The Self Visa® is a unique card for building credit, as it lets you build credit through two accounts instead of one. First, you open a Self credit builder account and get an installment loan. After 3 months and meeting the minimal requirements, you can automatically qualify for a Self Visa®.
As the credit card doesnt require a credit check and offers credit building on two fronts, it’s a good option for new borrowers or credit repairers. However, beware of its annual fee, high APR, and limited functionality.
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The Self Visa® card is an interesting secured credit card for credit building. Instead of requiring you to put down a cash deposit, you first apply for a Self credit builder account. This is an installment loan that you make payments on for 3 months to build your credit and become eligible for the Self Visa® credit card.
As you make payments towards the loan, you gain access to the money you’ve already paid. To get the Self Visa®, you then assign a minimum of $100 from the loan account as your security deposit. Your credit limit will be equal to your designated deposit. The security deposit is refundable, meaning it will be returned to you when you close your account if your balance is paid in full.
This Self Visa® helps you build credit in a few ways. First, your account information is reported to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. Second, because you have both an installment loan and a revolving credit account (i.e., a credit card), you can build credit more quickly. This is because having a diverse blend of accounts benefits your credit mix, one of the factors that affect your credit score.
Because of its impressive credit-building or rebuilding potential, the Self Visa® is among our recommended secured credit cards.
Self Visa® Credit Card Important Details
Basic Card Details
- Purchase APR: 23.99% (variable)
- Annual fee: $25
- Credit card issuer: Lead Bank or SouthState Bank, N.A.
- Initial credit limit: $100
- Minimum security deposit: $100 in savings progress
- Opportunities to increase the credit limit over time
- Your card can be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted in the U.S.
- No credit check required to qualify
- Your secured card can become “partially unsecured” with responsible use
Self Visa® Credit Card Feature Breakdown
Let’s look at some of the key features of the Self Visa® card.
- Annual fee: $25
- Late payment fee: None for the first late payment, then up to $15
- Returned payment fee: Up to $15
- Administrative fee: $9
The annual fee for the Self Visa® is lower than the fee for many other secured cards. However, the fees charged on the Self Visa® are still among its downsides. While cards for no credit and cards for bad credit tend to have fees, there are ones available without, so consider other options if you’re determined not to pay credit card fees.
- Purchase APR: 23.99% (variable)
- Cash advance APR: N/A
- Balance transfer APR: N/A
- Penalty APR: None
The interest rate for the Self Visa® card is comparatively high. Additionally, it doesn’t offer an introductory APR. Beware that if you plan to regularly carry a balance, the high APR may lead to steep interest charges.
Getting a Self Visa®
In order to apply for the Self Visa® credit card, you must first open a Self credit builder account. This account is an installment loan to help you build credit.
To be eligible for the Self Visa®, you must:
- Make 3 monthly payments towards your builder loan on time
- Have $100 or more in “savings progress” (the amount you’ve paid towards the loan)
- Ensure your account is in good standing
Once you meet these qualifications, you choose what portion of your savings progress ($100 or more) that you want to use to secure your card and set your credit limit, then you can submit your card request.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically qualify for the credit card. Notably, no credit check is required which means you won’t get a hard inquiry on your credit report. Hard inquiries can damage your credit score, so it’s good to avoid them when possible.
The Self Visa® card does not allow cash advances. Cash advances are when you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM. If you require this functionality from a credit card, consider a different borrowing option.
Balance transfers are performed to consolidate debt onto a low-interest credit card. As balance transfers aren’t allowed and the APR is high, the Self Visa® card is not a contender if you need a balance transfer credit card.
Self reports monthly to TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, which are the major credit bureaus.
As your activity for both the installment loan and the credit card are reported, you can build credit faster. Credit reporting is a major part of the credit building process, as this is the information used to update your credit score.
Credit Score Required
This Self Visa® is designed for people whose credit is bad, limited, or non-existent as a tool to help improve that credit. There is no credit check when you apply, meaning your credit score will not factor into your qualification for the Self Visa®.
Should You Get the Self Visa® Credit Card?
The Self Visa® card is a decent starter credit card for people who have no credit or poor credit and are ready to build or rebuild their borrowing history. This card is specifically designed to help you build credit fast by opening two accounts, and won’t factor your credit score into the application process.
However, the card has limited functionality, requires you to get a loan to open the card, and has high interest rates. So it’s not an option for everyone.
Who is this card for?
- People with no credit history: The Self Visa® card is a good card for starting out your credit-building journey. It allows you to build credit quickly and won’t damage your credit score (i.e., through a hard inquiry) in the process. However, you have to make on-time payments on both your loan and your credit card or you risk damaging your credit.
- Self customers: If you already have a Self credit builder account, then you’ll automatically be eligible for the card when you make at least 3 months of on-time payments and have at least $100 in your account to use as your security deposit.
Check out how the Self Visa® compares to other credit cards designed to help you build credit.
Self Visa® Credit Card vs. Citi® Secured Mastercard®
In its favor, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® offers a lower interest rate of 23.99% (variable) and doesn’t charge an annual fee.
However you will need to pay a cash security deposit of $200–$2500 that will be equal to your credit limit. If you can qualify for the Citi® Secured Mastercard® and have the money to pay the security deposit, it may be the better choice based on the fees and interest. It also can be used for cash advances, balance transfers, and to make purchases outside of the United States (although fees will apply).
Self Visa® Credit Card vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card
The Discover it® Secured card has several advantages as a credit-building credit card:
- It has a slightly lower APR of 24.49% (variable)
- There is no annual fee
- You earn cashback rewards of 2% at gas stations and restaurants, and 1% for all other purchases
- You can upgrade to an unsecured card and get your deposit back if you have made all payments on time for the last six consecutive billing cycles.
Because of these features, the Discover it® Secured card is a better option overall. While the card is advertised as available to borrowers with poor credit and limited credit, a credit check will be performed so there’s a chance you won’t qualify.
Self Visa® Credit Card vs. BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
The BankAmericard® Secured card has some notable advantages over the Self Visa®. The interest rate is slightly lower at 22.99% (variable). There is no annual fee. And you can qualify to upgrade to an unsecured card and get your deposit of $300-$4900 returned to you.
Because of the upgrade route, the BankAmericard® Secured is a better long-term credit card.