Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services, credit, and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

Chime Credit-Building Myths: Busted

On the fence about opening a credit card? You’re not alone. Many Americans are worried about high interest rates, fees, and potentially taking on debt.

But some credit cards are designed to help you build credit, safely.

Take the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card.¹ Chime designed this secured credit card to help members establish a credit history and improve their credit scores.

And it works: With responsible usage and on-time payments, members see an average 30-point increase in their credit scores.²

Still not convinced? Let’s bust some of the biggest credit-building myths out there – and see how Chime Credit Builder can take the stress out of credit.

Is debit safer than credit?

If you’re a long-time debit card user, you might be concerned about using a credit card – and that makes sense.

Some credit cards with high spending limits can make it tempting to spend more money than you should and slip into debt. At the end of 2022, Americans collectively shared $930.6 billion in credit card debt.³

Debit cards, on the other hand, only allow you to spend money you already have in your Checking account. There is often no debt risk (unless your bank allows overdrafts on debit and you don’t pay it back). The tradeoff? Debit cards don’t allow you to build credit.

But what if you use Chime Credit Builder?

Chime Credit Builder is a safe way to build credit

Chime Credit Builder is a secured credit card that reduces the risk of overspending. With Credit Builder, the amount you move into your Credit Builder secured account from your Chime Checking Account is the amount you spend – you’re in control!

With the Safer Credit Building feature, the money you previously added can automatically pay your monthly balance – and after some time, you should see an improvement in your credit scores.4

And for all you debit card stans out there, you can even use your Chime credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM, just like a debit card. As long as you make the withdrawal at one of Chime’s 60,000+ fee-free ATMs, there are no fees or interest charges.5

Ready to build credit safely? Here’s how to sign up for Chime Credit Builder.

Can I only use Credit Builder for certain purchases?

Committing to a credit card is a big deal. You should find one that you can use responsibly at all the places you love (and need) to spend money.

But some people think they can only use secured credit cards, such as the Chime Credit Builder card, at certain places. Is it true?

And should you use a credit card when you’re making a big purchase, and are worried about paying it back?

You can use Credit Builder wherever Visa® is accepted, for whatever you like

We might call our card the Credit Builder conversationally, but its full name is the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card – and that’s important.

Because we’ve partnered with the Visa payment network, you can swipe your credit card – or use it digitally – at any merchants that accept Visa credit cards.

Visa is one of the world’s most widely accepted payment networks. You can use Visa cards in more than 200 countries and territories at more than 80 million merchant locations.6

Plus, if you think credit cards shouldn’t be used for large purchases, rest easy. Since you are using your own money and determining your spending limit, you don’t have to worry about not being able to pay it back at the end of the month.

Planning a trip overseas soon? Chime doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees when you swipe your Credit Builder card abroad.

Can using Credit Builder too often hurt my credit score?

If you’ve been brushing up on how to improve your credit score, you probably know that credit utilization – how much of your available credit you actually use – is one of the factors that the credit bureaus consider when calculating your score.

That would seem to mean that the more you swipe your credit card, the higher your credit utilization will climb and the lower your credit score will drop.

Does that apply to the Chime Credit Builder credit card?

You can use your Credit Builder card as much as you’d like without impacting credit utilization

Traditional unsecured credit cards have preset credit limits, and most secured credit cards only let you spend up to the value of your initial security deposit.

The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is different. There’s no preset limit. You can add as much or as little money as you’d like to your Credit Builder account.

That means Chime doesn’t report on credit utilization to the credit bureaus, no matter how much you spend. 

Remember, on-time payments are one of the key factors of healthy credit. If you’ve turned on the optional Safer Credit Building, which automatically pays off the card with the funds you’ve deposited in the account, you don’t have to worry about missing a payment each month.

Find out how credit reporting works with Chime Credit Builder.

What if my credit score is too low for a credit card?

Starting your credit journey can be hard. Lenders want you to have a good credit score before they approve you for a credit card, but a credit card is helpful for improving your credit score.

Catch-22, huh? Borrowers with bad credit or no credit may feel discouraged. Can they qualify for a credit card, or is it not worth their time?

Chime doesn’t run a credit check when you apply for Credit Builder, so borrowers with poor credit – or no credit – can apply

It may be more challenging for borrowers with a bad credit score or no credit history at all to get approved for traditional unsecured credit cards, but many secured credit cards, like Chime Credit Builder, are designed to help you establish credit history and improve your scores.

That’s why Chime doesn’t run a credit check when you apply.

And to help out members who are new to credit or who have had negative experiences in the past, we keep things easy: no annual fees, no interest5, and no minimum security deposit required.7

Can I have a balance on my Credit Builder card?

You might’ve heard of people carrying high outstanding balances on credit cards who are unable to pay off the debt.

But what about with secured credit cards like Chime Credit Builder?

Chime makes it easy to pay off your Credit Builder balance

With Credit Builder, you can only spend up to the amount already moved into your account. You control the spending limit on your credit card!

Each month, the money you already added to the secured account can be used to pay off the card – taking your unpaid balance down to $0. If you enable Safer Credit Building, this payment will happen automatically.

Then you can simply move more money into the Credit Builder account and start spending again. You can even opt into Move My Pay so that a portion of your direct deposit paycheck automatically goes into your Credit Builder account every payday, which is the easiest way to keep Credit Builder funded.

Can I talk to a real person at Chime if I need help?

If you’re used to the familiarity of your neighborhood bank, where you can chat with a teller whenever you have a question, you might be intimidated by the thought of an online-only financial technology company.

Will you get the same level of customer service if everything’s digital?

Chime is available around the clock to help you out

If you have questions about any Chime product – Credit Builder, the Chime Checking Account, or the Chime Savings Accounta real human is here to help 24/7.

Wondering how to contact Chime customer service? You can chat with us in the app, give us a call, or shoot us an email, no matter what time it is.

A new way to build credit

The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card isn’t like traditional credit cards, and it’s even different from other secured credit cards.

With the built-in tools, cardholders can use Credit Builder to improve their credit scores, shop wherever Visa is accepted, and even take out money at an ATM.

Ready to improve your credit scores? Set up a qualifying direct deposit with Chime to apply for Credit Builder and start building credit – with your own money!¹

Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card and the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card are issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your Card for its issuing bank.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Chime. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third party websites, as Chime is not responsible for those third parties' privacy or security practices.

Third-party trademarks referenced for informational purposes only; no endorsements implied.

‡ SpotMe® for Credit Builder is an optional, no interest/no fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no fee service attached to your Chime Checking Account (individually or collectively, “SpotMe”). Eligibility for SpotMe requires $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account each month.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A. (“Banks”). Banks are not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

1 To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your 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.

2 Based on a representative study conducted by Experian®, members who made their first purchase with Credit Builder between June 2020 and October 2020 observed an average FICO® Score 8 increase of 30 points after approximately 8 months. On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score.

3 Information from CNBC’s “U.S. credit card debt jumps 18.5% and hits a record $930.6 billion” as of Feb. 3, 2023:
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/03/us-credit-card-debt-jumps-18point5percent-and-hits-a-record-930point6-billion-.html

4 On-time payment history can 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.

5 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

6 Information from “Visa Fact Sheet” as of Feb. 3, 2023: https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/global/about-visa/documents/aboutvisafactsheet.pdf

7 Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder 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.

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