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Self Lender Review

self lender

In the past, it was next to impossible to find a Credit Builder Loan online that you would qualify for which is the catalyst for this Self Lender Review

This company is quite the pioneer as they were the first company to offer Credit Builder Loans online NATIONWIDE!

In fact, that's how I discovered Self Lender.

I was looking for a credit building tool that would help improve my payment history but wouldn't be a hard pull on my credit because I have plenty of inquiries and don't need anymore.

I couldn't find a local bank or credit union that offered Credit Builder Loans and frankly when they run my credit, these financial institutions kind of treat me like the plague. 

Being able to apply online with Selflender, kept me from having to sit across from a judgmental tie-wearing corporate banker who would probably turn me away, anyhow.

I was able to apply online from my home, and get accepted in under 5 minutes for only $9 to start. 

In this review of their Credit-Builder Loans program I will cover the basics, like, 'What are Self Lender Credit Builder Loans?', 'How to obtain a Credit Builder Loan?', and more personal topics such as, 'If a Credit Builder Loan makes sense for your unique credit situation.'

A Review Of: Self Lender 

Use: Offers Credit Builder Loans Nationwide


Most see credit score increase


Not the cheapest, offered nationwide


Apply in less than   5 minutes


Respond pretty quickly

    Credit Knocks Overall Star Rating:     

We Like

  • Easy to qualify
  • No credit check
  • Credit building tool

We Don't Like

  • Slightly higher APR than comp's
  • Largest loan options still small


Their online Credit Builder Loans are straightforward to apply for and the application process is easy.

This type of an installment loan is a great option for people trying to build their credit because there is no credit check and your payments will be reported to all three credit bureaus. 

What You Will Find Inside Our Self Lender Reviews

Who Is Self Lender

Self Lender CEO and Co-Founder James Garvey has said the company was created to help people, 'establish credit history for the first time.' 

Credit Builder Loans have been available through local banks and credit unions for a long time and are totally legit. 

However, until Self Lender, Credit Builder Loans were not available online to U.S. residents in all 50 states. 

All credit builder accounts are held in FDIC Insured Certificates of Deposits ("CD"), in your name, at one of their banking partners; Sunrise Banks, N.A., Lead Bank, or Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A.. 

Is Self Lender Legit

They have an A rating from the U.S. Better Business Bureau (BBB) which is a non-profit organization that ranks businesses based on an accredited letter grade system. 

Self Lender BBB rating is the highest you can receive and the majority of the complaints seem to center around customers receiving their checks later than they had hoped when they canceled their accounts early. 

Still wondering Is Self Lender Legit, well it certainly looks like MC Hammer thinks so! 

This financial pioneering company has already helped over 175,000 people obtain a credit builder loan with over 140 million in CD secured loan originations.  

In 2018, they completed their second round of Series B funding and were able to raise an additional 10 million dollars in capital. 

is self lender legit

Is Self Lender Legit?

Self Lender is working to offer additional credit building tools and seems poised to be a major player in the industry for years to come. 

Now if someone asks, 'Is Self Lender Legit?'

You will be able to tell them that, 'Self Lender is 2 Legit 2 Quit!' 

self lender review best credit builder loans online no credit check

What Are Self Lender Credit Builder Loans?

Credit Builder Loans are a relatively new type of credit created primarily for people with Bad Credit, No Credit, New to Credit, Poor Credit, and looking to Build Credit.

They offer multiple loan amount options that you choose from anywhere in the U.S.

You make a small startup payment that is under $20 and low monthly payments for 12 months or 24 months.

Upon the last payment of your Credit-Builder loan you will be given the original amount of the loan less interest and charges.

Credit Builder Loans help you establish a solid payment history and you're able to do that with no credit check! 

It is very similar to a savings account but you will pay some interest and fees, and you won't have access to your money until you complete the payment terms.

Each month, they will report your payments to the big three credit bureaus which helps you establish payment history and diversifies your credit mix.

self lender review credit builder loans no credit check

The best Credit-Builder Loans online are from Self Lender because of their ease of access and their ability to positively affect your payment history.

Consistent and a long payment history can help boost your credit score.

How To Apply For A Self Lender Loan?

Guess what?

I have a CBL (Credit Builder Loan) from this very company!

I hope to answer  any questions and/or concerns by sharing my thoughts on the experience of purchasing this credit building tool. 

Applying for a loan with them was easy...

Here's to apply! 

Thoughts on my experience...

The following screenshots are from the night I signed up for a

Credit Builder Loan. Some of the screenshots aren't as crisp as I'd like 

them to be but that's the cost of authenticity. The entire process took

less than 5 minutes and upon completion, in all honesty, I was just

amazed at how simple it was to apply and get accepted. 

Signing up was real easy, I just had to enter some basic info as part of the login.

Step 1...

Choose your loan and payment amount. 

I chose the loan with payments of $89 a month for 12 months and am looking forward to getting $1,001 in February 2020. If you notice, there are four monthly commitment options, one of them is only $25 a month for Self Lender's 24 months $525 loan. It's very affordable, hell, if you are like me, you can easily spend $25 a week at 7/11, alone!

Step 2...

Reviews of the loan terms

The terms of my loan are straightforward. I pay a $12 non-refundable administrative fee and 12 monthly payments of $89. The total amount of my payments will equal $1,068 (12 x $89). So the total cost of my loan is the $12 admin fee and $1,068 in payments for a total cost of $1,080. In February 2020 after my last payment, Self Lender will send me a check for $1,001. The actual cost of this loan to me is $79 for Self Lender to report 12 payments to the three major credit bureaus which will increase my payment history and diversify my credit mix... all with no credit check!

Step 3...

Authorize them to debit monthly your bank account, credit card, debit card, or a prepaid card. 

I was torn between which account I should select to auto-pay my Credit Builder Loan with. OK, 'torn between' is probably misleading and if we're honest, I was just lazy, and that's how the decision was made. In the end, I chose my checking account because my wallet was across the room and I can't remember the three-digit CV code on the back of any of my credit cards. However, I had my checking account and bank routing number at my desk, so I signed up for auto-payment directly through my checking account. Funny how this decision was made, simply because I was too lazy to get out of my chair and walk 10 feet. If you later decided to walk that 10 feet, you can change your payment method in your account settings on their website or contact their customer service, and they will help you.

Step 4...

Make sure your account has enough money each month to cover the monthly payment.

If you are signing up for a Credit Builder Loan than you are doing so for the positive increase on your payment history. Now, if you make a late payment, you are completely defeating the purpose of using this credit building tool. At the end of the 12 months, this is a product that I am paying $79 for, plus the loss of the use of my money I send them over those 12 months. Make sure that you make all of your payments on time. You can do this easily by making sure the selected auto-pay account always has enough funds to cover the monthly payment.  

Step 5...

Upon your last payment, collect your selected loan amount, less any fees or interest.

After making 12 monthly payments, on February 20, 2020, my CD matures and unlocks with $1,001! I'm going to Sizzler!!! Do Sizzler's even exist anymore? Remember that you can login into your account online and make any changes or see the current status of your account. 

Does Self Lender Work? (Updated) 

Update 5/15/2019

Hey Guys, 

I wanted to add an update since I've received multiple emails asking things like; 'Does Self Lender work?', 'What is Self Lender?', and 'How does Self Lender work?'.

Pretty much the same question over and over, how much will it increase my credit score?

On average I saw a 28 point increase between Experian, Equifax ad TransUnion. 

I've read that people have had their credit score increase as high as 75 points but those were people with no credit or limited credit history. 

You can follow my monthly blog of my credit journey to a 700 credit score by visiting the Credit Journey Hub Page.  

I have already had installment loans in my credit history mix which I think is where these types of loans help the most. 

These really are a great option if you are trying to build your credit score fast at 18 or trying to get to a 700 credit score quickly.

Self Lender Enrollment Review (Video)

Sa El, one of the co-founders of Credit Knocks decided to go through the enrollment process for you and he recorded it.

The overall process is easy to complete and practically painless.  

Do I Qualify For The Best Credit Builder Loan Online? 

Qualifying for the best Credit Builder Loan online is pretty easy. 

We'll take a look at a pretty low bar of requirements you must meet to qualify. 

Keep in mind that if you qualify there will be no credit check and the cost to start the loan will be under $20! 

Remember, they were the first company to offer Credit-Builder Loans online to the entire U.S.

Their loan application is easy and quick, too!


You only need to meet the following requirements to qualify...

Plus, remember, there is NO CREDIT CHECK!

To be eligible for the Best Credit-Builder Loan Online, you:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a permanent U.S. resident
  • Must have a Social Security number
  • Must have one of the following; bank account, debit card or a prepaid card. 
Caution Credit Knocks

Your name will be reviewed through the  ChexSystems report.

If you have had any negative reports, such as writing bad checks and bouncing them or any unpaid banking fee in the past 180 days, you will not be eligible for a Credit Builder will have to wait 180 days from the last negative report to apply. 

What Are Their Costs, Loan Options, And Fees? 

The Sultans of Credit Building offer four different Credit-Builder Loans. 

At this time, they offer a Credit-Builder Loan for $525, $545, $1,000, and $1,700. 

 24 month Credit-Builder Loan for $525 with payments of only $25 a month! 

The other three loans are offered on 12 month terms with payments ranging from $48 a month to $150.

Self Lender's costs for their Credit Builder Loans are very competitive with their competitors with whom they compete completely.  😉

Installment loans aren't considered in the credit utilization ratio (one of the five big credit score factors) so the size of the loan is unlikely to affect your credit score. The different loan amounts accommodate different customers' payment ability and desired amount of money to set aside as savings. The size of the loan and terms may be more meaningful to lenders who will look at your debt to income ratio and may also give more weight to a larger loan amount that's been repaid as that may show someone is more likely to be able to manage a larger loan, such as car loan or mortgage.

Jeff Smith VP of SEO & Editor Self Lender

Cost Of Self Lender Credit Builder Loans

Loan Amount

Monthly Payment

Loan Terms



Admin. Fee

* Total Cost

** Late Fee





























*The Total Cost does not include late fees. 

If you make late payments and incur late fees the total cost will increase by the total you pay in late fees.

What Happens If I Can’t Pay My Credit Builder Account On Time?

**The Late Fees are only charged to you if you make a payment late.

Considering that the whole purpose of obtaining a Credit-Builder Loan is to establish a good payment history, do not make late payments on this loan. 

You receive a 15 day grace period on late payments. 

If you are later than 15 days, you will be charged a 5% late fee penalty.

They will not report late payments to the big three credit bureaus until they are 30 days late. 

If you cannot make the payments within 30 days, contact them and discuss your options.

How Do I Cancel My Self Lender Account? 

If you are unable to make your payments on time or you need to cancel you Credit Builder Loan, the first step will be to contact their customer service department. 

Be sure to request the cancellation before your payment is 30 days late so that a negative report is not made on your credit. 

Keep in mind that if you cancel after a payment is 30 days or more late a negative report will be made  that will not be removed, even if you cancel the loan at a later date. 

When you cancel your loan, they will report the account closed and paid to the credit agencies. 

Give them 10-14 days to process the funds remaining in you CD.

If you go to your Self Lender login under account preferences you will have the option to select the way that you would like to receive your funds. 

You can choose the funds to be direct deposited into your bank account or to receive a snail mail check that you will receive 7-10 days after the check processing period. 

Self Lender Complaints

I've read some Self Lender complaints by customers who have misunderstood the length of time it takes to receive their funds and I thought it would be a good idea to explain it because it can be kind of confusing. 

Most Self Lender Reviews and complaints specifically talk about how long it took for them to receive their funds after cancelling their account early. 

How Long Does It Take To Receive My Money After I Cancel? (Avoid Complaints) 

10 - 14 Days - From the date of the cancellation to the date the check is printed.

7 - 10 Days - From the date the check is printed until you receive it. 

17 - 24 Days - Estimated time from date of cancellation until check received. 

Keep in mind that you have the option to receive your check electronically, which if selected, can help you receive your funds between 10 - 14 days from the date of cancellation.

The below complaint against Self Lender reviews a pretty standard complaint on the Better Business Bureau website. 

Make sure you understand the payment options, the default option on your Self Lender Account is to mail your check to you. 

If you want the money wired to your bank account, be sure to login and change the payment settings.

I have also seen some Self Lender reviews that complain about their credit score not increasing.

However, there are multiple factors that contribute to a credit score.

If the only credit information in your file was a Self Lender loan than over time it would build your credit and improve your credit score. 

It is unfair to blame the credit builder loan for not offsetting your late payment or maxing out your credit cards which would both push your credit score down even with a Self Lender loan. 


Is There A Fee For Closing My Credit Builder Account Early?  

There is no cancellation fee if you wish to close your account early. 

However, there is an early CD withdrawal fee of up to $0.54 (under $1.00). 

The remaining funds will be sent to you minus interest and fees paid to date. 

The cancellation process is pretty painless with minimal penalties and fees. 

Just keep in mind that it is going to take a few weeks to receive your funds, so this is not a good option if you need to access money really quickly. 

Self Lender - Pros and Cons

Many positives come with a Self Lender Credit Building Loan.

Such as, adding a new credit mix to your credit history and making a positive impact on your payment history which can account for up to 35% of your credit score.



No Credit Check

Improves Payment History

Credit Building Tool

Higher APR %

Small Loan Amounts

Credit Builder Loans 


Secured Credit Cards

Who would win in a boxing match between...

 Credit-Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card

If you could only choose one new credit product and it was between a Credit Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card... which product is the best choice?  

First, both are excellent choices for someone who has Bad Credit, No Credit, New to Credit, Poor Credit, or looking to Build Credit.

Each one offers something different.  

Credit Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card - No Credit Check  

The top selling point for a Credit Builder Loans is that there is no credit check.  

There will NOT be a new inquiry on your credit history record at the big three credit bureaus. 

And more importantly, you don't have to worry about your lack of credit or bad credit getting you denied. 

With the Secured Credit Card, there will be a 'hard pull' on your credit and, you will see an additional inquiry added to your credit history record by the three big credit bureaus.  

Credit Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card – Startup Costs 

When we look at the costs between a Credit Builder Loan vs. A Secured Credit Card, we have to consider the startup costs.  

With a Credit-Builder Loan, there is an extremely low initial startup fee of only $9 to $15

With a Secured Credit Card, the credit card company will require you to make an initial deposit between $50 and $200 which will typically also be your credit limit.  

So, the costs to start up a Secured Credit Card Vs. A Credit Builder Loan is quite a bit higher.  

Credit Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card – Effect on Credit Score

Credit Builder Loans Vs. Secured Credit Cards differ a bit on how they affect your credit history.  

A Credit-Builder Loan will affect your payment history which the big three credit bureaus have said can affect your credit score as much as 35%.  

Whereas, a Secured Credit Card will affect your credit history by not only reporting your payment history but also showing an increase in available credit which is also an important credit scoring factor. 

Credit Builder Loan Vs. Secured Credit Card – The Verdict 

Both credit options bring a lot of value to your credit history and are top tools to build your credit. 

It is a tough call to say one is better than the other.  

The truth is, if you are trying to build your credit, you are going to need both of these products.  

You most likely will need more than one Secured Credit Card and one Credit-Builder Loan.  

We recommend you start with a Credit-Builder Loan because the cost is as little as $9 down and $25 a month for 24 months.  

Whereas, initial startup costs for a Secured Credit Card will be much more. 

It stands to reason that you will get more credit tools for your buck with Credit Builder Loans.

Self Lender Alternatives 

We have been pretty high on Credit-Builder Loans for building credit because they do not require a credit check and their relatively low cost to improve your payment history but there are alternatives.  

Competitors vary based on your credit score because if you have a 650 credit score you may not qualify for a better credit building tool. 

Secured Credit Cards are another great way to build your credit because there is no credit check and no risk of being declined. 

However, these are not the only two competitors that you have to build your credit if you have Bad Credit, No Credit, New to Credit, Poor Credit, or looking to Build Credit.

Check out these other excellent credit-building options below!

Student Credit Cards

Student Credit Cards are only an option if you are enrolled in college but a solid alternative to Self Lender. 

The great thing about a Student Credit Card instead of a Secured Credit Card is that they are an unsecured card and thus do not require a deposit.

They are targeted for people with limited credit who are in college.

They usually start with a very low credit limit in the $50-$200 range, similar to Secured Credit Cards.

If you can qualify, they are a great way to start building your credit.

Rent Reporting 

Have you heard of rent reporting?

There are multiple rent reporting companies available online that will report your monthly rent or lease payments to the credit bureaus.

If you can have your monthly rent payments reported this would help build up your credit score because you will have a better payment history.

Rent reporting is a great way to start building credit similar to Credit Builder Loans.

We recommend the Rent Reporting team because they have the lowest prices we could find and they can also report up to 24 months of back rent for a small fee. 

Authorized User On Another Account 

Finding someone to put you on their credit card as an authorized user is probably the easiest way to build your credit.

Here's what you need to do...

It would be best if you found a family member(s) who has a credit card with good payment history and that has been in use for many years.

Ask them to add you to their credit card as an authorized user.

They will need to call their credit company and give them your social security number and your date of birth.

The credit card company will then add this information to their account and report it to the three major credit bureaus.

About a month later, you will see three things positively affected on your credit history.

First, your available credit limit will increase by the available credit on your family members card.

Second, your average length of credit history will increase because of the new credit cards longer credit history.

Third, you will get credit for the payment history of your family members credit card.

If you can pull off an authorized user account, you should see some seriously good benefits.


Self Lender Competitors

Credit Builder Loans have been around for a long time and the list of Self Lender Competitors is long. 

You can find Credit Builder Loans offered by many local banks, credit unions, and even CDFI's. 

However, many of these competitors only offer CBLs in a very small geographic area or are limited to members only such as credit unions. 


Where Self Lender has an edge on its competitors is the fact that they can offer CBLs to the entire United States. 

The closest competitor to Self Lender is Credit Strong who offers CBLs to almost all of the United States. 

At the time of this article, they offer services to about 42 states with the intention of offering their services to all 50 states in the coming years. 

Self Lender Competitors Credit Builder Loan Costs

Loan Amount

Monthly Payment

Loan Terms



















Credit Strong Credit Builder Loans are competitive with Self Lender's prices and are a viable alternative. 

Recap Of Self Lender Reviews

Hopefully, you find these reviews helpful.

Their Credit Builder Loans are a great option to help build your credit through strengthening your credit payment history and adding to your credit mix.

The fact that there is no credit check and they are pretty inexpensive makes them our top choice for building credit. 

There is no worry that you will be denied because of your low credit score which I know is a huge deciding factor for many credit related products for me. 

Start building your credit today with a Self Lender loan! 

Build Credit Without a Credit Card

  • No credit check
  • No security deposit
  • Build with all 3 credit bureaus

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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