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 your credit.
Best Overall Debit Card
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.
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 at the Extra rewards store.
Fortunately, the Extra store has excellent redemption options. These includes everything from Apple Airpods to Beauty products in the legendary Extra Rewards store.
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?
Extra offers an affordable annual plan:
Even though this cost can add up, improving your credit score could be well worth the new line item in your budget.
Learn more: Extra Debit Card Review
- No credit check
- Earn 1% rewards
- No security deposit
- Doesn’t report to TransUnion
- Restricted reward redemption options
Best Debit Card For All Ages
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.
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.
- Reports to credit bureaus
- No credit check
- Credit increases available
- Transfer fees
- Interest charges
Related article: 10 Best Apps Like Grain
Best Debit Card For Women
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.
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 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.
- Designed for women
- Reports to credit bureaus
- No monthly fee
- Rewards and perks
- Waitlist to join
- Deposit required
4. Sesame Cash
Best Debit Card With Free Option
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.
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.
- Cash back on purchases
- Free to use
- Rewards for improving credit
- Reports to credit bureaus
- Upfront deposit required
- Need a Credit Builder account
Learn more: Sesame Cash Review
The Zoro Card is a debit card that can help you improve your credit.
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.
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.
- No credit required
- Instant approval
- Reports to credit bureaus
- Deposit required
- Limited access
Chime is a banking fintech that offers a checking account, a debit card, and a Credit Builder account.
The Chime Credit Builder account is attached to your Chime checking account. The account comes with a secured card that you can choose the limit for.
The limit is based on how much money you’ve chosen to put in your Credit Builder account.
The Credit Builder account functions as a secured credit card is different from traditional secured credit cards because:
- There’s no credit check when you apply
- The Chime app shows you how much you have available to spend
- There are no annual fees
- You won’t pay interest
- There’s no minimum deposit amount for the account
You can put as little as you want in your Credit Builder account. Then use the Credit Builder card to spend money on things you’d normally buy such as groceries.
At the end of the month you can pay your Credit Builder card off. Your payments are reported to credit bureaus.
On-time payments help you build credit.
How Much Does Chime Cost?
Chime doesn’t charge anything for its Credit Builder account. It’s free. However, you will pay a fee when you use out-of-network ATMs.
That being said, Chime does offer more than 60,000 in-network ATMs to choose from. See our full Chime review here.
- No annual or monthly fee
- Choose your deposit amount
- No credit check
7. Sable ONE Secured Card
The Sable ONE secured card is also a secured credit card that partners with the Sable free checking account.
Sable offers a checking account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement.
And you can get a free Sable debit card and a free Credit Builder card as well.
You choose the limit for your Credit Builder card, and the funds are transferred from your Sable checking account.
As you use and pay the card off each month, your activity is reported to major credit bureaus.
There is no credit check done when you apply for your Sable ONE Mastercard.
Bonus: Sable pays cash back rewards on purchases made with the card.
How Much Does Sable ONE Cost?
There are no annual or monthly fees for Sable ONE, or for the banking account or debit card.
You will pay interest on unpaid balances that carry over from month to month.
See our full Sable review here.
- No monthly fees
- Zero minimum balance requirement
- No minimum deposit for secured card
- No credit check performed
- Interest accrues on unpaid balances
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.