There are recent reports that Chime has been closing and freezing accounts without notifying its customers. We are monitoring the situation and will update this review as facts develop.
If you're a Chime customer who wants to build credit but avoid credit card debt, this might be a great card to consider. The card is structured unlike any other secured card and may take some getting used to. Once you understand how it works, it’s a great fit if you need a simple way to build credit.
The card is not a good fit for consumers who want to earn rewards or bonuses for new cardholders, as it doesn’t offer any rewards or bonuses.
How Does This Card Work?
Any Chime customer with at least one direct deposit of $200 to their Chime Spending account in the past 365 days is eligible. To use the card, you need to transfer money from a Chime Spending account into a secured account linked to your Chime Credit Builder card. You can send up to $10,000 to your Chime secured account.
Your secured account balance is your “credit limit.” Each time you make a purchase, Chime sets aside money from your secured account to cover the purchase and your available funds decrease.
The Chime Credit Builder card is a charge card, not a credit card. Charge cards require you to pay your balance in full each month, whereas credit cards allow you to carry a balance month to month.
When your bill is due, you can choose to pay the balance in full via manual payments from any bank account, or use Chime’s Safer Credit Building feature, which automatically pays your balance with the funds in your secured account.
If you fail to pay your balance by 5 p.m. Eastern time the next business day after your due date, Chime will put your account into default. If this happens, Chime will use funds from your secured account to pay the balance and may suspend your card account.
Compared to other secured credit cards, the Chime Credit Builder is unique because it does not charge an interest rate or any late fees. Its lack of rewards is a drawback, since leading secured cards such as the Discover it Secured offer cash back on purchases.
Chime Credit Builder Pros and Cons
Lack of fees
No credit check required
Relatively safe way to build credit
Reports to the three credit bureaus
Can't carry a balance
Doesn't offer rewards or a welcome bonus
Need to use with a Chime Spending Account
- Lack of fees: You won't pay any interest with this account and the only fee is a $2.50 charge for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, which is easy to avoid.
- No credit check required: This card may be easier to get if you don't have good credit, and you also won't see a temporary hit to your score from a credit inquiry.
- Relatively safe way to build credit: It’s easier to avoid debt with this card since you have a secured account you can use to pay off your entire balance.
- Reports to the three credit bureaus: Chime will report your payment information, amount past due, current balance, and account age to each of the three credit bureaus.
- Can't carry a balance: This card is meant for building credit, not for financing purchases.
- Doesn't offer rewards or a welcome bonus: If you're looking to earn rewards or earn a welcome bonus, you'll need to look elsewhere. There are a few secured cards with rewards, but not many.
- Need to use with a Chime Spending account: The Chime Credit Builder card is only available if you have a Chime Spending account.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
The Chime Credit Builder card will help you build credit safely simply because it’s a charge card. You have to pay off your balance each month, which means paying on time and paying your balance in full are mandatory. And because of that, your score should go up simply by using the card each month.
However, once you move beyond the Chime Credit Builder to unsecured cards, you likely won’t have the same protections. The typical credit card allows you to choose between making the minimum payment each month, paying off part of your balance, or paying it in full. Also, unsecured cards tend to charge a fee if you pay late.
So, to get the most out of the Chime Credit Builder, you’ll need to carry the habits it teaches you to other cards: Pay your balance in full each month and on time.
If you open a new card, consider keeping the Chime Credit Builder card open and using it from time to time. It'll help you establish a longer credit history which helps build your credit score, and since there's no annual fee, there's no cost involved.
Chime Credit Builder's Other Features
- Free premium metal card if you use your card to make 40 purchases within 60 days
You can reach Chime’s customer service by email or via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Chime uses industry-standard security protocols, such as two-factor and fingerprint authentication. If you ever lose your card or someone steals it, you can shut your card off in the app to prevent anyone from using it.
Chime Credit Builder's Fees
One of the best things about the Chime Credit Builder card is that it's virtually free to use. There are none of the common fees that other secured cards charge, such as annual fees, interest charges, or even late fees (since you can't pay late).