2023 Self Lender Review: Fees, Cost & Complaints

2023 Self Lender Review

It might be challenging to build credit so you can get those reduced interest rates.

Self (formerly Self Lender) is a business that seeks to assist consumers in establishing credit via credit builder loans. You may learn everything there is to know about Self Lender from this review.

How Does Self Work?

Through credit builder loans, Self assists its clients in raising their credit ratings. A credit builder loan is a specific kind of personal loan created to assist you in establishing a history of repaying debt rather than helping you pay for something you can’t afford.

When you are accepted for a credit builder loan, you do not immediately get the funds. The last payment must be made before you may get the money. It functions somewhat similarly to a forced savings scheme.

The procedure begins with applying, just as with any other loan. Self will need some basic information from you, like your name, social security number, and address.

If you are accepted, the procedure goes as follows:

  • Self deposits the loan money on your behalf in a savings account.
  • Self sends you a charge each month.
  • You self-report your loan payments to the credit bureaus each month when you pay your loan bill.
  • Self-distributes the money in the savings account to you once you make your last payment.

Your monthly payments are divided between principal and interest.

You’ll get a lump amount of money from the principal installments after the loan, and ideally, your credit score will be higher than it was when you applied for the loan.

Is Self Legal?

Yes, Self is a real business. The Austin, Texas-based company has teamed with legitimate, FDIC-insured banks to assist in the management of its accounts. That applies to the loans it provides as well as the savings accounts it utilizes to save money from your loans.

To make sure your money is secure, you may even examine the bank statement from the partner banks holding your accounts.

Self’s goods are entirely authentic. Self may assist you in building credit if you meet the company’s client profile and pay in full when due. The product isn’t flawless.

How much can you enhance your credit?

How much Self can help you improve your credit score is difficult to assess. Credit scoring is complex and depends on several variables. In priority order, the key variables that affect your credit score are:

  • Financial history
  • Payment due (overall and compared to the credit limit of your credit cards)
  • History of credit used.
  • mix of credit
  • extra credit

If you make all of your payments on time, Self can help you strengthen your payment history, but it may shorten your credit history and open a new credit account, both of which decrease your credit score. Receiving a Self loan might temporarily lower your credit score.

After the first few payments, though, it rapidly increases.

The average customer’s credit score rises by 31 points, according to Self. Individual outcomes might differ. For instance, some clients have seen scores increase by almost 70 points.

Additionally, if you don’t have any credit history at all, Self may assist you in creating one. For those who want to work toward obtaining excellent discounts on bigger loans but haven’t begun establishing credit yet, this is a significant advantage.

Applying for a Self Loan

Self-loans may be applied for similarly to other loans. You need to start by giving your name and a few pieces of information, such as your address and Social Security number.

To qualify, you must:

  • age of the majority is 18 years.
  • being an American citizen or permanent residence
  • possession of a Social Security number
  • Have a debit card or prepaid card linked to a bank account

The loan’s conditions must then be chosen. This details both how many payments you’ll make each month and how much each one will cost. Self offers maturities of 12 or 24 months with monthly fees ranging from $20 to $200.

You can only have one choice throughout the loan, depending on the payment you choose. Self often gives a shorter loan term when you choose higher payment amounts.

Keep in mind that the quantity of on-time payments you make will play a big part in how your credit score develops. More significant amounts have the advantage of making you save more but may come at the expense of a less dramatic increase in your credit.

Taking out a loan with a longer term and a lower payment might help you develop credit if that is your main objective.

Can self-harm damage your credit?

Take some time to examine if Self will genuinely help you develop your credit before applying for a loan from them. Instead, the Self may probably damage your credit, lowering your score.

Your credit score will automatically be lowered if you apply for a new credit card, loan, or line of credit. Credit bureaus monitor new accounts and inquiries. Additionally, since it impacts your credit usage ratio, adding additional debt to your credit report won’t improve your score.

The impact that these elements have on your credit score will diminish as the self-loan ages, and you pay off the remaining sum. Usually, the solid payment history you establish will be sufficient to offset these effects further and raise your score as a whole.

The key word in this scenario is “good,” however. Your capacity to make the agreed-upon monthly installments is a condition of receiving self-loans.

Self will record any late or missing payments you make on your loan to the credit agencies along with any on-time payments you make. A few missed payments may have a significant influence on your credit score.

If you miss even one payment, your self-loan will undoubtedly hurt your credit score overall.

You must be very optimistic that you will make every payment on time before applying for a self-loan. A credit-builder loan will become a loan that solely hurts your credit if you skip payments.

Benefits of Self

Self is appealing for a variety of reasons.

Reporting to all three bureaus

Self will notify Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion of any action on your credit-builder account. When a lender wants to learn more about a client’s credit score, they turn to these three businesses first.

Making your monthly payments on time can raise your credit score report to each credit agency if you manage your credit builder loan effectively.

This implies that your positive credit practices will be visible regardless of whatever credit agency a prospective lender investigates.

Accepts Individuals With Poor Credit

It might be kind of a chicken and egg situation to establish credit. If you have bad credit or no credit, lenders won’t lend to you, but you can’t improve your credit without taking out a loan.

Self Credit Builder will lend to practically anybody, so you can get an account even if you have low credit. Keep in mind that Self won’t provide you with the money right away. It saves it on your behalf in a savings account.

Self may easily withdraw the money from the savings account if you cease making payments. As a result, it assumes essentially minimal risk and is thus eager to lend to anybody looking to establish credit.

Simple User Interface

Many financial firms, particularly smaller ones, use outdated technology and difficult-to-navigate websites.

Self has a modern, straightforward website. Additionally, it has a fantastic iOS and Android app that makes it simple to access your account and make payments on your loan for credit-building.

Cons of Self

You must be aware of the limitations of Self before creating an account.

Plans Begin at $20, while some are less expensive.

When registering for the Self credit builder program, the smallest monthly payment option is $20. Despite being a little sum, some people’s budgets may not allow for this.

Other organizations assist individuals in establishing credit, such as Credit Strong, some of which permit setting up credit-builder accounts with cheaper monthly charges.

Finding a company with a lower monthly payment option can be worthwhile if you’re only looking to build credit because the size of the monthly payment has no bearing on developing your payment history.

It may be confusing to see partner banks on your credit report.

A partner bank, not Self, provides each Self loan. The name of the lender will appear on your credit report for other lenders to see when you borrow money.

It can be confusing if you attempt to describe a loan to a lender when you’re trying to get approved for another loan because the loan will appear on your report under the name of the partner bank rather than Self.

Only 24 months are allowed for the terms.

The best thing you can do to increase your credit score is to make one-time payments on time. Your credit score will increase with each payment you make each month.

Only installment loans with terms of 12 or 24 months are available from Self. A more extended period would enable you to make more payments, resulting in the development of an even more comprehensive history of on-time payments.

How much does the account cost?

Self must pay for an account with Credit Builder. You do need to pay for the assistance the business offers.

The $8 fee is paid beforehand and is not refundable by the business. No of the specifics of the loan, this charge still applies.

In addition, you must pay interest on the loan. Although the APR may change depending on market interest rates, as of this writing, it is 15 percent.

When you complete repaying the loan, you will eventually get part of the money back, but the interest and fees you pay will cause you to pay more than you receive.

You would pay a total of $720 for a 24-month loan with $30 monthly installments, but Self would only return $612 when it transfers the cash to you after the loan.

You may use the company’s cost calculator to see all of the costs associated with Self’s loans.

How Do Secured Credit Cards Compare to Self?

One of the resources you may utilize to improve your credit is Self’s credit-builder account. A practical alternative is a secured credit card.

To start an account with a secured credit card, you must deposit a security fee. If your application is accepted, the credit card provider will offer you a card you may use with a credit limit equal to the security deposit you gave.

You may often get a secured credit card regardless of your credit history since you are providing collateral. They are available at several banks and your neighborhood credit union.

The card may be used to make purchases at any business that accepts it, just like any other card. Your credit card balances will be included on a bill you get each month. Making your monthly payments will help you establish a good payment history and raise your credit score, just like with a self-loan.

The card issuer stores your security deposit in a bank account for security. Your credit limit may be raised by adding to the security deposit. You will get a refund of your security deposit when you end the account.

The Self Visa credit card connects to its credit-builder account and is available as a secured credit card alternative. You may open the account after making three monthly payments and amassing $100 in your savings progress.

After you have paid off your loan in full, you have the option of keeping the Self Visa credit card or canceling it to retrieve the money you used as a security deposit.

Obtaining a secured credit card in addition to your loan allows you extra chances to make monthly payments, improving your credit score and establishing yourself as a viable borrower in the eyes of other lenders.


For those looking to improve their credit, a self-credit-builder account is an excellent choice. A solid strategy to establish a payment history and raise your credit score is to combine a credit-builder performance with the Self Visa credit card.

The service isn’t flawless, however. It still depends on your ability to pay your bills on time, so skipping a few payments might hurt rather than improve your credit score. You are also paying for the opportunity of enhancing your credit by paying the interest and fees.

There are options that you may utilize to establish credit without having to pay, such as a fee-free secured credit card. Self-credit builder accounts, on the other hand, act as a forced savings plan and provide you with a bank account full of cash after your loan is paid off.

Self is ultimately an excellent approach for individuals to establish credit. You’ll succeed with a Self credit-builder account as long as you’re aware of the prospective pitfalls and alternatives.




Content Editor and Writer at Payday Champion

Aubrey Saffa Bender has been a freelance journalist and journalist since 2013. She writes about topics that range from personal finances and education to technology and business. In her work for PaydayChampion, Aubrey primarily draws from her writing experiences regarding mortgages, home purchases, and real estate. She graduated with a B.A. with a major in English at The University of Colorado Boulder.

Author: Aubrey Saffa Bender

Aubrey Saffa Bender has been a freelance journalist and journalist since 2013. She writes about topics that range from personal finances and education to technology and business. In her work for PaydayChampion, Aubrey primarily draws from her writing experiences regarding mortgages, home purchases, and real estate. She graduated with a B.A. with a major in English at The University of Colorado Boulder.

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