A credit builder account is a small 12-month or 24-month installment loan that's held in a certificate of deposit (“CD”) bank account for 12 or 24 months. The account is FDIC insured, earns 0.10% APY† interest and is held for you in your name during the term.

The credit builder account available inside Self Lender works in the following way:

1. It's free to join Self Lender and apply for a credit builder account. Once approved, you pay a one-time non-refundable administrative fee ($9 to $15).

2. Our bank partner lends you a small 12-month or 24-month loan that’s held in a FDIC insured CD for 12 or 24 months (these funds are locked until the loan is paid in full).

3. Next month, you begin to repay your credit builder account by making 12 or 24 equal payments over the 12-month or 24-month term. Each month, payment history is reported to the credit bureaus.

4. At the end of the term, you've paid off your loan and your CD matures and unlocks with earned interest. Plus, you've demonstrated months of payment history to the credit bureaus, which accounts for 35% of your FICO score.

† Annual Percentage Yield (APY)