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Self Visa® Credit Card Review 2023 (Is It a Good Credit Builder?)

How does the Self Visa® credit card work? Is it any good? And is it right for you?

Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert
Written by
Personal Finance Expert
10 min
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The Self Visa® Credit Card can be a good option for customers who need support while using a credit card to create or build credit. 

It’s a secured card which doesn't require a credit check, as long as you meet the eligibility standards of the Self Credit Builder Account. 

If you’re wondering whether the Self Visa® Credit Card is a good fit for you and your financial goals, here’s how it works and what we think about it—

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How Does the Self Visa® Credit Card Work? 

To get the Self Visa® Secured Credit Card you’ll need to open a Self Credit Builder Account first. 

It’s a secured credit building loan funded by one of Self's partners and—instead of going to you—it’s held in an interest-bearing CD. 

To get a portion of those funds released (I say portion, because fees will be taken out), you’ll need to pay in a flat amount for either 12 or 24 months.

For example, with the basic option, you’ll pay in $25 for 24 months (which equates to $600). As the plan stands today, you’ll receive just $520 back at the end of the term (but likely with a much improved credit score as well). 

The builder account has four different options:

  • $25 per month for 24 months. 
  • $35 per month for 24 months.
  • $48 per month for 12 months.
  • $150 per month for 12 months. 

The builder account that you choose will decide your overall credit limit. From there, you may be eligible for the Self Visa card once you've made three consecutive full monthly payments and have $100 or more in the Credit Builder Account. 

In other words, this means you’ll need to make four payments on the first account option ($25), three on the second ($35), two on the third ($48), or at least one payment on the last option ($150). 

The Self Visa® credit card is a secured credit card, so you’ll have to utilize a portion of the funds in your Credit Builder Account as the security deposit for the credit line on your card. 

This also means you won’t need additional funds to pay for your deposit, because you can use the same funds to fund both accounts. 

There’s also a non-refundable $9 fee—a one-time administrative fee to open the card. 

If you want the Self credit card later on, the account you choose will decide the overall amount of your loan and credit limit.

There won’t be a credit check, an application, or an additional deposit—Self will let you know once you qualify. 

Once you can get the card, there’s a $25 annual fee, which is charged when you first open your account (and then once per year to keep the card). 

You can use the card just like any other Visa® secured credit card—just be sure to pay off your balance in full each month (you won’t be able to use the card once you hit the maximum balance). 

Reflex Card Review: Overall Card Rating




Credit Boost

You can get pre-qualified without a hard check on your credit score. 


Secured Credit Card

You’ll need to pay a refundable security deposit of $200 to $2,500 (your line of credit). 


Rewards Programs

There’s no rewards program, just basic cardholder benefits (like identity theft protection). 


Credit Card Rates & Fees

28.24% variable APR.


Customer Service

Available via their customer service helpline, app, and customer service email. 


Overall Credit Card Rating



Self Visa® Credit Card Limit

There is no max limit for the Self Credit Card. That’s because the card is a secured option that is based on the money you put on it up front. However, there’s a minimum deposit of $100

Can You Get a Self Visa® Credit Card Limit Increase? 

Yes, you can raise your limit—all you need to do is add more money to the card via the app or on your dashboard of the website. 

How to Apply for the Self Credit Card

You can’t apply for the Self credit card. 

Self will notify you when you become eligible for it through their credit builder program.

To qualify, you must—

  • Have a credit builder account that has been open for at least three months.
  • Make at least three timely monthly payments.
  • Have $100 or more in savings.
  • Be in good standing with your Credit Builder Account, including paying it off or making your payments on time. 

(Just because you meet these requirements, doesn’t mean you’ll be offered the credit card.)

How to Activate the Card

When you’re ready to activate the card, you can log into your account at self.inc/activate and follow the instructions. 

How to Use the Self Credit Card 

When you get your Self Visa card, start making regular transactions with it—but make sure that you don't go over your available credit since your credit limit will be relatively low (even as little as $100 depending on your deposit). 

Use the card for reasonable monthly payments that are within your credit limit (like filling up your gas tank or paying for subscriptions). 

Paying off your card in full as often as you can is another effective strategy to develop your credit with the card. This way your credit utilization ratio (which accounts for 30% of your credit score) will stay low. You’ll then raise your score when you pay off your card. 

How to Close the Self Credit Card 

If you decide that the card isn’t for you down the road, closing your account is easy—just call the customer service line to cancel the Self Visa Credit Card and account. 

Keep in mind, though, that if you cancel the Self Visa® Credit Card, your account will close for good, preventing you from applying for another card in the future.

Does Self Credit Builder Work? 

Yes—but as with all things, it’ll take a few months to reflect on your credit report

Although individual outcomes can vary, a Self Credit Builder Account and credit card can lead to a 32-point boost in credit score over the course of 6–12 months. 

When Does the Self Visa® Credit Card Report to Your Credit Score? 

Self sends a report to the three main credit bureaus each month during the first week of every month. The report contains details about both the Self Visa® Credit Card and your Credit Builder Account (if applicable).

Self Credit Card Deposit Return 

If you close your account, you can usually get a Self Visa® Credit Card refund. You’ll get the security deposit back in your Credit Builder Account if it’s still open (or via check or ACH within 10 to 14 business days if the account is closed). 

Mind you, if you have a balance left on the card, Self will use the deposit to recover the money you owe them.

Where Can I Use My Self Credit Card?

You can use your Self Visa® Credit Card anywhere Visa is accepted in the US. (You can’t use it internationally.) 

What is the Self App? 

The Self mobile app is for both Apple and Android devices. When you open a Self Visa® Credit Card, you can use it for all your account needs (to set up automated monthly payments, check the balance and savings status of your Credit Builder Account, and so on).

Self Credit Card—What We Like

1. You can qualify easily 

The Self Visa application process is simpler than for other protected cards—it doesn't need a regular security deposit or credit check. All you need is a Credit Builder account which has been open and active for at least three months, has at least $100 in it, and is in good standing. 

2. You can increase your limit easily 

Although there’s a $100 minimum for the card, the amount of credit you have access to depends on how much money you transfer from your Credit Builder account to your Self Visa®. 

You may be qualified to increase your credit limit in multiples of $25 at a time (up to the maximum secured amount of $3,000), as long as you make each monthly payment due on your credit-building account and keep your account in good standing.

3. It reports to the three major credit bureaus 

The Self Visa® Credit Card reports your account and payment activity to the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). This is ideal when using a credit card to help create or develop credit.

4. It improves your credit mix

Having the Self credit-builder account and credit card helps your "credit mix," a frequently overlooked component of your credit score. 

If you're new to credit, it may be challenging to build this—even though it accounts for 10% of your FICO credit score. The combination of the two products lets you diversify your credit lines by using a loan and a credit card—thus boosting your credit score

Self Credit Card—Things to Keep in Mind

1. It has some fees 

The Self Visa costs $25 a year plus a one-time $9 nonrefundable administrative fee—other secured cards don’t cost anything. Depending on the size of the account, you can also be charged an early withdrawal fee of up to $5. 

2. You must have a Self credit-builder account 

You must have a Self credit builder loan to qualify for the Self Visa® Credit Card. (It can take at least three months to qualify, so this isn’t for people who want a new credit card as soon as possible.) 

3. No rewards program 

You won’t get any sign-up bonuses or points for using the Self Visa® Credit Card. (This can be a con for many users who want cash back or rewards for items like travel.) 

Important Self Card Fees

Rates & Fees


Annual Fee


Purchase APR

28.24% (Variable)

Cash Advance APR


Cash Advance Fee


Balance Transfer Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee


Late Payment Fee

Up to $15.00

Returned Payment Fee

Up to $15.00

The Bottom Line—Is the Self Credit Card Worth It?

The Self Visa® Credit Card can be worth it if you’re someone who lacks self-discipline when it comes to handling money. 

It’s also a decent option if you don’t have much credit—or have a low credit score. 

However, if your primary goal is to use a secured card to develop credit and get rewards, you’ll most likely prefer a card without account limitations (and with better fees).

7 Key FAQs on the Self Visa® Credit Card Credit Card

Can I Use My Self Credit Card on Cash App?

Yes, you can use your Self Visa® Credit Card anywhere Visa® is accepted in the US—and that includes Cash App.

How Long Does the Self Credit Card Take to Arrive?

Depending on the mail carrier, it normally takes your card 10 to 14 business days to arrive after you’ve ordered it.

How to Order the Self Credit Card?

Once you’re eligible and have been approved, your Self credit card will be sent to the address you have on file. 

Can I Take Money Off of My Self Credit Card?

Your Self Visa® Credit Card doesn’t allow cash advances. You can only make purchases with this card.

How to Unlock the Self Lender Credit Card?

You’ll need to meet three requirements with your credit builder account—make three on time payments, have $100 or more in savings progress, and have your account in good standing. (Once those are met, the option to get the card will unlock automatically.)

Does the Self Credit Card Become Unsecured?

Yes, it can—if you qualify. You’ll need to have proof of income, have the Self secured card for at least six months, have your Self account(s) in good standing, and meet a few other requirements (like payment history). You can’t apply for an unsecured card—Self will notify you once you become eligible.

Why is My Self Credit Card Declined?

If your card has been declined, it’s because your minimum payment is overdue by at least ten days. For your card to be unlocked again, you’ll need to make the required minimum payment.

Editorial team

Meet the team
Derek Sall - Personal Finance Expert

Personal Finance Expert

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.

Kacper Kozicki - Editor


Editor, copywriter, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands. When not editing articles for LifeAndMyFinances.com, he enjoys rummaging through paper dictionaries, walking in nature, and making travel plans.

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer

Finance Writer

Content writing and marketing professional with 4+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.

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