3 Unique Cards To Help You Build Credit – Debit Card Edition

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Last updated on December 15th, 2023

Believe it or not, there are debit cards that can help you build credit. Deemed a rarity, debit cards with credit-building power can be beneficial, especially for anyone who starts on the path to building credit. Check out these few but mighty debit cards that can fuel the beginning of your credit journey.

Debit Cards That Can Help Build Credit

Credit cards are an excellent financial tool for building credit, earning rewards, and financing purchases. The best credit card for you depends on your needs. For this reason, there are credit-building credit cards like the OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® or the Surge® Platinum Mastercard®. However, there are a few distinctive debit card options with credit-building capabilities too. These credit-building debit cards are the unicorns in the world of card payments. Here are three unique cards to help you build credit – debit card edition.

Extra Debit Card

Extra Debit Card

Extra Debit Card
No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: No Credit Required
Mastercard Processing Network
See Terms Annual Fee

Extra Debit Card

At a Glance

The Extra Debit Card* is a credit builder debit card that offers rewards and more. The card is ideal for anyone newer to credit that doesn’t want the negative impact from a hard credit inquiry but still wants to earn rewards.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Every purchase can help build your credit1. At the end of every month, purchases made with the Extra Debit Card are tallied up and reported to credit bureaus • 0% interest • Connects with your bank account2 • Earn rewards points everywhere. Earn up to 1% in points for everyday purchases like rideshares, coffees and your phone bills • Current pricing is $20/month or $149/year for Credit Building. $25/month or $199/year for Credit Building + Rewards
  • Annual Fee: See Terms
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: See Terms
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms
  • Minimum Deposit Required: See Terms
  • You don’t want a credit check when looking for a new card
  • You want a debit card that reports to Experian and Equifax every month

The Extra Debit Card is a newer way to build credit. It’s a debit card that builds credit. Again, this is not a common feature of debit cards. Extra is one of the few debit cards with credit-building abilities, a reward points system, and zero interest. With that being said, you might be asking yourself, does this card require a credit check? The answer is no.

As a result, you can start building credit whether you have a good score or not. That’s the beauty of the Extra Debit Card. It’s a tool that can be used by anyone as long as they have an existing Plaid-compatible bank account that can be linked to fund the Extra Debit Card. It’s a clever tool for someone who may be starting on their credit journey or anyone who finds it challenging to qualify for an unsecured credit card.

It’s necessary to have a good credit score because, with it, you spend less money on the purchases made in your lifetime (assuming you are not filthy rich already.) Think, of lower car loan interest rates for fewer payments, lower credit card APRs, and lower interest rates on the more expensive things in life, such as buying a house. Getting the best interest rates available is due to having excellent credit. In the long run, it can save you thousands of dollars when you take out any loan like a car note or a mortgage.

How Does The Extra Card Work?

It’s common to see credit cards with annual fees. However, debit card with annual fees is not so typical. The Extra program requires a monthly cost depending on what needs you have for it. There’s a $20 monthly fee for the credit-building program. If you want both credit building and reward earning potential, the monthly is $25. You get a better deal if you pay the yearly cost – $149 a year (credit building) and $199 (credit building + rewards.) Learn more here.

Experian Smart Money™

Experian Smart Money™

Experian Smart Money™
No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: No Credit Required
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Experian Smart Money™

At a Glance

The Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account and Debit Card is an interesting debit program that works with Experian Boost to help you establish a positive credit history based on the bill payments you already make. The card also comes with a practical welcome offer after meeting direct deposit minimums - all for no annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • No minimum deposits and no annual fee
  • Works automatically with Experian Boost
  • $50 direct deposit bonus
  • FDIC-insured savings account
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Minimum Deposit Required: 0
  • You are new to credit
  • You plan on utilizing Experian's extensive knowledge base
  • You want an insured deposit account

The Experian Smart Money™ is a Mastercard debit card issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CSFB) and brought to you by Experian, one of three major credit bureaus. It’s a digital checking account that helps you build credit with a debit card. For this reason, the card has made our list.

The Smart Money debit card holds a unique position, created by the credit experts themselves. If you’re familiar with Experian, then you know they offer credit reporting and ways to manage your account. It only makes sense that they created a debit card to help you build credit.

The Experian debit card works hand in hand with an Experian service called Experian Boost. The Experian Smart Money™ debit card is automatically connected to the service. The benefit of using Experian Boost is that consumers can get credit for certain bill payments. Cardholders can get credit for utility bills, rent, cell phone bills, and insurance.

However, terms do apply and not all bills may qualify for Experian Boost. With that being said, it is also relevant to know that you do not necessarily need the Experian debit card to use Experian Boost as it is a separate service and can be used by consumers with other debit cards.

Pro's Con's
Connects automatically to Boost Not all bills qualify for Experian Boost
No monthly fees You can use Experian Boost with other debit cards
Sign up bonus with direct deposit Only frequent bills get considered for a credit boost
Automatic access to a virtual debit card Most mortgage lenders will not consider credit scores affected by Boost

Zolve Credit Card

Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card

Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card
No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: No Credit Required
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card

At a Glance

The Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card is a combination bank account and debit card designed to help immigrants and those new to credit. The card features no annual fee and the ability to upgrade to unsecured credit in as little as four months.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Build credit with no minimum deposits and no annual fee
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Upgrade to an unsecured Zolve Credit Card in as little as 4 months
  • FDIC-insured savings account
  • You are a new arrival to the United States and want to begin building credit
  • You prefer a card program that grows with you - not one you grow out of
  • You want an insured deposit account that earns interest

The Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card is a debit card with the power to help you build credit and earn cash back. Moreover, the card offers a unique chance to upgrade to an unsecured credit card. The Zolve Azpire features no fees or interest and conveniently has no credit check which means there’s no hit to your credit score.

Here’s how it works. With the Zolve debit card, you get a free checking account that you can use to start building credit. Simply add money to your checking account and begin making your usual purchases – online, in-store, wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Your purchases will be reported monthly to the three major credit bureaus as positive repayment behavior. If eligible, you may get upgraded in as little as four months to an unsecured credit card. If upgraded to an unsecured credit card, credit limits may be as high as $5,000.

Aside from the possibility of upgrading to an unsecured credit card, Zolve’s unique approach brings simplicity to credit building because you will be building credit with your own money. Additionally, you will not have to worry about accruing debt or overspending. However, if you plan on shopping, the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card can earn you up to 10% cash back on shopping done at over 7k outlets.

Pro's Con's
Build credit with a checking account Will not affect your credit utilization ratio
No interest or late fees Unsecured credit card upgrade up to $5,000 credit limit
Possibility to upgrade to an unsecured credit card Cash back is only available with participating outlets
Purchases reported to three major credit bureaus No sign-up bonus

Honorable Mention - Sesame Cash Credit Builder

Sesame Cash Credit Builder 141x224
No Fees, No APR, No Credit Check!
  • Build Credit with a Prepaid Debit Card
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus
  • No Hideen Fees
☆ No Annual Fee or Interest
☆ No minimum security deposit required
☆ Ideal for everyday purchases to help build credit

The Sesame Cash Credit Builder is a prepaid debit card issued by Community Federal Savings Bank. Similar to our previous mentions, the card charges no interest and does not require a credit check. In contrast, the Sesame Cash Credit Builder debit card is a virtual Mastercard and not a physical plastic card.

Unlike the Extra Debit Card and the Path Card, the Sesame Credit Builder card has no fees, not even a monthly subscription fee. It’s 100% free. The Sesame Cash account is more comparable to a secured credit card because although it is linked to an external bank account, you, as the cardholder, get to choose a security deposit amount. In return, it will act as your line of credit.

The card has features to help you build credit responsibly. For example, Sesame Credit Builder focuses on credit utilization. It allows the user to set a credit utilization limit. Experts recommend your credit utilization ratio should not exceed 30%. However, you can change the limit at your preference anytime. Sesame will report your purchases to the credit bureaus. As you shop with the Sesame Cash account throughout the month, Sesame will add your purchases to the credit builder to create a credit balance. Never miss a payment by setting up auto-pay.

Sesame Cash can also be used to earn cash back with their affiliated merchant offers. In addition, users have the option to set up a direct deposit and get paid up to two days earlier. Through the Credit Builder app, you can also check your credit score daily to keep track of your progress.

Related Article: Smart Ways To Manage Your Credit Card

Featured image by yacobchuk/ Getty Images

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Jeannyn Gomez
Jeannyn Gomez

Jeannyn is the Content Management Assistant for BestCards.com. In addition to serving on all aspects of social media and spreading the word on expert credit and personal finance advice, Jeannyn finds herself on quests for humor, supernatural phenomena, and conspiracy theories for fun.

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