Money Moves: The Best Credit-Building Apps in 2024

Money Moves: The Best Credit-Building Apps in 2024

When navigating the financial landscape of 2024, it’s crucial to understand the power of a robust credit score. It opens doors to competitive loan rates, favorable insurance premiums, and even influences hiring decisions. For doctors and medical professionals trying to find effective tools and strategies for managing your credit score, credit-building apps can be a great solution. This post delves into the best credit-building apps available this year, helping you understand their features, benefits, and how to choose the right one for your financial goals.

How Credit-Building Apps Work

Credit-building apps help improve your credit score through various innovative methods, each tailored to fit different financial situations and goals. These apps typically function by either reporting positive financial behaviors to credit bureaus or by facilitating small, manageable loans that demonstrate your creditworthiness over time. Understanding these mechanisms will help you choose an app that aligns best with your needs, whether you’re looking to start building credit or enhance your current score.

Functions of Credit-Building Apps

  • Payment Reporting: Some apps focus on reporting rent, utility payments, and even subscription services to credit bureaus—transactions that are traditionally not included in credit reports but can positively impact your score when documented.
  • Credit-Builder Loans: Other apps offer what are known as “credit-builder loans,” which do not provide upfront cash, but rather lock the borrowed amount in a secured account until the loan is fully paid off. This process not only builds savings, but also improves credit as timely payments are reported.
  • Secured Credit Cards: A number of these apps provide secured credit cards, requiring a deposit that serves as your credit limit. Regular use and repayment of these cards help build credit history efficiently.

Benefits of Credit-Building Apps

  • Improvement in Credit Score: By providing additional data to credit bureaus and demonstrating responsible credit use, these apps can significantly boost your credit score.
  • Financial Education: Most credit-building apps come equipped with educational resources to help users understand and navigate their credit, promoting better financial habits.
  • Accessibility: These tools make credit improvement accessible to more people, especially those with limited credit history or those recovering from financial setbacks.

The Top Credit-Building Apps

Now that we’ve established their functions and benefits, we’ll explore some of the best credit-building apps available to help you improve your credit score.

Cheese Credit Builder

Geared towards helping users establish a credit history through a no-fee line of credit, Cheese Credit Builder is particularly appealing for its straightforward approach to credit building without hidden charges.

  • Pros:
    • No fees and low interest rates, making it cost-effective
    • Reports to major credit bureaus, enhancing your credit history
    • Simple and accessible for beginners
  • Cons:
    • Limited functionality beyond basic credit building
    • Doesn’t offer significant upfront spending limits, potentially resulting in less flexibility and slower credit score improvement

Credit Strong

Credit Strong allows users to simultaneously save money and build credit by opening an installment loan that is secured by a bank deposit.

  • Pros:
    • Builds credit and savings at the same time, mimicking a savings behavior
    • Flexible loan options to suit different financial needs
    • Reports to all major credit bureaus, boosting credit scores comprehensively
  • Cons:
    • Involves setup and administrative fees
    • Commitment to a longer-term financial product, which may not suit everyone

Experian Boost

As a product from Experian—one of the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.—Experian Boost is unique in that it allows users to get credit for paying utility bills and subscriptions, items not typically included in credit reports.

  • Pros:
    • Free to use and easy to set up
    • Immediate effect on Experian credit scores by adding more payment history
    • Considers bills not traditionally included, helping boost your score
  • Cons:
    • Only affects Experian credit scores
    • Requires consistent bill payments to see benefits


Extra offers a unique proposition by enabling users to build credit using a debit card. Each purchase made with the card is reported as credit-worthy activity, blending the ease of debit with the benefits of credit.

  • Pros:
    • No credit check required to get started
    • Helps build credit with everyday transactions
    • Integrates seamlessly with existing bank accounts
  • Cons:
    • Subscription-based service with either a monthly or annual fee
    • Relatively new on the market, which may pose concerns about longevity and reliability

Grow Credit

The Grow Debit Mastercard from Grow Credit helps users build credit by paying for subscription services. It’s a unique way to turn regular expenses into opportunities to improve credit.

  • Pros:
    • Free basic plan available with optional paid upgrades for higher limits
    • Reports to all major credit bureaus, helping improve credit scores from regular payments
    • Easy to use and integrates with existing subscriptions
  • Cons:
    • Limited to subscription services, which may not fully diversify credit activities
    • Higher plans come with a fee, which may not be ideal for all budgets


Financial technology company Kikoff offers a straightforward way to build credit. It provides a credit line for purchasing educational materials on finance in its store, which can help users boost their credit scores without the risk of debt accumulation.

  • Pros:
    • Requires no credit check to get started
    • Payments are reported to major credit bureaus
    • No interest—just a flat monthly fee of $5, making it very affordable
  • Cons:
    • Limited to Kikoff’s online store purchases, which may not appeal to all users
    • Small credit limit, which may not significantly impact users with already established credit


For a more robust approach, there’s MoneyLion‘s Credit Builder Plus membership—which not only helps build credit but also provides access to a portion of the loan funds upfront, which can be useful in emergencies.

  • Pros:
    • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
    • Provides access to funds more quickly than traditional credit-builder loans
    • Includes additional features like financial tracking tools and cash-back rewards
  • Cons:
    • Requires a membership fee
    • Interest rates on loans may be higher than some users expect


For a credit-builder account that acts like a savings certificate in certain ways, Self is a great option. Users make regular payments into the account, which are reported as loan repayments to credit bureaus, and at the end of the term, the deposited money is returned minus any fees.

  • Pros:
    • Builds credit and savings simultaneously
    • Flexible loan and payment terms to fit various budgets
    • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Cons:
    • Involves setup fees and potential monthly fees, depending on your plan
    • Requires discipline to make regular payments over a period of time

Sesame Cash

Sesame Cash by Credit Sesame integrates credit building with a digital banking experience, offering a debit card that helps improve credit scores by reporting positive financial behaviors.

  • Pros:
    • Provides real-time alerts on credit score changes
    • Cash-back matching on a portion of your debit card rewards earned at partnered retailers
    • Monthly fees can be waived if certain conditions are met
  • Cons:
    • Limited impact compared to secured credit cards or loans
    • Relatively recent addition to the market with a more limited track record

The Bottom Line: Taking Control of Your Credit Score

As you navigate the complexities of personal finance in 2024, leveraging technology to enhance your credit score is more accessible and effective than ever before. The credit-building apps reviewed here offer a variety of approaches to suit different financial needs and goals. Whether you choose an app that reports utility payments, one that provides credit-builder loans, or a hybrid solution offering educational resources, the key is to select a tool that aligns with your financial situation and aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Credit-Building Apps

Do credit-building apps really improve your credit score?

Yes, when used correctly, credit-building apps can effectively improve your credit score. They help by adding positive payment history and increasing your credit mix, which are significant factors in credit scoring.

Are there any risks involved in using these apps?

The primary risks include potential fees and the possibility of negative impacts if payments are missed. It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of any app before use.

How fast can I see improvements in my credit score with these apps?

Improvements can be seen as quickly as one to two months, but it generally depends on the current state of your credit report and how the app integrates with your financial behaviors.

Do all credit-building apps report to the major credit bureaus?

Most reputable credit-building apps report to at least one of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion)—and some report to all three. However, it’s best to verify this as reporting can vary between apps.

What is the best credit-building app for someone with no credit history?

Apps like Kikoff and Self are great for those starting from scratch as they require no prior credit history and focus on building it gradually through small, manageable payments.

The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. For specific financial counsel on building your credit, we strongly recommend seeking the guidance of a qualified expert.

Published on May 9, 2024

Written by The Influent Staff

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