Cred.ai’s Unicorn card promises a unique alternative to traditional credit cards, with easy approval, low fees, and a focus on security and credit building. This Cred.ai review will look at these promises and see if the Unicorn card lives up to them.
A credit card and bank account designed to help those with little to no credit build their credit while providing access to a full suite of unique security features.
No fees ever
Optimizes credit utilization
Generate secure virtual cards
No credit is needed to apply
Doesn't support all banks
No rewards program
Sign-up requires a bank account, debit card, and phone
What Is Cred.ai?
Cred.ai is, at its heart, a credit-building and banking security services platform. But what exactly does that mean?
The Unicorn credit card, when partnered with the Cred.ai deposit account, works a bit like a debit card on a bank account. As you swipe your Unicorn card, funds in your deposit account are earmarked (frozen) for payment on the card.
Then, using an automated payment system, Cred.ai makes payments on your Unicorn card as needed and only when it keeps you fee-free and has the biggest impact on your credit.
While the credit-building features work in the background, you have complete control over a suite of security features like virtual cards, block lists, and more.
How to Sign Up
Signing up for Cred.ai is a little different than other credit card programs.
As part of the deposit account application, you must link your Cred.ai account to at least one bank and debit card. You can link multiple banks. This is to help fund your account, and this info will be used to determine Unicorn card approval and establish your credit limit.
In addition, Cred.ai will check your credit, but only with a soft pull. Your credit score is unimportant here; instead, they use ChexSystems to look for concerning banking activity (i.e., frequent overdrafts).
✍️ Note: deposit account features may be limited if you choose not to apply for the Unicorn card and vice versa.
How Does Cred.ai Build Credit?
Cred.ai’s credit-building strategy aims to optimize your credit utilization, which accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score.
Your credit limit is established by your banking history, i.e., income versus money spent. The most commonly reported credit limits are $1000 and $1500.
As you swipe your unicorn card, the corresponding amount of cash is frozen in your Cred.ai deposit account. Then, when your statement comes due, Cred.ai uses these frozen funds to pay off your balance in full with a Grace Period Payment.
Then, on the last day of your billing cycle, Cred.ai will initiate a Clean-Up Payment. This payment will reduce your reporting credit card balance to an optimized level for building your credit.
According to Cred.ai, this system increased median credit scores by 90 points in as little as two months. Results were based on Experian VantageScore changes for those with thin profiles.
🦄 Credit Building Example
Let’s use the following example to help illustrate Cred.ai’s automatic payment process: you have a unicorn card with a $1000 credit limit.
On the due date, you have a statement balance of $250. Cred.ai will use your frozen funds to process a $250 payment automatically.
A few days later, when you hit the billing date, your new balance is $300. If Cred.ai determines your optimal utilization rate is 10%, they will use frozen funds to automatically generate a $200 Clean-Up Payment.
The remaining $100 statement balance is reported as your utilization.
Additional Cred.ai Services & Features
In addition to the credit-building services offered through the unicorn card, Cred.ai offers a variety of exclusive services, such as
Stealth card – virtual, single-use cards designed for risky transactions like ordering over the phone or signing up for free trials.
High-Security Mode – only allows transactions during a limited window of time.
Friend or Foe – block specific merchants from charging your card (foe) and approve transactions with certain merchants even when you hit your spending limit.
Cred.ai Guarantee – if you don’t have enough money to pay off your card, you can ask Cred.ai to pay it for you.
Flux Capacitor – see where your money is now and where it will be in the future.
Additional benefits for Cred.ai customers include
- Mobile app (Android & iOS)
- Network of over 55,000 ATMs
- Get deposits sooner
- 24/7 customer support
- Access to CredNews
Cred.ai also promises that there are new exciting features in the works.
Rates & Fees
The Unicorn card and Cred.ai deposit account are, for the most part, fee-free, so how does Cred.ai make money?
Cred.ai derives the bulk of its revenue from selling its technology services to other companies, such as small banks and fintechs.
Still, outlining what Cred.ai does not charge is worth noting.
Unicorn Card Fees
|Purchase Interest Rate||17.76% APR*|
|Cash Advance Interest Rate||24.99% APR*|
|Late Payment||Up to $25*|
*With a Cred.ai deposit account set up with automatic payments, interest and fees will never be charged to your card.
Deposit Account Fees
|Minimum Account Balance||$0|
|ATM Fee||Free withdrawal at over 55,000 ATMs worldwide (out-of-network ATMs may charge their own fee)|
|Annual Percentage Yield (APY)||0.00%|
Cred.ai Customer Reviews
When it comes to the credit-building feature of the Unicorn Card and Cred.ai deposit account, customers can’t seem to stop gushing about it.
Unfortunately, there are also many complaints about Cred.ai as well. The most common complaints revolve around the app, poor customer service, or banks not being supported.
Cred.ai currently has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
While Cred.ai has some unique features, there are other services out there that can help you build credit in a similar way.
Below we’ll compare Cred.ai to three competitors offering similar credit-building credit cards.
|Credit Bureau Reporting||What is Reported?||Credit Utilization Features||Other Unique Features||Cost|
|Cred.ai||Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian||Payment history, credit limit, and utilization||Automatically optimizes credit utilization||Guard against fraud with temporary virtual cards||None||–||Visit Website|
|Chime||Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian||Payment history||N/A||Open an optional high-yield savings account||None||Read Review||Visit Website|
|Extra||Equifax & Experian||Payment history||N/A||Optional rewards program||$12 – $25 /month||Read Review||Visit Website|
|Sesame Cash||Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian||Payment history, credit limit, and utilization||Set a custom utilization rate||Earn cash incentives for improving your credit||None||Read Review||Visit Website|
Sesame Cash is the most similar competitor here when it comes to credit building. The main difference is that Cred.ai chooses the best utilization rate for you, while Sesame Cash lets you choose.
When looking at Cred.ai vs. Chime, Cred.ai comes out on top regarding credit-building features, while Chime excels with banking services. It’s worth noting Cred.ai does not support linking to Chime.
Cred.ai vs. Extra is like comparing apples to oranges. While Cred.ai has better security and credit-building features, Extra’s rewards program may make it more attractive long-term.
Is It Worth It?
Cred.ai is a legitimate tool for helping you improve your credit score. The deposit account and paired Unicorn card offer great features for building credit and protecting you when you shop online.
This card is designed for those with thin credit profiles and stable incomes. For those meeting these criteria and those interested in the security features, this card could be a great tool.
But, if your income is unstable or you already have several other credit cards, Cred.ai might not be a good choice.