Credit Strong: Will it Help Your Credit Score?

Michael Collins
May 5, 2021

If you have bad credit, you probably already know how hard it is to build your credit score up. Building your credit score can be a Catch-22, which according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “an illogical, unreasonable, or senseless situation.” 

To get approved for the loans and credit cards that help build your credit score, you need to have a good credit score to begin with. If you have a bad score, you oftentimes can’t have access to the debt that would help you to build credit. People that need the most help with their credit are the ones who can’t get it! Sounds pretty illogical, unreasonable, and senseless right? 

To help with this, companies like Credit Strong have created a product that helps build your credit score up and is available to people with bad credit scores. Curious about credit strong reviews? Let’s dive into who Credit Strong is and how their product works. 

What is Credit Strong? 

Credit Strong is a finance technology or “fintech” division of a bank called Austin Capital Bank. Austin Capital Bank is a community bank that was founded in 2006. This bank serves communities in Texas and has been highly rated as one of the fastest growing, top performing banking institutions in Texas. 

While Austin Capital Bank serves the greater Texas community with its banking services, Credit Strong operates all across the country in every state besides Vermont, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. 

With the support of a large bank behind it, Credit Strong is able to provide “loans” to people all across the country. These “loans” are meant to help customers with bad credit scores be able to build up their payment history so they can have a better credit score. Along with this, they are an FDIC insured company, meaning that your money and your financial information is extremely secure with Credit Strong. 

Overall, Credit Strong is a very interesting and innovative company that has a great solution to this Catch-22 of credit building we discussed earlier. Let’s take a look at what exactly Credit Strong offers. 

What Does Credit Strong Offer? 

Credit Strong offers something they like to call a “credit builder loan.” Credit Strong claims that paying back these “loans” is a great way to build your credit score up, especially if you have a bad credit score. 

However, Credit Strong is not your typical loan provider. In fact, the loans that Credit Strong offers are really not even loans in the first place. This can be confusing and slightly misleading, but we will clear the air for you. 

Credit Strong offers a loan that helps to build your credit score, but doesn’t exactly provide you with money like a typical loan does. Instead, a “loan” is deposited into a savings account for you and you make “payments” on this loan by depositing money into the savings account. Once this “loan” is paid off, the money you have put into that savings account is given back to you. 

Still confused? Keep reading and we will dive into this further. 

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How Does Credit Strong’s Credit Builder Loan Work?

Credit Strong has a variety of loans that vary in loan amount and in loan term. Loans like “subscribe 1,000” and “subscribe 2,000” are loans worth $1,000 and $2,000 respectively, and can last up to 10 years. Loans like “build and save” 1,000 and 2,000 last for 2 years. The “Magnum” 5,000 and 10,000 loans are worth $5,000 and $10,000 and can last up to 10 years. The loan you get will end up determining your monthly payment as well as how much it impacts your credit score. 

When you first open a credit strong account and apply for a credit builder loan, Credit Strong does not check your credit. This means that you can get their loan even with poor credit, and that your credit score won’t drop because of a hard inquiry. 

Once your loan application is approved, Credit Strong deposits your loan amount into a savings account. This savings account is then locked and you cannot access your loan amount. Like a typical savings account, this savings account earns a fixed interest rate. Credit Strong’s savings account interest rate is .01%, which is fairly low. 

Every month, you make a loan payment which includes your principal payment along with interest. The principal payment is deposited into the savings account while Credit Strong gets the interest payment (this is how they make money). Credit Strong then reports this successful payment to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This helps to build your payment history, which improves your overall credit score after some time. 

After you have completely paid off your loan, the amount in the previously locked savings account is released (along with the interest you earned on the savings account). You can then decide to leave your money in this savings account with Credit Strong, or you can transfer the funds to a different account. 

How Much Will Credit Strong Improve My Credit Score

With Credit Strong, your payment history (which makes up 35% of your total credit score) is improved with every payment you make. With a Credit Strong credit builder loan, your credit score is almost sure to increase. However, the amount your credit score increases is up to a few different things. 

First, the amount your credit score increases depends on your current credit situation. If you have 10 years of bad credit habits on your account, your score may not increase as much as if you only have a few mistakes on your credit report. 

Second, the extent to which your score increases from a Credit Strong long depends on which loan you get with Credit Strong. If you get a “build and save 1,000” loan with Credit Strong that is paid off in 2 years, you will not magically have an excellent credit score. For example, your credit score will not increase as much as a “Magnum 10,000” loan that is much bigger and takes 10 years worth of payments to pay off. 

While there is no way to know exactly how much your score will increase with a Credit Strong credit builder loan, you can know that it will only help your credit score as long as you consistently make payments. 

Pros and Cons of Credit Strong

We now understand what Credit Strong is and what they can offer you, but should you get a Credit Strong credit builder loan? Let’s look at the pros and cons of one of the seloans so you can make an informed decision yourself! 

Pros

  • Provides a free FICO score every month:  With each credit bureau, you can only check your credit rating once a year for free. However, Credit Strong has partnered with TransUnion and claims to be able to offer you a free check of your FICO credit score once a month. This is a great tool that can help you to know your current financial standing at any point and whether your Credit Strong loan is helping to increase your score. This is an awesome feature that few other companies provide. 
  • Can build a long payment history: With other companies like Credit Strong, the loan amounts you get are very small and are paid back relatively quickly. While these help to build your payment history, loans with Credit Strong are larger and are paid back over a longer period of time. This helps to build your credit score much more than smaller loans. While this is equal parts a disadvantage (which we will look at), it is something that differentiates Credit Strong from its competitors. 
  • No credit check: Most of the time, a lender or credit card provider checks your credit score and your credit history anytime you apply for one of their products. If you have a bad credit score, this can make it difficult to get any of these loans. Credit Strong on the other hand does not check your credit score when you apply for a loan. This means that you can get their loan whatever your current credit situation is. 
  • No termination fees: Many lenders and even companies similar to Credit Strong will charge you if you want to end your loan early. These fees can be expensive and can really hurt to pay. If at any time you are unsatisfied with Credit Strong’s product or you need the money that is in the savings account, you can terminate your credit builder loan at no cost and at no penalty to your credit score. This really lowers the risk for you and can give you peace of mind when applying for the loan with Credit Strong. 
  • Secure: Many fintech apps that provide services like loans and online banking do not have the support of established financial institutions like banks. This can make putting your money with them slightly risky, as there is a risk you could lose all of your money. This is not the case with Credit Strong. Because they are backed by a bank and are FDIC insured, you know that your money is safe with Credit Strong.

Cons

  • Large loan amounts: The minimum credit builder loan you can get with Credit Strong is $1,000. Knowing how Credit Strong’s loans work, you might be able to see how it could be hard to pay an $1,000 loan off without ever getting the actual loan. Especially if you are strapped for cash and are living paycheck to paycheck, adding another payment to your slate may not be feasible. Other apps like Self offer smaller loans that are much more manageable than Credit Strong’s larger loans.
  • Not a loan solution: If you want to build your credit score but are also in need of cash, Credit Strong’s loan is not for you. As we’ve shown, their loans aren’t really loans in the first place. You don’t actually get any money into your bank account when you get approved for a loan. Instead, you don’t get your money back until you’ve paid off your “loan”, which can be up to 10 years depending on the loan you get. If you are in need of a loan for extra cash, Credit Strong’s loans do not provide you with a solution. 
  • Expensive: While most loans for people with poor credit scores are relatively more expensive than typical loans, they are usually for smaller loan amounts. Credit Strong’s loans are much larger than these smaller loans yet are still expensive. For example, their “subscribe 1000” loan has a 13.50% interest rate over 10 years. Yikes! Likewise, many of these loans have administrative fees as well. Overall, these loans are expensive for loans that don’t even give you money!

Best Credit Strong Alternative: Possible Finance

Here at Possible Finance, we have a product that combines some of the best aspects of Credit Strong’s product while doing away with many of its negative aspects. Similar to Credit Strong, we call our product the credit builder loan

Our loans are for $500 and less, and no credit check is done when we look at your loan application. This means that whatever your credit score is, you can get one of our loans to help you build credit history. 

Compared to payday loans of the similar size that require you to pay back your expensive loan in one week, our loans are installment loans. This means that you pay our loans back over the course of 4 payments. If you are struggling with one of your payments, you can extend your payment up to 29 days right within the app. 

As you make payments, we report to Experian and TransUnion. This means that with every successful payment, your credit history is further built. Over time, this helps to increase your credit score. 

Here at Possible, we know that credit is a Catch-22, and we know that companies like Credit Strong sometimes do not have what it takes to meet your needs. We created a product that is both beneficial for our customers and helps to build value for them as well. 

Interested in getting a loan with Possible? Download our app today 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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