money into your Chime account?

There are several ways you can add money to your Spending Account:

  1. Direct Deposit: Get access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Chime’s free direct deposit.
  2. Transfers: Using your routing number and account number, you can transfer funds from another bank into your Chime Spending Account.
  3. Deposit Cash: You can deposit cash to your Spending Account at over 90,000 retail locations via Green Dot. You can deposit up to $1,000 in cash every 24 hours or $10,000 per month. There will be a fee for this service, which can vary by location.
  4. Mobile Check Deposit: If you are enrolled in direct deposit of $200 or more a month, you can deposit a check via the mobile app. Once you meet the direct deposit requirement, mobile check depositing will be automatically added in your Chime app in 30 days.

How do you spend or withdrawal money from your Chime account?

There are several ways to use the money in your Chime account:

  1. Visa Debit Card: You can use the debit card anywhere that accepts Visa, including online.
  2. ATM: With your Visa debit card, you can withdrawal cash at an ATM.
  3. Bill Pay: You can set up direct pay to a creditor using your routing and account number.
  4. Chime Checkbook: While checks aren’t as common as they once were, sometimes you need them. You can log into your account and request that Chime send a check anywhere in the U.S. for up to $5,000.

The Spending Account works with mobile payment platroms including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Savings Account

With the Savings Account you earn 0.50% APY. That’s a competitive rate as compared to the best online savings accounts. There are no fees on this account and no minimum balance. The APY is also not capped at a certain balance.

Chime offers several ways to automate your savings:

  1. Round Ups: Chime will roundup transactions on the Chime debit card to the nearest dollar and transfer this amount from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.
  2. Save When I Get Paid: You can set up a recurring automatic transfer of a percentage of your paycheck from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.

Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card

Chime has recently introduced its first credit card. It’s a secured card designed to help Chime members build their credit. Because it’s a secured card, there is no credit check to apply. Unlike most secured cards, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Card has no annual fees and no interest charges.

Chime reports your credit activities from the card to the three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. There’s no minimum security deposit required. You decide how much to transfer from your Spending Account to your secured account as collateral for the card. That becomes your limit. You can then use this money to pay for your charges at the end of the month.

Mobile App

Chime Mobile App

With the Chime mobile app, you can track your spending and savings. You can also send or receive money from friends. It works on both iPhone and Android devices. The app enables you to deposit checks and pay bills. Alerts are built into the app. It can send you daily bank account balance notifications and instant transaction alerts when you use your debit card.

Chime’s mobile app is one of the highest rated among bank challengers. It has a 4.5 out of 5.0 star rating on Google Play and a 4.8 star rating in Apple’s App Store.


Visa Debit Card: The Chime Spending Account comes with a Visa debit card. The card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa, including online. It also serves as your ATM card.

Free ATM Withdrawals

Chime has over 38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. They work with both MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance networks. You can withdrawal from either network for free. Keep in mind that free ATMs are located only in the United States. If you travel outside the country, you will be charged for using an ATM.

If you use an ATM outside of these networks, the cost is $2.50 plus anything the ATM owner charges. Also keep in mind that there is a $500 a day limit on ATM withdrawals. Also keep in mind that there is a daily limit on card usage (whether purchases, ATM withdrawals, over-the-counter withdrawals) of $2,500.

Get Paid 2 Days Early

If you set up direct deposit, you can get paid up to two days early. Here’s how Chime describes this feature.

¹ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on timing of payer’s submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.


SpotMe is Chime’s fee-free overdraft protection. To qualify, you must set up direct deposit of at least $500 a month. Chime determines the limits of SpotMe per customer based on account activity and history. The limit starts at $20 but can go up to $200 or more. If a transaction would overdraw your account above this limit, it will be declined.

Any SpotMe overdrafts are repaid automatically with your next direct deposit. Here’s how Chime describes the SpotMe feature

*Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires you receive $500 in direct deposits a month to qualify to overdraw your account up to $20 on debit card purchases. Chime, in its sole discretion, may allow you to overdraw your account up to $200 or more based on your Chime Account history, direct deposit history and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your Limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your Limit. Your Limit may be increased or lowered at any time by Chime.


You can instantly disable your debit card via the mobile app. You can also allow or disallow international transactions.

Who Chime is Best For

Chime is designed for those wanted a no-fee checking and savings account and an excellent online and mobile app experience. It’s also ideal for those wanting to earn a competitive interest rate on savings.

Who Should Consider a Different Bank Alternative

Those who need a physical branch should either open an account at a traditional bank or consider two accounts–one online and one traditional.

How to Get Started with Chime

Opening an Account

You can open an account online using this link. You’ll need to provide the typical information you would for opening any bank account. This information includes your address, mobile telephone number, and your social security number. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old.

The process takes just a few minutes. Once approved, you then decide what types of accounts you want. It’s pretty simple since there are only two:

  • Spending Account—What most people think of as a checking account. If you set up direct deposit, see below, your paycheck will go into this account.
  • Savings Account—It currently pays 0.50% APY in interest.

Setup Direct Deposit

Next you’ll want to setup direct deposit of your paycheck or government assistance check. To do so you’ll need two numbers—the routing number and your account number. The routing number is a unique number that identifies the bank where the direct deposit should be made. The account number is the unique number that identifies your specific Spending Account.

Finding the routing number and your account number is easy:

  1. Log into your account online or via the Chime mobile app;
  2. Go to the “Move Money” section of your account and select “Direct Deposit;”
  3. There you’ll find both the routing number and your Spending Account Number.

Chime Rating


Rob Berger


Chime offers low fee Checking and Savings accounts, with competitive interest rates.

Chime Complaints

Consumers can file complaints against a financial institution with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Out of more than 2.3 million complaints filed with the CFPB, just over 1,500 relate to Chime. Most of the complaints related to Chime’s Spending and Savings accounts:

Chime Complaints

While complaints are to be expected of any large financial institution, how the company responds is key. According to the CFPB, Chime responded timely to all but 26 of the complaints.


Is the Chime debit card a prepaid card?

No. It is a debit ATM card. If you are interest in a prepaid card, you can check out our list of the best options here.

Does it offer free ATM withdrawals?

Yes, at more than 60,000 ATM locations nationwide.

How can I add money to my account?

Several ways, including direct deposit, mobile check deposit, bank transfer, and cash deposits at certain retailers using Green Dot.

Can Chime help improve my credit?

Yes. Chime offers a free credit builder secured Visa card that can improve your credit with timely payments.

Compare Chime Alternatives

There are other options to consider for those looking for a low cost online banking experience. There are other Fintech options, such as Aspiration, Simple and Varo. Think of these as digital bank apps. You could also consider online banks, most of which charge little in fees and offer competitive interest rates. If a checking account is your primary goal, however, it’s hard to beat Chime.

Chime Awards

Chime earned our best in class award in the following categories:


Freshest Chime Credit Builder Card Review for 2021

Chime is a financial services provider founded in 2013 in San Francisco, California. It focuses mostly on providing online banking services using no-fee models. They offer a simple catalog of three products: a debit, savings, and credit-builder account.

In this Chime Credit Builder Card review, we’ll take an in-depth look at whether it’s the right card to help you build good credit as well as at some of its alternatives. We’ll cover:

  • What you need to know
  • How the Chime Credit Builder Card works
  • What products does Chime offer?
  • How to Apply for the Chime Credit Builder Card
  • Pros and Cons
  • Alternatives
  • FAQs

What Is Chime Credit

The Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Card is a credit card tailored expressly for those who are new to owning a credit card, don’t have an adequate credit history, or have a bad credit history. In fact, it’s great for anyone who needs to build credit. As part of our Chime credit card review, we found it to be a great choice for the following reasons:

  • Unlike most credit cards, there is no required credit check or score when applying for this card.
  • Because it’s a secured credit card, you can only use the available funds on your credit card. We will get into more detail on how this works throughout our Chime secured card review below.
  • Chime has a number of features and controls in place to help you manage your credit spending, such as “Safer Credit Building,” “Move My Pay,” and a secured credit account.

How Chime Credit Builder Works

While you can find more information in later sections of our Chime card review, here is an overview of how it works:

  • First of all, you need a Chime Spending Account with a history of regular direct deposits.
  • Transfer money from your Spending Account to the Credit Builder Card secured account. This amount effectively becomes your available credit limit which has a maximum of $10,000.
  • Now, you can start spending with your Credit Builder Card via transfers, purchases (online or in-store), or via automated monthly debit orders. You should note though that Chime Credit Builder Card cannot be used for ATM withdrawal. More importantly, if you still have an amount overdue from the last billing cycle, this will also be deducted from your credit limit for the following month.
  • As a secured credit card, your credit needs to be paid in full each month. You can pay your outstanding balance either from your secured account, an external bank account, or your Spending account.
  • If you fail to pay the full amount by the Payment Due Date, your Account will be considered to be in Default. Chime will then use your secured account funds to settle the outstanding balance (up to the full amount).

This guaranteed credit payment is the main difference when comparing other banks and Chime in reviews.

The end result is that you can effectively never get behind on your credit payments as your chime credit builder card limit is defined by the amount available in your secured account. This will allow you to build a good credit score over time by consistently meeting your credit obligations each month.

What Types Of Products Does Chime Offer?

Chime offers three banking solutions aimed at those who want a simple, no-fee way to start saving or building credit. Here are mini Chime banking reviews of what they have to offer:

Spending account.

This is a zero-fee account that doesn’t require a credit check to apply. It’s a simple and straightforward debit card facility that you can apply for in under 2 minutes. You can also qualify for up to $100 Chime Credit Builder Card overdraft with no fees attached. This account is a prerequisite for the Savings and Credit Builder Accounts.

High-yield savings account.

You need a Chime Spending Account to open a Savings Account. You can make deposits manually from your Spending Account or set up automatic deposits. The account will earn 0.5% APY based on a variable rate. You can also activate automatic rounding which will round your spending to the nearest dollar and send that amount to your savings account.

Credit Builder.

Chime credit card interest rate is 0 – meaning that the main purpose of Chime is helping users build better credit scores. Control your credit utilization by how much you deposit each month and manually or automatically settle the bill to build your credit score with the three credit bureaus. Read the rest of this Chime Credit Builder review to find out more about this service.

Chime Credit Builder Card Key Features And Benefits

Here are the key features and benefits you can look forward to:

No interest charges or fees.

The Chime Credit Builder Card is a zero-fee card with no flat annual fee, no transaction fees, and no penalty fees for late or returned payments.

Controlled limits.

Unlike other credit cards that give you a credit limit to utilize, Chime credit card reviews state that you set your own credit limit using the credit builder. You do this by reserving money upfront to be used for credit card transactions so that you never land in a situation where you don’t have the funds to cover your credit.

“Available to Spend”.

You need to top up the secured account on your Credit Builder card which acts as the amount you have available to spend on purchases or transactions. This is the main feature that stops you from over-utilizing credit and amassing debt. When you spend any money, that amount is reserved and you will have less money available to spend. This feature alone is probably the main differentiator from other banks, as pointed out in numerous Chime Credit Builder Card reviews.

“Move My Pay”.

This optional feature allows Chime to move a share of your salary to your secured account on your Credit Builder card automatically every payday. This automatic top-up is handy to help ensure that you always have a spendable balance on your card.

“Safer Credit Building”.

This is another optional feature you can enable on your account. When enabled, every time you spend using your Credit Builder Card, money from your secured account will automatically be reserved to pay your bill at the end of the month. Otherwise, you will need to settle your credit bill manually.

Chime Credit Builder Card Application Process

One thing often pointed out in reviews of the Chime bank accounts is how easy it is to apply for them. Here is the entire process:

  1. First of all, you will need to apply for a Chime Spending account as this is a requirement to open a Credit Builder account.
  2. The next step is providing your email address.
  3. Then they’ll ask you to test.
  4. Next, you need to enter your First and Last Names, followed by your date of birth, phone number, and residential address.
  5. Then you need to set a secure password.
  6. Next, provide your social security number.
  7. Then, you need to provide your source of income (if any), yearly income (no minimum), method of payment, and how you heard about Chime.
  8. Finally, accept all the T&Cs and submit your application.

That wasn’t the end of our Chime review. You need to sign into the Chime mobile banking app in order to open a Credit Builder account. You can download and install the Chime App from the official Google Play or Apple App Store. To open a Credit Builder account:

  1. Sign in to the app.
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top left corner.
  3. Scroll down until you see the “Credit Builder Card” heading and tap “Try Credit Builder”
  4. You will now be signed up for the Credit Builder card facility.
  5. Wait 5-7 business days for your card to arrive.

Chime Credit Builder Card Interest Rates and Fees

Here are the most important rates and fees you should know after reading our Chime review:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Because you have to settle any outstanding credit at the end of each billing period, there are no interest charges.
  • Cash Advance APR: See above.
  • 0% Introductory APR: Intro APR does not apply as there is no regular APR.
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0.
  • Late Payment or Return Payment Fee: $0.
  • Minimum Monthly Payment: None.
  • Payment Due Dates: 21 days after the close of the last billing cycle.

How to transfer money from Chime Credit Builder Card

The process of transferring money from Chime Credit Card is pretty straightforward. It only has six easy-to-follow steps.

  1. Download and Launch the Chime app
  2. Choose the Move Money option
  3. Tap on Credit Builder Card
  4. Enter the Transfer Amount
  5. Choose the Spending Amount
  6. Finally, complete the money transfer

Chime Credit Builder Card Pros and Cons According to Chime Visa Card Reviews

Here are the main pros and cons of using Credit Builder, backed up by other reviews on Chime:


  • No credit check/minimum credit score required to apply
  • Zero annual, transaction, APR, or penalty fees
  • No minimum deposit for your secured account
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus


  • Cannot be used for withdrawals or SpotMe overdraft
  • Requires a Chime savings/checking account
  • You can’t get extra credit higher than your deposit

Privacy & Security Policy

We didn’t find anything to be concerned about regarding Chime’s Privacy Policy in our Chime banking review. It states that they share personal information with the Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., of which they are a subsidiary. Most of the information they gather is from typical documents you submit in the course of banking with any financial institution.

They may collect contact and social media handles, but only if you provide them. And, they may share some information with third-party services like Google Analytics, although this has become standard.

As for security, all accounts are secured by 128-bit SSL encryption. On an individual level, you can instantly block your cards via the Chime app if you suspect fraud and will receive transaction alerts. You can also set up two-factor authentication to secure your logins.

Chime insures deposits by up to $250,000 and offers 0% fraud liability.

Alternatives to Chime Credit Builder Card

No Chime Credit Builder review would be complete without comparing it with some of its alternatives. Here are two of the top secured credit builder cards to consider:

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

The OpenSky is one of the top credit cards for fair credit with an annual fee of $35. The minimum deposit is $200 (maximum $3,000) which also translates to your line of credit. OpenSky reports to all three credit bureaus and doesn’t perform a credit check when you apply. There is also a 17.39% APR to consider which, at least, is not very high. Furthermore, there are both foreign transactions and cash advance fees.

Capital One Secured MasterCard

This is another $0 annual fee secured credit card that you can use to build your credit with all three bureaus. Making a minimum secured deposit earns you a credit line of $200 which you can raise to $1,000 with additional deposits. Unfortunately, it is possible to get behind on your payments, and then you will have to pay the 26.99% APR. However, you also have a chance to raise your line of credit and earn your deposit back by responsible usage.

Finally, if you’re in a real hurry and have a very bad credit score, you may want to give credit repair a chance. The best we can recommend is Credit Saint, but there are plenty of other companies that can help as well.

Wrap Up

Arguably the biggest advantage we identified in this Chime Credit Builder card review is that there are plenty of safeguards and controls in place to foster responsible credit utilization over a long period of time. As your deposit defines your credit limit, Chime prevents you from getting (too far) behind on your payments.

It’s also a 0-fee card, which means that you get to keep every cent that you earn.

If you don’t have a credit history or have a bad one, Chime reviews show that this is the ideal card to apply for to start building credit fast with all three credit bureaus. There is no credit check required, and all you need is a Chime Spending Account to get started. It can be an effective, stress-free part of your strategy on how to fix your credit score.


Can you withdraw money from your Chime’s Credit Builder card?

No. Unfortunately, Chime Credit Builder card cannot be used for ATM withdrawal. However, you can do this via your Chime Spending Account which is a prerequisite for getting the Credit Builder card.

Does Chime Credit Builder give you money?

No. While writing our Chime Credit Builder card review, we found that Chime doesn’t provide a scheme whereby you can get your deposit back or earn rewards via the Credit Builder card.

Can I use my Chime Credit Builder card with no money?

No. You cannot use your Chime Credit Builder card if you have no money on it. The reason for this is the “Available to Spend” feature on your credit builder card. It doesn’t allow you to overdraft, hence preventing you from unnecessary spending and helping you build your credit.

Can you get cashback with a Chime credit builder card?

We continually do updates on our review articles, and this chime credit card builder review is no exception. Therefore, there is no news or updates when it comes to cashback offers, rewards, or perks from Chime official site to date.

Is Chime a Good Credit Card?

Reviews on Chime Credit Cardare mostly positive. It has so many positive features tailored to the client’s needs, it’s no wonder it is often the preferred choice among credit card users.

Does Chime Credit Builder work?

Our Chime Credit Builder Card review confirms that it does work. Not only does it help you build your credit but it can also help you adapt to a new, responsible way of living and spending.


Hendrik Human

Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Chime Visa® Credit Builder Card is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Chime. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third party websites, as Chime is not responsible for those third parties' privacy or security practices.

¹To be eligible to apply for Credit Builder, you need to have received a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Spending Account within the last 365 days of your application. The qualifying direct deposit must have been made by your employer, payroll provider, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit. Bank ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits are not qualifying direct deposits.

© 2013-2021 Chime. All Rights Reserved.


Have you heard about the Chime credit card? Our favorite bank has debuted a Credit Builder card that builds credit but works like a debit card. If you’re having a hard time building credit, then you need to know about this.

What is the Chime credit card?

The Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card is designed to help customers build their credit history. It’s a secured card that functions similar to a debit card. It does not allow for overspending, for example.

How does the Chime credit card work?

When you use your card, you will transfer money from your Chime spending account to your Chime Credit Builder Secured Account. You will then be able to use the Credit Builder Visa card to spend up to the amount that you transferred into the account.

young man holds chime credit card

Why should I use the Chime credit card?

This card has one purpose: to help you build your credit. If you’ve struggled to establish credit, or if you’ve struggled to establish good credit, then this card can help you.

If you’re looking for a credit card that can be used in emergencies when you need access to funds you don’t have, then this card isn’t right for you. You’ll be spending against your secured balance without any means to access additional funds.

The Chime credit card is a safer way to build your credit.

Chime decided to launch this service because debit cards are so popular. The majority of Millennials prefer debit cards over credit, but this means that they aren’t building their credit history. That can be a major problem when it’s time to purchase a car or a house.

Personally, I was advised to get 3-5 credit cards when I decided to purchase our first home because I did not have an adequate credit history. My credit was poor, so I could only get credit cards designed for people with bad credit. These cards came with hefty annual and monthly fees, which led to an unsustainable debt cycle that later wrecked my credit (after we bought the house).

Chime’s card is a much safer way to build your credit, because it will prevent you from overspending and exceeding your limits. it also has no fees! No annual fee, no interest, and no minimum security deposit. It also has a Safer Credit Builder feature that will pay your entire balance from the secured account on time. The payments are then reported to the major credit bureaus.

The Chime Credit Builder actually works.

The Chime credit card has been in testing since June 2019. During the test period, users helped improve their credit score by an average of 30 points. They also helped 95% of users with no credit history establish a credit score.

How can I get the Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card?

If you’re interested in getting the card, you’ll need to join the waitlist. They are opening this program incrementally, Click here to visit the Chime website and then follow the prompts.

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Nicole Thelin

Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today,,, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.


Are you looking for a way to build or rebuild your credit? The Chime Credit Builder Card is an opportunity to avoid the high interest rates and rules often associated with traditional secured credit cards.

With this program, Chime is offering a Visa® credit card that helps people improve their credit histories by making on-time payments in a controlled environment.

And you won’t have to pay any interest or annual fees.

Money expert Clark Howard says utilizing this fintech company (Chime is not a bank) for this type of credit card is a much better alternative than dealing with a traditional bank.

“Chime has done a great job of eliminating the junk fees and pain points you’d have with a bank,” Clark says.

“One of the ways that banks have treated people the worst is the way they handle people with no credit or a history of bad credit. They either want nothing to do with you, or they do these slimy, rip-off, high-fee secured card plans.”

Since Clark declared himself a big fan of the Chime Credit Builder on a recent episode of his podcast, we decided to gather all the important details to help you determine if it could be a good fit for you or someone in your life.

What Is Chime Credit Builder?

Chime Credit Builder Card

The Chime Credit Builder is a secured credit card that’s intended to help people build, improve or repair their credit history.

But instead of borrowing money at an ultra-high interest rate, you’re just borrowing based on the money you put in your secured account to prove that you are a worthy borrower down the line.

Chime, a popular new fintech company presenting itself as a banking alternative, offers this service to people with a Chime Spending Account and a qualifying direct deposit to that account.

Chime is a financial technology company and not an actual bank. Banking services for the Chime Credit Builder Card are provided by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC.

Think of the Chime Credit Builder as a modern-day solution to a secured credit card, which are often rife with predatory interest fees, junk fees and restrictive policies. Those cards can end up being temporary financial prison sentences for people who are trying to qualify for more suitable lines of credit.

How Does the Chime Credit Builder Work?

Chime offers this credit-building service to people willing to do at least some of their basic financial transactions with the company.

Let’s dig a little deeper into what you can expect.

Set-Up Process

  1. Open a Chime Spending Account. To apply for this card, you must first have a Chime Spending Account. This works just like an online checking account. Team Clark’s Christopher Smith says this about the Chime Spending Account: “Free from the overhead expenses of operating physical branches, Chime passes along those cost savings to customers. It doesn’t charge monthly or overdraft fees and also doesn’t require a minimum deposit.”
  2. Make a qualifying direct deposit. To get the credit card, you must have made qualifying direct deposits of $200 or more to your Chime Spending Account within the last year. If you dig into the fine print, you’ll find that this direct deposit must be via ACH from an employer (government payments count, too) and cannot be substituted by personal transactions from Venmo, PayPal or another peer-to-peer digital wallet.
  3. Apply for the Chime Credit Builder credit card. With an open Chime Spending Account and a qualifying direct deposit, you’re ready to apply for the secured credit card. There is no credit check required to apply for the card.
  4. Set your spending limit by depositing money. Once you are accepted into the program, you’ll be able to set your spending limit for the card by depositing money into your secured account. In the most basic terms, you’re simply borrowing your own money to prove that you can pay it back at the end of the billing period.

How Do I Use This Credit Card?

This may sound different from a regular credit card, but your day-to-day behavior with it will actually be pretty similar to using a conventional credit card.

Chime touts a four-step process for using this card and consequently boosting your credit score.

  1. Move your money into the Chime secured account. This is the part that is not like a traditional credit card. You’ll need to load up your account in order to spend (kind of like a prepaid card).
  2. Spend your money with the Chime Credit Builder Visa card. This part is exactly like using a traditional credit card. It’s a Visa credit card that will spend just like any other. When you make a purchase, that amount is set aside in the secured account.
  3. Pay your balance each month. The money set aside in the secured account can automatically pay your month-end balance. You won’t get charged any interest, but you’re also required to pay the bill in full each period. This is a key piece to improving your credit score, so don’t miss out on it.
  4. Watch your progress get reported to the credit bureaus. This is also like a conventional credit card. Chime reports your payment activity to the credit bureaus. This can help build your credit score (more on this later).

Everything you deposit in the Chime secured account can be accessed toward paying your balance, whereas secured credit cards often require a large deposit that cannot be used to pay your monthly bill. Purchases with traditional secured cards may also be subject to extremely high interest rates.

Card Specs

Usually, when you get to the “card specs” section of one of our credit card reviews, you’ll see a lot of talk about fees and rewards programs. The Chime Credit Builder is free from most of those details.

In other words, Chime is keeping it really simple. And when it comes to new credit or repairing credit, simple is almost always the best way to go.

The answer is “NO” for any of the following common fees:

  • Annual fees
  • Maintenance fees
  • International fees
  • Interest on purchases
  • Minimum security deposit

Again, these are things that really make the Chime secured card stand out when compared to some of the traditional secured cards on the market. Fees are the norm there.

Of course, the flip side is that there are no real rewards or benefits to speak of here. The answer also is “NO” on things like welcome bonuses, cash back rewards or perks such as travel, cell phone and auto rental insurance.

What Gets Reported That Will Impact My Credit Score?

Since this card is designed to help you increase your credit score, Chime reports some of the things that will help you.

Chime reports your activity with this card to the following credit bureaus:

And you’ll be pleased to know that Chime will send information on the following:

  • On-time payments: This can help your payment history, which is a key factor in determining your credit score.
  • Duration of credit relationship: This is another one that helps your credit score over time. The longer you successfully do business with Chime (or any other lender), the more reliable you appear. Your credit score likely will go up as a result.

You’ll also benefit from what Chime doesn’t report:

  • Credit utilization: This is a measure of how much of your available credit you’re using at any given time. The lower your utilization, the better. Because there’s no pre-set limit with Chime, this credit utilization doesn’t apply for this card. This allows you to spend freely, up to the amount you’ve deposited, without worrying that you’re going to impact your credit score negatively.

One impact to your credit score, though, that is likely unavoidable is an initial dip when you open your card with Chime. The credit bureaus typically ding you for increasing your number of open lines of credit, but your score should bounce back quickly with positive credit activity.

How Much Can My Credit Score Improve With This Card?

Chime touts that participating in this Credit Builder program can, on average, increase your credit score by 30 points, as long as you make your payments on time.

It’s important to note that the credit score change is going to be different for everyone: You have a unique financial situation that is graded as such. But generally speaking, on-time payments and growth in your length of credit history should have a net positive impact on your credit score.

The 30-point increase claim comes from a representative study conducted by TransUnion. According to Chime, the study uncovered that “members who started using Chime Credit Builder in September 2019 observed a median credit score (VantageScore 3.0) increase of 30 points by January 2020.”

Chime Visa Debit Card vs. Chime Credit Builder Card: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve been considering signing up for Chime, you probably have noticed that the company is promoting the Chime Credit Builder card alongside a Chime Visa Debit Card.

The debit card is designed to allow for spending directly from your Chime Spending Account with no regard to credit reporting or credit score. It functions like a traditional debit card, meaning that money disappears from your account as soon as you swipe the card.

The debit card also carries a Visa logo and can be used wherever Visa is accepted.

The Chime Debit card does not have a monthly account fee or a minimum balance requirement.

Pros and Cons: Chime Credit Builder

Most new borrowers and credit rebuilders will be eligible to participate in this program.Must open a Chime Spending Account to be eligible to apply for the credit card.
You can avoid fees and interest charges associated with “traditional” secured credit cards.You need to have a direct deposit made to your Chime Spending Account before applying for the card.
No credit check is required to participate.Your spending limit is based on how much you deposit, so effectively there’s no “instant access” to money you don’t have like some other credit cards may offer.

Final Thoughts: The Chime Credit Builder Card is just one of a handful of emerging solutions for those who haven’t established credit or need to repair their credit history.

And as people who are determined to help consumers make smart financial decisions that positively impact their lives, the development of programs like this one is music to Team Clark’s collective ears.

“You’re not stuck with the check cashers or the payday lenders,” Clark says. “There are more and more places for people that are alienated from banks or unbanked to be able to do the equivalent of banking and not get cheated.”

Remember, Chime is not a bank. It’s a financial technology company with banking services provided by a bank. And they’re not alone in trying to disrupt the secured credit card industry.

In addition to the Chime Credit Builder Card, Clark also recommends that you check out the Petal Card program for more secured card alternatives. Team Clark has reviewed the Petal Card options here.

Do you have experience with the Chime Credit Builder? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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