What can you do if you want to start building credit but only use cash or debit cards for shopping?
Conventional debit cards do not contribute to your credit record or rating. However, there are fully equipped debit cards that can assist you in obtaining a solid credit score. These companies link their debit cards to your bank account and charge your spending as credit while withdrawing money from your bank account to pay for them.
It enables you to keep controlling your financial affairs with only funds in your bank account while attempting to build credit.
In this article, we look at the top debit cards that build credit.
Best Prepaid Cards That Build Credit in 2022
Extra (Best overall)
Extra was the market's first credit-building debit card, established in 2020. Cardholders use Extra to make a purchase, and Extra reimburses the merchant at transaction time. Then Extra connects to your bank account and withdraws funds for the purchase.
How does Extra build credit history?
Extra reports your card transactions to two credit bureaus, Equifax and Experian, at the month's end. In this way, the Extra Card improves your credit score by reporting cardholder payments to the two credit bureaus.
As the card payment gets paid daily, your credit utilization ratio resets regularly. A low utilization ratio is also beneficial to your credit score. When you pay off your balance daily, the Extra Card has no APR or interest.
Pros & Cons
The Sequin card assists women in building credit. You may sign up by connecting your checking account to the card. A refundable cash security deposit is required, and the spending limit gets set. Sequin pays for purchases and reimburses itself using funds from your linked account.
There are no hidden costs, no interest charges, and no credit checks. They return your security deposit if you close your account. Anyone, not just women, can apply.
How does Sequin build credit history?
Sequin sends your payment history to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at the month's end. Sequin reports as an open-ended loan, not a credit card, so your credit score contains no credit utilization rate. Sequin's mission is to assist women in establishing credit and achieving credit scores high enough to qualify for unsecured credit cards.
Pros & Cons
The Zoro card is brand new, and their Visa-backed card is currently in early release with a long waiting list.
After approval, you must link your Zoro Visa card to your checking account. Zoro assesses purchases and establishes spending limits based on cash flow. You can begin using it immediately; there is no need to wait for the physical card.
Zoro pays for all purchases and reimburses from your linked checking account. You can link multiple checking accounts. The Zoro card has a $3 monthly fee.
How does Zoro build credit history?
They total your payment history each month and send it to all three credit bureaus. Zoro reports as a loan, not a credit card. Zoro does not conduct credit checks, and you may qualify even if you have bad credit.
You can view your account to see your spending limit, funds used, balance, and even your checking account balance.
Pros & Cons
Grain (alternative to credit card)
Grain differs slightly from the other cards. Rather than issuing a physical card linked to your checking account, Grain enables you to use your existing debit card. Grain currently supports over 10,000 banks across the country.
Grain issues a credit line based on income and spending habits. This credit line gets transferred to your checking account as cash. As you pay back Grain the advance you received, you can use your debit card.
There is no monthly fee; however, they charge interest on cash advances. You can save money by using their auto-payment feature. Their current interest rate begins at 15%. If you have poor credit and don't qualify, they offer a secured credit line with a cash security deposit.
How does Grain build credit history?
Grain reports to the Credit Bureaus like a credit card. They report everything from payment history to current balance, credit limit and account status. Grain also increases your credit line after your account has been open for six months or more.
The risk of a high utilization rate and possible credit damage on a late payment are two potential drawbacks to your credit.
Pros & Cons
Using a debit card as credit instead of debit has no effect on your credit history or score.
Even if you use a debit card for credit purchases, it is still a debit card. Only credit lines can show up on your credit report or impact your credit score.
When you use a debit card to make a purchase, it only changes how the vendor processes the transaction. Although using credit need not affect your credit score, it can be inconvenient for the vendor, who will have to pay the necessary processing fee. Therefore, some vendors provide customer discounts.
Only when a purchase gets done with a legitimate credit card will it affect your credit score, which could be positive or negative based on your credit history.
No, even if you process a purchase as credit, using a traditional debit card will not help you build credit. Even though many debit cards can be used like a Visa or Mastercard credit card, they are not credit lines.
That’s why so many new lenders, like the ones we reviewed, have focused on new and innovative, credit-building debit cards.
With a traditional debit card, the purchases made are deducted from money that you already own. Put another way, if funds are in your debit card, whether you borrowed that money or not, it is not treated as borrowed because it comes from your checking account.
In order to build credit, you need to use money that was borrowed from an accredited lender. In this model, the lender reports to the Credit Bureaus that you borrowed a specific amount of funds, either as a loan or a credit card, and then reports when you pay that money back. It is the reporting of this borrowing and paying back that builds your credit.
It's a reprieve when debit cards are able to build credit for people who do not have access to a credit card. You can start building your credit history with these cards so that when you apply for a mortgage or loan, you get the best rate possible.
Aside from the debit card and credit building feature, there are pros and cons to the top cards listed here. It is up to the user to decide what they need. It doesn't matter whether you choose the cards that require a security deposit or the cards that offer options but have interest and fees. Only one that suits your needs.
Related: Best Credit builder loans