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Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card: An exceptionally low barrier to building credit comes with limited value

Is this unconventional card worth the elevated accessibility? 

 /  14 min
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Snapshot

4.2

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

Bottom line

If you need time and flexibility to pay off your debt, this card may be an excellent fit.

Best for low-cost credit building
4.2
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
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No Credit History
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Recommended Credit

N/A

Rewards rate

Info

None

Annual fee

N/A

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Regular APR

The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card Overview

Traditional secured credit cards’ large security deposits, high rates and costly fees can be an intimidating barrier if you’re trying to establish or rebuild your credit. The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card is a relatively new spin on secured cards that has easier access by removing a minimum security deposit, many major credit card costs and any credit check altogether.

The Chime Credit Builder Visa’s features could make it much easier to improve your credit than with typical secured credit cards. However, Chime requires you to maintain a Chime Checking Account in addition to your linked banking account, secured deposit account and Credit Builder card. You won’t be able to earn rewards or upgrade to an unsecured card with Chime, either.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards, which is typical of secured credit cards.

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: $0
    • Purchase intro APR: N/A
    • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
    • Regular APR: N/A

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • No credit check
    • No minimum deposit required
    • SpotMe feature that allows overdraft protection
    • Reports to three major credit bureaus

    Expert Appraisal: Good 
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Automatic paycheck notification
    • Visa traditional card benefits
    • Visa Zero Liability

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Poses fewer card costs than almost any credit-building card

  • Checkmark

    Applying doesn’t require a credit check — not even a soft credit pull

  • Checkmark

    Offers perhaps the highest potential credit limit among secured cards with its $10,000 maximum secured account balance

Cons

  • Requires a Chime Checking Account with at least one $200 direct deposit to apply for the card — which is equivalent to a standard security deposit

  • No opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card

  • May build credit more slowly for those with a positive credit utilization ratio since Chime doesn’t report credit utilization

How does the Chime Credit Builder card work?

The Chime Credit Builder card has more moving parts than traditional secured credit cards, so learning how it operates can help you decide whether the extra effort is worth the easier access to building credit.

Why you should get the Chime Credit Builder card

Traditional banks and card issuers typically conduct some kind of credit inquiry, usually a hard credit check (also known as a “hard pull”) and secured cards can often require a security deposit to gain a credit line, creating barriers to entry. Chime helps cardholders avoid both while maintaining strong credit-builder perks.

Rates & fees: A low-cost, low-entry credit card

As a popular neobank, Chime keeps applications quick and accessible by skipping the credit check process entirely. It also removes the usual lump sum security deposit for a secured account balance. Instead, your credit limit is the total balance you’ve deposited into the secured account, and since you can only spend the money you have, you’ll avoid an APR, late payment fee and over-the-limit penalties.

Credit-building features: Safeguards and accessibility

While this card doesn't report credit utilization, it does report to all the credit bureaus, and it's low on fees, including interest, so you won't accumulate increasing debt. In addition, the Chime Checking Account comes with a few benefits that could help you manage your card.

  • Automatic paycheck notification: One of Chime’s most advertised benefits is how it allows you to access your paycheck as soon as it’s made available.  You'll get a notification as soon as your paycheck is directly deposited into your Chime Checking Account.
  • SpotMe®: This feature is a form of overdraft protection for Chime Checking Account debit cards. If your account receives at least a $200 direct deposit that month, you’ll be able to overdraft up to $200 with no fees. However, your next deposit(s) go toward covering your negative balance. You can also send and receive up to four SpotMe $5 “Boosts” to and from friends in the Chime app to extend your overdraft limit that month.

Both of these perks can help you shore up your Credit Builder card’s limit in a pinch. Getting your paycheck up to two days early can beef up your credit limit for upcoming bills, and you can use SpotMe to pull cash in an emergency if you need to use your card for unexpected expenses.

However, though not reporting credit utilization has its advantages, it might take longer to improve your score if you have a good credit utilization ratio.

Perks: Protection benefits from Visa

Like most secured cards, the Chime Credit Builder doesn't carry an array of appealing perks. As a Visa Traditional credit card, this might offer some standard benefits:

  • 24/7 pay-per-use roadside dispatch assistance
  • Dovly Uplift™ credit management and report inaccuracy repair service access
  • Access and discounts to partner programs like Shipt deliveries, Sofar presale tickets, Preferred Hotels and Resorts bookings and more

Why you shouldn’t get the Chime Credit Builder card

The Chime Credit Builder Visa could be a remarkably accessible and low-cost solution if you’re trying to improve your credit and don’t have the resources for an upfront security deposit. But a straightforward secured card could be easier to manage and provide more long-term value, more hands-on card experience and a potentially faster credit-building process.

Rewards: Not much to offer

Unfortunately, the Chime Credit Builder Card doesn’t earn rewards. This feature might not be a deal-breaker since this Chime card is focused on simply making credit building more accessible to as many cardholders as possible. Many cards in its class don’t offer rewards, but more secured cards with rewards have launched in the past few years.

The Chime Credit Builder card also doesn’t carry a welcome offer, but neither do the majority of cards focused on building credit. In fact, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the rare exceptions by matching all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year with the card. 

Setup: High maintenance

The Chime Credit Builder Card requires that you have a Chime checking account, a secured account, the Chime Credit Builder Visa card and a linked external banking account if you aren’t using direct deposits. While there are features to help move your money from these different accounts efficiently, this can be a lot to manage for beginners. It can also feel tedious after a while. In that case, it may be better to look for a secured card that doesn’t require you to have other accounts.

How the Chime Credit Builder Visa compares to other secured cards

The Secured Chime Credit Builder Card offers a leg up to applicants that might not have easy entry to the traditional credit card market and paves a straightforward path to a higher credit score. However, a few standout starter cards can provide a more educational credit card experience, the ability to carry a balance and even remarkable rewards.

Image of Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chime's secure site

Annual fee

None

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of SuperCash™ Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on SuperCash's secure site

Annual fee

N/A

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

2% - 10%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
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Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info

Who is the Chime Credit Builder right for?

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Chime Credit Builder Visa card worth it?

Chime provides a much-needed credit-building opportunity for people traditional banks and secured cards don’t reach. There’s no credit check or minimum secured account balance required, so this card provides an exceptionally accessible path to help steadily improve credit without poor credit utilization or fees getting in your way.

However, the Chime Credit Builder card may take a bit more effort to manage than a typical secured card, since you need to regularly refill the accompanying deposit account to make purchases with the card. Plus, if you can take advantage of Chime's generous credit limit, it won't improve your credit score since credit utilization isn't reported. The Chime Credit Builder card is a wise pick if credit card fees or a credit check on other cards are an obstacle. Otherwise, a highly rated secured card may be a more rewarding and faster way to climb the credit score ranks.

*No Interest: Out of network ATM withdrawal fees and over the counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.
**No Minimum Security Deposit: Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.
-To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

*Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

**Safer Credit Building - On-time payment history may have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations. 

Frequently asked questions

Written by
India Davis
Editor, Credit Cards

India Davis is an editor specializing in credit cards and updates. She believes in putting the reader first and carrying out a brand’s voice to its fullest potential. She has lived and worked in three different countries and hopes to explore more of the world post-pandemic.

Edited by Editor II, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.