How to Raise Your Credit Score Without a Credit Card

How to Raise Your Credit Score Without a Credit Card

By TheBudgetnista -  Tags: , ,


Let me guess Dream Catcher… you want to improve your credit, right? No, I’m not a psychic, it’s just that credit is the #1 request for help that I receive.

Everyone wants better credit, even folks with good credit, want better credit. Lol!

Why the big fuss? Well, bad credit makes for an expensive life. So many things cost more money when your credit is bad.

Examples: Some utility companies charge you more per unit of energy, interest rates (on cars, homes, credit cards…everythang) is higher, and some jobs won’t even hire you if your score is below a certain number. Yup!

Not too long ago, I suffered from bad credit. In my twenties it was in the 800s, then the Recession hit, I lost my job, home and savings and my credit score dropped to the 500s. Yikes!

It took me nearly 2 years to bring my credit score to the 700s, and I used every trick in the book.

One of the ways I built up my credit was with credit cards. It wasn’t my finest hour. I was jobless for a couple of years during the Recession, and I relied on credit cards to make ends meet. Sound familiar?

Paying down and off my cards was one of the ways I was able to rebuild my credit. The problem was, it took for-ev-er, and my interest rates were not the greatest… over 20% on some cards, because of my low credit score. I told you having bad credit made life more expensive.

These days there are way better tools available. I mean waaaaaay better.

There’s a new one that I’m SUPER excited about. It’s kinda genius really. Want to know what it is?

Self Lender! (They are now available in ALL 50 states! Woot woot!)

Self Lender is an awesome, easy-to-use credit builder loan with interest charges that are much lower than what I paid.

How Self Lender works:

1.  Signed up for a free Self Lender membership (available nationwide)

Bonus: You’ll get your credit score and credit monitoring, including notifications for free!

2. Choose the, “build credit and savings” option.

3. Fill out the form.

Note 1: They are going to ask you for your social security number. That’s normal procedure when you apply for any loan. The site is secure and it passes my “Lisa Rule” (see rule at bottom of post).

Note 2: Self Lender DOES NOT use your credit score to qualify you. They use an alternate consumer report called ChexSystems. As long as you don't owe any bank, you should be approved.

Note 3: Anytime you apply for credit, you get an inquiry. Thankfully, Self Lender is NOT a hard credit pull. Hard pulls stay on your credit report for 2 years, but it only affects your score for a few months. Self Lender is a soft pull,  so there is no inquiry reported. They don't use your credit score to qualify you. That's why it's not affected. (see note 2)

Note 4: To be on the safe side. DO NOT apply for credit (anywhere), if you plan on buying a house in the next 6-months. Your realtor will thank me. 🙂

4. Take out a credit builder loan. I suggest you take one out for the lowest amount possible so your monthly payments will be manageable.

Bonus Again: Unlike a traditional loan, this one is held for you in a one-year, FDIC-insured certificate of deposit bank (CD) account.

Every month, your super-low payment is automatically taken from your bank account to pay toward the loan — and the 12.65% APR Self Lender charges to cover its own costs.

5. At the end of the year, the CD will mature and unlock, and its 0.10% APY growth rate means you’ll GET YOUR MONEY BACK, plus a little interest (minus fees).

Sidebar: You can pay off the loan earlier if you like too. You can pay it off anytime within the year. When you do, you'll get the money from the CD back.

Das it!


Basically, it's a loan, but YOU DO NOT get the money. Instead, Self Lender puts it away for you in a CD.

You pay the loan off in a year, then you get the money from the CD back.

It's like taking a loan from yourself while saving money at the same darn time! Remember, credit bureaus are more concerned with the habit of paying regularly, more than the amount borrowed, so borrow a low amount.

The purpose is to show creditors you can pay back and off what you owe. Self Lender is genius, right?!

The Real MVP Bonus: Your credit history will benefit from responsibly paying on and eventually off, an installment loan with fixed payments. Doing so shows future creditors that you, my friend, are worthy of credit because you proved it 12-months in a row. Woot Woot!

Bonus Plus:  Self Lender reports to all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. *insert happy-dance*


Bonus on Bonus: Although I’m not a fan of the whole “good debt” term, installment loans are looked at similar to student loans. This means, if you’re going to have debt, it’s the better option. Your Self Lender credit builder loan will also increase your “types of debt”, which can positively affect 10% of your credit score.

The Breakdown (courtesy of the Penny Hoarder)

Let’s say you take out an $1100 credit builder loan…
By the end of the year, you will have paid off the $1100 loan; $1164 when you include the interest you will have paid. There is also a minimal $12 admin fee, that Self Lender charges.

Your original $1,100 will have gained a little interest and will be: $1,101.10 at the end of the year.

That means you’ll have grown your credit and improved your credit history for the low-cost of about $75, in one year! The $75 is the full cost of your interest if you get the $1100 credit builder loan.

The $75 interest (if you choose to borrow $1100), is split into 12 payments and taken as part of your monthly payment (about $6/month), like most interest and principal payments for a loan. That's less than what some banks charge you for your check account each month, and those accounts DO NOT grow your credit.


The math on an $1100 Self Lender Credit Builder Loan:

$1,164 (what you’ll have paid by the end of the 12 months)

+ $12 (Self Lender admin fee)

– $1,101.10 (what you’ll get back after paying off the loan)

= $74.90 (cost of the whole process)

Do you know how much credit repair companies charge? I assure you, much more than $75 for 1-year. Most cost more than $75/month.

**You don't have to borrow $1100. I suggest you borrow the lowest amount provided. Currently about $500. That will bring your monthly payment to less than $50/month.

The bonus of the Bonuses (clearly I’m running out of bonus names):

  1. Your Self Lender credit builder loan is free to sign-up for.
  2. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete the application
  3. The payments are automatically deducted. Set it and forget it.
  4. It a soft credit pull, so applying won't negatively affect your credit.
  5. The loan will show up on all 3 of your credit reports right away.
  6. Some folks have seen an increase in their credit score in as little as one month!
  7. You get your free credit score and credit monitoring, including notifications.
  8. At the end of the year, you get back the money you paid (plus a little interest – minus the fees). It’s like taking a loan from yourself…. SELF LENDER (get it?) 🙂
  9. Self Lender can cost you less in a year, than what a credit repair agency charges a month.

Interested in learning more and signing up with Self Lender? You can do so HERE.

Sidebar: I love happy endings. Have you been able to fix your credit? Share how in the comments.

This easy tool will help you build your credit score, without a credit card. Click To Tweet

Live richer,



My Lisa Rule: I have 4 sisters and Lisa is the baby (well she’s not a baby anymore). Of all of my sisters, I’m the most protective of her. Before I share any product or service with you, it must pass my Lisa Rule.

What’s the Lisa Rule? If I would not advise Lisa to use a product or service, I won’t advise you to. YOU are my Lisas. I feel protective of you and your financial journey.

Self Lender passes my Lisa Rule. Yes, I am an affiliate of Self Lender, and I earn a commission off of referrals, but I would not recommend a product or service that I didn’t believe was helpful and useful. As a matter of fact, I'm having both Lisa and one of my besties sign-up for this awesome tool this week.

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Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is quickly becoming America's favorite, personal financial educator. The Budgetnista is also an Amazon #1 bestselling author (The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge), sought-after speaker and teacher of financial empowerment.
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