A good credit score is a useful tool for your personal finances that can unlock substantial savings when financing big purchases. For most people, credit cards are the main way they build or improve their scores.
But what if you don’t want to risk the temptation of a credit card? The good news is that there are now debit cards specifically designed to help you build credit.
If you want to improve your credit without the risks of a credit card, we’ve found the best debit cards to build credit.
Top Debit Cards to Build Credit
A debit card that can help you build credit is a relatively unique find. To streamline your research process, we’ve scoured the market for the top products that will show up on your credit report.
Each of the cards below offers a streamlined way to build your credit history while using a debit card. Plus, they come without the risk of a traditional credit card.
In alphabetical order, here’s a look at the best debit cards to build credit.
Unlike a traditional debit card, the Extra Debit Card allows you to improve your credit history by spending your own money that’s already in your bank account.
How Does Extra Work?
This platform regularly reports your payments to two of the three major credit bureaus. While it reports to Experian and Equifax, the service won’t report your payments to TransUnion. This differs from a regular credit card issuer.
When working with the Extra Debit Card, you won’t need to sign up for a separate bank account. Instead, the service connects to your existing financial institution. There are over 10,000 banks that are compatible with the platform.
As you spend your funds, Extra covers the cost. The next day, you’ll automatically pay Extra back.
These on-time payments will build a positive credit history. Since payment history represents 35% of your FICO score, having a record of on-time payments will push your score in the right direction.
As you build your credit, you’ll also earn points on your spending. Extra offers 1% in points on your purchases. However, these points can only be redeemed without the Extra store.
Fortunately, the Extra store has excellent redemption options. These include gift cards and Apple AirPods.
A few other perks you’ll enjoy with Extra include fraud protection and accessible customer service. Better yet, there’s no security deposit or minimum credit score required to sign up.
How Much Does Extra Cost?
While Extra offers a worthwhile service, it’s not free. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll pay between $8 to $12 per month. Paying for a full year upfront earns you 25% off.
Even though this cost can add up, improving your credit score could be well worth the new line item in your budget.
This specialized credit building service has earned mostly positive feedback on the Apple App Store and Trustpilot. With over 3,000 reviews, most customers report seeing an increase in their credit score.
Does Extra Have a Mobile App?
Currently, Extra offers an app for iOS devices. Android users can sign up for an open beta to try an app that is in development.
Want to learn more? Check out our full review of Extra.
- No credit check
- Earn 1% rewards
- No security deposit
- Doesn’t report to TransUnion
- Monthly fee
- Restricted reward redemption options
Grain offers a credit building option through your debit card spending. The product is a virtual credit card that allows you to better your credit score without switching to a new checking account.
How Does Grain Work?
This virtual credit card operates similarly to a cash advance. When you start working with Grain, you’ll need to transfer a portion of your credit limit into your linked checking account.
Once you start spending the funds using your virtual credit card, you’ll receive a monthly statement of your spending.
At the very least, you’ll need to make the minimum payment by the deadline. Otherwise, to avoid interest charges, you’ll need to pay the entire balance.
If you are nervous about missing a payment, Grain has an auto-pay solution.
Similar to normal credit cards, Grain will report your payment information to all three major credit bureaus each month. If you make on-time payments, this reporting should improve your credit score and show up positively on your credit report.
Every six months, Grain will evaluate your account for a credit line increase. If you receive a credit line increase, it could help improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization rate.
How Much Does Grain Cost?
Grain might be a solution for credit building while spending from your debit card. However, there are some fees involved.
First, you’ll encounter a transfer fee. A 1% fee is charged each time you transfer funds from your line of credit to your bank account. There is an instant transfer option, but the fee is 1.5%.
Next, you’ll potentially face interest charges. If you make on-time monthly payments for the complete balance, you won’t need to worry about interest. But, if you don’t pay off the entire balance by the due date, you’ll face interest charges.
The feedback from customers using Grain is mixed. Although the service earned high scores in the Apple App Store, it scored much lower in terms of Better Business Bureau ratings.
Does Grain Have a Mobile App?
Grain currently offers an app to iOS users. No app is available to those with Android devices.
- Reports to credit bureaus
- No credit check
- Credit increases available
- Transfer fees
- Interest charges
The Sequin Card is specifically designed with women in mind. Women can use this card to get a better credit score while making debit card purchases.
That said, Sequin Card does note that all genders are welcome.
How Does Sequin Work?
Unlike some of the other options on this list, the Sequin Card may require a change in your checking account. While a regular security deposit isn’t mandated, you’ll need to have a deposit account through Evolve Bank and Trust to use the card.
Similar to a credit card issuer, this service will front your funds. But, unlike a normal credit card, it will withdraw the same exact amount of money from your bank account the same day. This builds a record of on-time payments.
The service adds up all of your transactions at the end of the month. Then, Sequin will report your payments to Equifax to help build your credit history.
Importantly, it only reports your payment history. With that, you’ll have a positive payment history on your credit report. Credit utilization won’t be noted.
As you use Sequin Card, you won’t face any monthly fees or interest charges. Plus, you won’t need to agree to a credit check.
If you move forward with Sequin, you’ll enjoy a 1% cash back reward on every dollar spent on the card. Plus, you’ll be able to access other perks and discounts.
These additional benefits include:
- Access to credit events and workshops
- A $25 cash credit on Pink Tax categories
- Discounts on women-focused brands
It’s important to note that, as of May 2022, the Sequin Card requires you to sign up for a waitlist. There is no information on how long it may take to get access to the card.
How Much Does Sequin Cost?
Sequin’s website lists an $89 membership fee to use the card. However, the company says that this membership fee is well worth the perks and benefits since the value of those exceeds the card’s cost.
While customer feedback is not available for this card, the rewards seem promising.
Does Sequin Have a Mobile App?
While Sequin doesn’t specify the devices its mobile app works on, it does show images of a mobile app on its website.
- Designed for women
- Reports to credit bureaus
- No monthly fee
- Rewards and perks
- Waitlist to join
- Deposit required
4. Sesame Cash
Sesame Cash is a credit building opportunity provided by Credit Sesame. It’s a digital debit account with a Credit Builder feature built right in.
How Does Sesame Cash Work?
To get the card, you must start by opening a Sesame Cash account. Even without the credit building feature, this FDIC-insured account has plenty of features that make it worthwhile.
A few benefits include:
- No minimum balance requirement
- Zero monthly maintenance fees
- No foreign transaction fees
- Cash back on your purchases
The Credit Builder perk is one of the many features that the Sesame Cash account offers. To start building credit, you’ll need to request a Credit Builder account. Then, you’ll set aside a certain amount of money for credit building purposes.
Basically, you can think of these funds as a security that determines your credit limit.
From there, all you have to do is use your Sesame Cash debit card. As you make purchases, Sesame Credit Builder will report those transactions as on-time payments that show up on your credit report and improve your credit history.
Not only is this credit building option free, but you can actually earn money for working with Credit Sesame. If your credit score increases by 100 points in a 30-day cycle, you’ll receive $100.
How Much Does Sesame Cash Cost?
Sesame Cash offers a free way to help you when you are building credit. That said, you’ll need to have some funds to set aside as a sort of security deposit before you can get started.
As a company, Credit Sesame has excellent reviews on the Apple App Store and Google Play. It scored slightly lower according to Better Business Bureau ratings, and its Trustpilot score was average.
Does Sesame Cash Have a Mobile App?
Credit Sesame offers apps for both Android and iOS users.
Want to learn more? Check out our full review of Sesame Cash.
- Cash back on purchases
- Free to use
- Rewards for improving credit
- Reports to credit bureaus
- Upfront deposit required
- Need a Credit Builder account
The Zoro Card is a debit card that can help you improve your credit.
How Does Zoro Work?
You can apply for a Zoro Card without checking your credit. If you are approved, you’ll need to make a deposit.
After receiving the card in the mail, you can start swiping. As you spend funds, the balance (and your credit line) will decrease. However, you can add more funds to the card to increase your credit limit.
Each time you swipe your Zoro Card, the company reports this as an on-time payment to the credit bureaus to improve your credit history.
Since you won’t be able to use it without making a deposit, you can avoid any temptation to go into debt.
Having this positive payment history on your credit report should help your credit score increase. With that, this card presents an interesting opportunity to anyone who is looking to improve their credit score.
To use this card, you’ll need a checking account through Hatch Bank. The process of depositing and spending funds will run through your Hatch Bank account and your associated Zoro Card.
As of May 2022, the Zoro Card requires you to submit your phone number for early access to the app. There is no information on how long it might take for the app to be widely available.
How Much Does Zoro Cost?
Zoro claims that you won’t experience the fees associated with traditional credit cards if you use their card. The company doesn’t provide any additional details about the cost to use its debit card.
Due to its limited availability, there’s a lack of customer feedback. The limited feedback on the Better Business Bureau website and the Apple App Store consists of average reviews with around 75 ratings total.
Does Zoro Have a Mobile App?
Currently, it appears Zoro only offers a mobile app for iOS devices.
- No credit required
- Instant approval
- Reports to credit bureaus
- Deposit required
- Limited access
If you are still on the fence about signing up for a debit card to get a better credit score, these answers to commonly asked questions can help you decide if this type of product is a good fit for you.
When using a debit card, there is no risk of going into debt. This is because your available funds typically determine your credit limit.
Without the higher credit line associated with most credit cards, you’ll need to stick to spending only money you have available in your checking account.
Plus, if you have a limited credit history, it can be hard to approved for a card from regular credit card companies. It’s much easier to get a debit card so you can improve your credit score.
The downside of using a debit card to improve your credit score is that not just any debit card will work. Most traditional debit cards won’t help you build credit.
Instead, you’ll need to use a debit card that is specifically designed to help you build credit. These cards will report your payments to the major credit bureaus.
It depends. If you want to build credit with a debit card, you’ll need the help of a specific card since a traditional debit card won’t report payments like credit cards do.
Debit cards that build credit will provide an opportunity to build credit while using their debit card.
Yes. Using a credit card to make purchases can help you build credit. However, it can also hurt your credit if you don’t use the card responsibly.
You’ll need to consistently make on-time payments and keep your balance to a minimum to build credit with a regular credit card.
Good credit is worth pursuing. For those who want to finance major purchases, good credit scores are a requirement. That said, an excellent credit score will help you save thousands over the loan term.
If you want to build or improve your credit, a credit-building debit card is a great solution. With the help of this spending tool, you can build credit by making everyday purchases since your payments are reported to the credit bureaus.
The best part is that you won’t need to face the risk of spiraling into credit card debt. This is a safe solution to help make sure your credit health is the best it can be.