Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Self Visa Credit Card Review

overall rating
2.5

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The Self Visa is a secured card, a card type that allows people with no credit or poor credit to build a credit profile. After meeting the Self Visa's lenient eligibility requirements, you're granted a loan that is placed into an interest bearing Certificate of Deposit. The personal loan has an APR. After you make three on-time loan payments, the CD has unlocked value and then you can open a secured card using the CD funds as the security deposit. You earn interest on the amount you’ve repaid, but the card also comes with some fees and charges. It offers no rewards or other benefits.

Self Visa® Credit Card

Overall Rating
2.5
Self Visa® Credit Card
On WebBank's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 23.74% variable
Annual Fee $25
Minimum Deposit to Activate $100
Pay deposit in installments Yes
Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
how this card stacks up
When compared among all secured cards in our database:
Secured Features
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

Currently rated one of our

Full Review of Self Visa Credit Card

Pros
  • Qualification is relatively easy

  • Builds credit while earning interest on savings

Cons
  • No immediate access to funds

  • Can be relatively expensive

Pros Explained

  • Qualification Is Relatively Easy: Receiving the Self Visa is a less onerous process than for some other secured cards. Unlike some competitors, this card doesn't require a standard credit check (ChexSystems is used in lieu of a credit check) or a traditional security deposit. To qualify for the Self Visa, you need to make as few as three on-time payments to your "Credit Builder" account, totaling at least $100, and have an account that's in good standing. 
  • Builds Credit While Earning Interest on Savings: After you open the credit builder account associated with this card, one of Self's bank partners provides you with a small loan. Because your payments repay that loan, they’re reported to credit agencies and can so help you to build credit factors such as payment history. In turn, the loan funds are held in a FDIC-insured Certificate of Deposit that earns interest. When your loan term ends, the CD unlocks and you get back not only the principal amount but the interest you've earned (which isn't much, given current CD rates) minus fees and finance charges. If you've opened a Self Visa account, Self will hold onto your funds as a security deposit. You'll receive your security deposit back when your credit card account is closed, minus any outstanding charges on the account.

Cons Explained

  • No Immediate Access to Funds: The flip side of this card skipping a credit check or security deposit is that you must wait to actually get the credit it provides. You must, after opening your account, make at least three on-time monthly payments, totaling at least $100, before you're eligible to receive a card.In addition, you can't access the funds that accumulate in the credit-builder account until your 12- or 24-month repayment period is up, or when the credit card account is closed if you decide to open one. While it’s possible to pay back the loan early, you might incur an early withdrawal fee for doing so. You could also miss out on the benefit of building your credit payment history through making multiple on-time payments. 
  • There Are Fees and Charges: Where some secured cards have no annual fee, the Self Visa costs $25 a year, plus there's a one-time $9 non-refundable administrative fee. There are also interest charges on the Credit Builder loan. In combination, these expenses make this card relatively expensive compared to some other secured cards. That’s especially the case if you choose a longer repayment term, which means you pay more overall in interest charges.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Motivated to create positive credit history
    Credit Builder

The Self Visa credit card is designed for those who seek to build credit but have neither much money nor any credit record to help start the process. The monthly payment can be as low as $25 and no credit history is required. 

But the card is also for those with patience, since you don't get a Self Visa card until you're a few months into the process—specifically, after you’ve made three on-time monthly payments on your loan account and have built up $100 in savings, which can be longer than three months if you opt for a lower payment. While no upfront security deposit is required, you can choose to prepay $100 on your Credit Builder account and then make three on-time payments loan to increase your available credit when you are eligible for a Self Visa. You can also prepay on your loan to increase your unlocked CD amount after receiving the card. For example, if you have $200 saved, you can prepay $100 on your account and increase your unlocked CD after getting your Self Visa.

It's also a great card for someone who would like a credit card that can double as an enforced savings plan. After you complete paying off the loan, typically after either 12 or 24 months, and any card balance and remaining fees are deducted, you receive any interest earned from the security deposit in the account. This is, then, a card for those who are willing and able to pay to build their credit record. interest (finance) charges on the loan are assessed at rates between 15.65% and 15.97%, depending on your repayment plan. That’s far from the highest rate for those with minimal or poor credit, but is a much higher rate than those with excellent credit can now pay for two-year personal loan. There’s also an annual fee on the credit card and one-time administrative charge to open the self credit builder account. The APR on the credit card is 23.74% variable, which is separate from the APR on the loan.

Here’s how the math might work. Let's say you choose at the start to pay $25 installments over a 24-month period. After the two years are up, assuming you paid off your charges to the card every month—which best serves your credit record—you'd have $520 in the account. You pay $9 upfront to set up the account and make $600 in payments ($25 x 24) less $80 in finance charges. That leaves you with $520, plus you have been able to borrow against at least some of those funds for 19 months in this scenario. 

Self Visa Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • No upfront cash security deposit required  
  • No credit check required
  • Credit Builder account that earns interest 

Standard Benefits

  • Reports to three major credit bureaus
  • Card can be used everywhere Visa is accepted

Cardholder Experience

Self is not included in the J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, but the company overall has received a strong score of A- from the Better Business Bureau. Customers can contact Self through their website, via live chat, or by calling 877-883-0999.

Security Features

Self offers safety and security measures that are standard for credit cards issued by U.S. financial institutions. All card accounts come with multi-level encryption and regular vulnerability scans to keep data secure.

The Credit Builder loan is secured by an FDIC-insured certificate of deposit.

Our Verdict

The Self Visa credit card provides a solid option for individuals who otherwise might not qualify for a secured card due to absent or poor credit, or a lack of funds for the security deposit that most such cards require to get started. The lack of a credit check or upfront security deposit makes the Self Visa accessible, and the loan component of the card allows you both to build credit and save some money. And you choose the monthly payment, which can be as low as $25 if you wish.

However, this card can be more costly in the long run than some other secured cards and, unlike those, it doesn't provide immediate access to funds. 

Those seeking to build their credit record who have more cash on hand might consider a secured card that’s more traditional than the Self Visa. The Citi Secured Mastercard, for example, has no annual fee and reports to all three major credit bureaus. It requires at least a $200 security deposit.

Another option is the Discover it Secured, which earns cash-back rewards. There's no annual fee and it offers 2% cash-back rewards at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 per quarter. It also automatically matches all of the cash-back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Apply Now
For Self Visa® Credit Card
on WebBank's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
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CURRENT CARD
Self Visa® Credit Card
overall rating
2.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 23.74% variable
Annual Fee $25
Minimum Deposit to Activate $100
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.