4 App Alternatives to Self You Need to Know About For Building Credit

Michael Collins
September 15, 2020

Self is a free app that offers small, personal loans to its customers. When the borrower pays back these loans, their credit score goes up. Smartphone apps like Self are a great way for people with little credit history to begin building their credit with these loans. Likewise, if you do have credit history but your score is in the dumps, a credit builder loan like this can be a great way to get your score back on track. 

Self works slightly differently than other lenders. With Self, you aren’t getting your “loan” to you right away. Instead, your loan amount is held in a FDIC backed account until you make all of your payments on your loan. Once your loan is completely paid off, your original loan amount is then released to you. Successfully paying off one of these loans means that Self reports these good payments to the three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, which means your score might goes up! This is something that many other personal loan lenders do not do, so this is a very helpful tool that Self provides.

With Self, you are able to choose between loan terms of 1 year or 2 years, depending on how much you choose to pay each month. You have the ability to choose between payments of $25, $35, $48, or $150. After around 6 months, your score may start to show some improvements. However, if you start missing payments your score could go down. 

Self’s product is very innovative and helpful. However, the fact that you do not get your loan amount until your loan is paid off can be very frustrating. If you genuinely need money but also want to build your credit simultaneously, Self might not be the app for you. Thankfully, there are many other apps that provide a service similar to Self. Let’s look at some of these apps like Self so you can find the best choice for your next personal loan or to build credit history.

Possible Finance

We might be a little biased, but we think Possible is the best option for a credit builder loan and here’s why!

Possible offers payday loan alternatives and installment loans. You can apply for this right on our Possible app. If you are in a financial jam and you need money quickly, you can have the money in your bank account within minutes. These loans not only have a very competitive APR, but they are also easier to pay off than many other lenders. If you are struggling to make payments on one of these loans, you can extend your payment up to 29 days within the app. 

We understand that traditional payday lenders are often riddled with predatory practices that can put many borrowers into a payday loan trap. These traditional payday lenders offer their loans to those with low credit scores and they gouge them with very harsh loan terms and APR’s that can be in the 1,000% range. Even further, if you successfully pay off loans from some of these lenders, your credit score won’t even budge. We want to change that narrative and fight for financial fairness. We want to build value for our customers, so we offer loans that are much more forgiving and easier to pay back. Likewise, we report all of your successful loan repayments to the 3 credit bureaus and you can build credit history. We want to make these services as widely available as possible, so if your credit score is very low, you might still be able to get your loan approved with us.

Overall, we at Possible offer a credit builder loan product that is very accessible and convenient, gets you your money fast, and helps build your credit along the way. 

Credit.com

Credit.com is a holistic app and web platform that allows you to manage and take care of many aspects of your credit and personal finances. For example, you can get your credit score for free on credit.com through Experian. Likewise, you can also get a free credit analysis by credit.com to let you know how your credit is looking. This “credit report card” is also provided by Experian, and you can get one of these reports every 14 days so you can learn what might be causing your poor credit score and how you can improve it. Like Possible, credit.com also has many articles and information about finance topics, particularly about personal finance. 

In terms of building credit, credit.com does not directly offer services, but they do make recommendations for companies. They have a section on their website called “credit repair” that both informs the reader of what repairing your credit means and how to do it, as well as a list of a few companies that credit.com believes are good fits to help you build your credit. They also have a similar section that talks all about personal loans, and once again, they offer recommendations for where to get a personal loan. 

While credit.com makes reasonable recommendations for credit building loans and credit repair services, they are paid to do this. This means that companies pay credit.com to recommend them, so these recommendations are not necessarily the best option for you or what credit.com genuinely feels are the best services for your credit. Likewise, the credit building loan recommendations are for fairly large loans that take years to pay off. If you just need a small amount of money and want to build your credit quicker, Possible is going to be a better choice for you. 

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Mint

Mint is an app developer that offers many of the same services as credit.com, but at its core, it is a budgeting app. Mint is a company that is owned by Intuit, who also owns TurboTax and Quicken Loans. Mint has many features that can help you manage your personal finances, as well as set a budget to plan for your next expenses. While Mint provides many good services that make it one of the best personal finance apps on the market, it does not provide its own credit building loans like Self or Possible

Instead, Mint’s credit-building aspect is similar to that of credit.com. Mint has an additional section on their website called “loans” that provides information on personal loans. Unlike credit.com, Mint recommends loans that are much more reasonable for building your credit. Many of these loan recommendations are common names in the industry that provide loans of anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000. Like credit.com’s recommendations, they are also sponsored by the company that is being recommended, so again, you are not necessarily given an unbiased opinion on credit building loans. 

MoneyLion

MoneyLion is a helpful app that provides a different variety of financial services than Mint. With MoneyLion, you can bank digitally with them. This means you can open a checking and savings account with them and get a credit card as well. In other words, you could fully go digital and switch to MoneyLion to be your personal banking service. The banking service comes with debit card rewards as well as an early paycheck feature where you can get your paycheck two days in advance. Further, MoneyLion touts that they have very limited fees when it comes to their digital banking services. 

Along with their banking services, MoneyLion also offers a cash advance service as well. They also provide a personal investing service through their app that is somewhat similar to that of Robinhood or another online broker. These have zero management fees along with automatic investing and personalized portfolios that you can make to start investing for future things like retirement or your honeymoon. 

In terms of credit building, MoneyLion offers credit building loans themselves. With MoneyLion, you can get a credit builder loan of up to $1,000. Like Possible, MoneyLion reports your successful payments to all three credit bureaus so your score can start increasing if you begin making payments successfully. They also claim to not check your credit when you apply for one of these credit builder loans, so those with very poor credit scores may have access to these credit building loans. 

Like Self, you don’t receive your entire loan amount when you are approved for a loan. However, your entire loan amount is not sitting idle like it is with Self. With MoneyLion, you have immediate access to some of your loan amount while the rest will sit in a secured account until it is paid off. To qualify for such a loan, you must link a checking account that is in good standing. That account also must have been open for at least 60 days and there must be a history of successful payments and a steady stream of income with that account. Once you meet this criteria, you can have access to this loan. 

The main drawback for MoneyLion is that you need to pay a membership fee to even be able to have access to these credit builder loans. This feature is called “Credit Builder Plus”, and while this will get you access to these loans and other services within MoneyLion, you will need to pay an additional $20 / month along with the loan payments you are already making. 

While MoneyLion does offer many good services including a credit building loan that can help get your credit on track, paying an extra $240 a year really hurts. This makes that credit builder loan seem a lot more expensive! If you can afford to pay the extra $20 a month, then you might want to consider what MoneyLion has to offer. However, chances are that if you are in need of a loan you probably cannot afford to cough up an extra $240. Instead, if you need a loan and still need to build credit, Possible is the best option. There’s absolutely no membership fee to get access to our loans and you can still get one even if you have low credit!

Final Thoughts

As technology develops, there are so many new apps and tools available for users to take control of their finances. However, with an overabundance of apps and services right at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know exactly which one is best for you. 

In terms of credit, there are so many different ways to increase your credit score if you are struggling. In terms of apps that can help you build your credit score, we have gone over the apps that can provide you with, or recommend you a company that provides credit builder loans. With these, you can get loans on your mobile device that as you pay off, your lender reports to the three credit bureaus and your credit score increases. 

With Self, you can get a credit builder loan but one that does not allow you to have access to your loan funds until your loan is paid off. Similarly, MoneyLion offers credit builder loans that allow you to have access to some of the money, but you must pay a hefty membership fee every month, which can make building your credit with MoneyLion expensive. 

We feel that Possible is the best option for you when it comes to credit builder loans. Our loans are small, easy to pay off, and you can extend your payment date if need be. You have access to your loan funds unlike Self, and we offer loans to those with low credit scores, just like Self and MoneyLion. Unlike traditional payday lenders and many other lending apps, paying off our installment loans and payday loan alternatives builds your credit score over time. It’s a win-win!
If you have stress about improving your credit score or you just need a small loan to cover some payments, we are here to quell your anxiety. Consider getting a loan with Possible and lose sleep no more.. Apply right on your phone and you could have your money in your bank account within minutes. Download our app and get started!

Michael Collins

Michael has a passion for writing and has since brought that passion to Possible. He enjoys reading everything there is to know about film, sports, and finance. His studies in college allow him to be on the forefront of business knowledge so he can better inform his readers.

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