Your credit score is one of the most important numbers when it comes to your finances. It determines your ability to access new credit and impacts the interest rates you can get.
Unfortunately, borrowers with poor credit often find themselves stuck in an endless loop. They can’t qualify for new credit because of their poor credit score, but they can’t improve their credit score because they can’t access new credit.
Grow Credit seeks to fix this problem with its credit-building Mastercard. Our Grow Credit review will tell you how it works, how much it costs and how to decide if it’s right for you.
Grow Credit helps you build your credit with your monthly subscriptions. It offers many of the benefits of a traditional credit card without all of the risks.
Ease of use
- Build credit with your monthly subscriptions
- Easy to sign up
- No balance to carry
- No interest charges
- Can’t be used for daily spending
- Higher monthly fee for higher credit limits
- May require a security deposit
What is Grow Credit?
Grow Credit is a digital service that allows you to build your credit simply by paying for your online subscriptions each month.
With the Grow Credit Mastercard, you’ll get the benefit of using a credit card without actually having to open a credit card or receive a hard inquiry on your credit report.
The company also doesn’t require a credit score, making it a great way to build or improve your credit.
Grow Credit was founded by Joe Bayen. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica and has received nearly $100 million in funding over the past two years.
Grow Credit vs. Credit Cards
In many ways, Grow Credit resembles a typical credit card, but there are some key differences.
First, you can’t carry your Grow Credit Mastercard around with you to use for your daily spending. Instead, it’s a digital card that you only use to pay for your monthly subscriptions.
Another difference is that you have a low credit limit. You have just enough to pay for your subscriptions, and you can’t carry a balance.
As a result, there’s no possibility of falling behind on your payments or racking up interest charges.
The good news is that, from a credit score perspective, Grow Credit is just like having a credit card in that you’ll build your credit history each month when you use the card.
Grow Credit doesn’t perform a hard inquiry when you sign up, meaning you won’t see an immediate drop in your credit score as you would with other cards.
In addition, within 60-90 days, you should start seeing your credit history and/or score improve thanks to your Grow Credit payments.
How Does Grow Credit Work?
Grow Credit allows you to build your credit by paying for your monthly subscriptions. It’s specifically designed to help people who are struggling to build credit because they don’t have access to credit cards or other tools.
Instead of having to qualify with a credit check or a certain credit score, anyone can sign up for the service.
Here are the steps to use the service.
1. Set Up Your Account
When you set up an account, you’re applying for an interest-free Mastercard.
However, you won’t have a hard inquiry on your credit report like you would with other credit cards. Additionally, you can’t carry a balance on your card. This is why there’s no interest.
2. Add Your Subscriptions
The service allows you to pay for more than 100 different subscriptions with your new Mastercard. Simply connect your monthly subscriptions to your Grow Credit account.
3. Use Your Grow Credit Mastercard
Unlike other credit cards, you can’t bring this one shopping with you or use it for your daily spending. Instead, you’ll add it as the payment method for your monthly subscriptions.
4. Automatically Pay Off Your Balance
When you use your Grow Credit Mastercard to pay for your subscriptions, you’re technically charging them to the card.
However, they’re automatically paid off using your connected bank account.
5. Build Your Credit
Each month, Grow Credit will report your payments to the three major credit bureaus, including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. As your monthly payments are reported, you’ll see your credit history increase.
How Much Does Grow Credit Cost?
The platform offers four plans ranging from free to $7.99 per month. The plans primarily differ when it comes to your monthly spending limit. The more expensive plans allow for a higher limit, which could help build your credit more quickly.
Additionally, the most expensive plan also allows you to use Grow Credit to pay your cell phone bill.
Here’s a breakdown of the four Grow Credit plans:
|Reports to three credit bureaus
|Security deposit required
|Access to premium subscriptions
|Access to exclusion subscription discounts
|Free financial literacy education
|Free FICO score
|Cell phone bill payment
The Build Secured plan works like a secured credit card where you’ll have to pay a security deposit that’s equal to your monthly spending limit. Once you’ve made 12 consecutive on-time payments on your Grow Credit Mastercard, this is refundable.
This plan is an alternative to the Build Free plan for those who don’t qualify for the free unsecured plan.
Here are a few helpful features that make this credit-building account a great choice.
100+ Available Subscriptions
Grow Credit allows you to connect your account to more than 100 different monthly subscription services and get credit for your monthly payments.
Included in the subscriptions list are:
- HBO Max
- Dollar Shave Club
- And more
Grow Credit is also looking to increase its subscription list. If you sign up and one of your subscriptions isn’t connected you can recommend it and the platform will work to add it to their list.
No Hard Inquiry
Applying for a credit card can result in a hard inquiry on your credit report, knocking several points off your credit score. A hit to your credit score is even more frustrating if you ultimately end up getting denied the credit card.
Luckily, Grow Credit does only a soft inquiry, so it won’t affect your credit score.
One of the biggest downsides of traditional credit cards is their high interest rates. Sometimes, borrowers end up spending so much on interest each month that they can’t fully pay off their balance and ultimately fall behind on their payments.
Since Grow Credit’s goal is to help you build your credit, it eliminates that risk. You can’t carry a balance on your Grow Credit Mastercard, meaning the interest rate is always 0%.
Reports to Credit Bureaus
The most important feature of Grow Credit is that it reports your payments to the three credit bureaus.
You’ll start seeing these payments on your credit reports within 60-90 days. Soon after that, you might start seeing your credit score rising.
Grow Credit Reviews
One of the best ways to determine if a service is right for you is to hear from current and former customers. With thousands of reviews online, Grow Credit has plenty of feedback to review.
Here’s how Grow Credit stacks up across various rating websites:
|Number of Reviews
|Apple App Store
|4.6 out of 5
|Google Play Store
|4.7 out of 5
|2.3 out of 5
Here’s what some of the service’s customers have to say:
“I have been using grow credits free plan for a few months now to pay a few streaming subscriptions and have gotten a few credit score bumps from it.” – b4Ronin
“I saw an ad for this on Instagram and thought it was too good to be true, and I was told if it is it’s probably true but Grow Credit doesn’t fall into that category. It’s so easy to use, there’s no scam or credit checks, it’s a brilliant idea!” – Stryder1017
“I attached it [the card] to all of my streaming subscriptions! But after that, I can’t log into my app.” – Luckycutie (Note: A representative from Grow Credit clarified that this user’s experience was due to a temporary login bug that has since been fixed.)
Alternatives to Grow Credit
There are surprisingly few options to help borrowers build credit without going the traditional route of taking out a loan or a credit card. The choices have increased in recent years, but Grow Credit is still ahead of the game.
However, there are a few competitors on the market. Here are some alternatives to consider.
Experian Boost basically does what Grow Credit does. It helps you build your credit score using your monthly payments.
But, rather than using a credit card to do it, Experian Boost simply adds your monthly payments to your Experian credit report. Monthly payments can include your phone bill, utilities, streaming services and more.
Experian Boost is free to use. Unfortunately, it only works for your Experian credit report. This makes sense since it is offered by Experian.
Kikoff is another credit-building program that requires no hard inquiry, no interest charges and no risk of racking up a balance.
With this service, you’ll sign up for a credit account with a $500 line of credit. You can use the loan in the Kikoff store with prices starting at just $10.
As you make your monthly payments, Kikoff will report them to the three credit bureaus to help boost your credit score.
Kikoff costs $2 per month to use and charges no fees or interest.
Self is a credit-building loan that allows you to build credit by essentially borrowing money from yourself. With this service, your “loan” is placed into a savings account or certificate of deposit.
Each month, you’ll make your loan payments. Once you’ve paid off the full loan, you’ll receive the funds back, minus any financing fees.
Additionally, Self offers the benefits of another borrowing product without all of the risks.
Before you sign up for this service, these frequently asked questions are worth reviewing.
You can use Grow Credit for more than 100 different monthly subscriptions. These include your favorite streaming services, subscription boxes and more.
Grow Credit uses a soft inquiry instead of a hard inquiry. This means that it won’t hurt your credit score.
Grow Credit is the company that offers the credit-building service. However, the actual Mastercard you’ll receive is administered through Sutton Bank
Monthly subscriptions don’t usually build your credit. However, with a service like Grow Credit, you can build your credit with those monthly subscription payments.
Yes. Grow Credit uses up-to-date security protocols to protect your data. This includes 256-bit encryption as well as Plaid.
If you’ve been trying to improve your credit score, then you know just how difficult it can be. Grow Credit helps to simplify the process by allowing you to boost your credit score using the monthly payments you’re already making.
There is a monthly fee for most Grow Credit plans, but there’s little of the risk that comes with other credit cards. This allows you to build your credit without getting in over your head.
In addition, with few competitors on the market, Grow Credit is definitely worth considering.