Though there are other options now, the Extra Debit Card was the first debit card designed to help build credit. Extra reports the purchases you make on their card to the credit bureaus like a lender would, which helps you increase your score by improving your payment history.
In most other respects, the Extra Debit Card functions like any other debit card. There’s no credit check to apply, you can connect it to your existing bank account, and there’s never interest on your purchases.
Here’s our comprehensive Extra Debit Card review to help you decide whether it’s your best option for building credit.
Extra Debit Card Review and Ratings
Extra Debit Card
The Extra Debit Card lets you build credit without hurdling most of the traditional obstacles. There’s no credit check to apply, you don’t need to put down a security deposit, and it’s much harder to hurt your credit by misusing the account.
On the downside, you have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee, and some customer reviews suggest that the customer support systems might need improvement.
No credit check
Easy to use
Build credit with two credit bureaus
High monthly or annual fees
Questionable customer support<br>Doesn't report to TransUnion
What is the Extra Debit Card?
To build your credit score, you usually have to apply for a credit account and use it responsibly. Making timely payments and keeping your debt balances low are the most reliable ways to demonstrate your creditworthiness.
There are a few issues with that approach:
- Having no credit score makes it hard to qualify for most credit accounts.
- Applying for a credit account hurts your score by adding a hard inquiry to your credit report.
- If you don’t manage a credit account well, you’ll damage your score, and you may incur additional interest or fees.
The Extra Debit Card lets you sidestep these issues and still build your credit. Most debit cards do nothing for your credit score, but Extra reports the purchases you make on their card to credit bureaus as creditworthy payments.
Because it’s not a credit account, you don’t need a score to qualify.
There’s no credit check when you apply, which means you don’t have to add a hard inquiry to your file.
👉 For a few extra dollars a month, Extra’s premium plan lets you earn rewards for your purchases like a credit card, too. You can earn points equivalent to roughly 1% cashback, though you can only use those points in the Extra store.
How Does the Extra Debit Card Work?
From a user’s perspective, the Extra Debit Card works almost the same way as any other debit card. Extra reports your payments automatically, and there’s nothing special you have to do to build your credit with the account.
Here’s an in-depth guide to Extra’s card, including everything from signing up for the account to canceling it.
How to Sign Up for the Extra Debit Card
Signing up for the extra debit card is a relatively simple process. There’s no credit check involved. To qualify, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Live in the United States with an address where you can receive your physical card (they don’t accept P.O. boxes).
- Have a bank account in the United States or Canada.
👉 You can apply online in just a couple of minutes. They’ll ask you for standard account application information like your phone number, email, address, and SSN or ITIN.
If Extra can’t verify your identity, they may try alternative methods that require you to provide additional personal details.
How to Use the Extra Debit Card
Once you qualify for the Extra Debit Card, you have to connect it to your bank account before using it. Extra can connect to over 10,000 banks, so you shouldn’t have to open a new account just for the card.
Once you’ve connected to your funding source, Extra assigns you a spending limit. It will always be at least slightly below your real-time checking account balance.
Whenever you buy something with the card, Extra “spots you” and pays for the transaction. Within a few days, they pay themselves back using the cash in your funding source.
The mechanism is similar to a credit transaction. It’s as though Extra gives you a credit line equal to each purchase amount and then has you pay off the balance using the cash in the bank account they monitor.
That’s why Extra can report the purchases as credit-worthy transactions. It also means that using the Extra Debit Card doesn’t have much impact on your credit utilization since they wipe out your debt balance after each transaction.
👉 At the end of each month, Extra tallies up all of your purchases and reports them to Experian and Equifax, which should increase your score over time.
If you pay extra for their rewards program, your purchases generate points you can spend in the Extra store. They’re not transparent about what you can buy in the store, but they mention gift cards and Airpods as examples.
How to Cancel the Extra Debit Card
Unfortunately, you can’t cancel the Extra Debit Card online. You’ll have to call them at 833-984-2291 or the number on the back of your debit card to close your account and end your subscription.
Extra Debit Card Pricing
|Credit Building Only||Credit Building and Rewards|
|Monthly Price||$8 per month (works out to $96 per year)||$12 per month (works out to $144 per year)|
|Annual Price||$84 per year (works out to $7 per month)||$108 per year (works out to $9 per month)|
Extra has two plans for purchase, and you can pay for them in either monthly or annual installments. There’s a discount if you pay annually.
Extra Customer Reviews
Extra was founded in 2019, so it’s a relatively new company. As a result, there aren’t many sources for customer reviews online.
The platform with the most reviews for the card is the App Store, and most of the comments are positive. Extra gets an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on roughly 1,200 ratings.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to discern the legitimate reviews from the fake ones on sites like these, and there are enough negative reviews to make you question the validity of the rest.
There are also several first-hand accounts on the personal finance and credit card subreddits from Extra customers. Some are positive and report that the card does what it claims to do.
Unfortunately, most of them are from accounts that are likely fake. For example, the profile that posted the comment below was created that same day, and it hasn’t had any activity since.
Many of the other reviews on Reddit express frustration over Extra’s lack of effectiveness and poor customer service, just like the pictured review from the App Store.
Reviews tend to skew negative because people are more likely to complain than share positive stories, but it’s still significant that there are few verified positive reviews of Extra.
Extra Debit Card Alternatives
Sequin’s card follows the same model as Extra’s. It connects to your bank account, and then they report all your purchases to the credit bureaus. The most significant difference between the two is that Sequin has no fees and only reports to Experian.
Credit Sesame’s card, the Sesame Cash debit card, works a little differently. You allocate a portion of your cash to the card each month, which they use to create a virtual secured credit card.
You then set a credit utilization limit for the virtual credit card. When you make purchases with the debit card, Sesame charges the virtual secured card until you hit your desired utilization ratio, then uses your cash to pay off the balance.
Is Extra Debit Card Worth It?
In some ways, the Extra Debit Card is more convenient than a credit card for building credit. You don’t have to undergo a credit check when you apply or put down a deposit to qualify like you would with a secured card.
The Extra Debit Card also reduces the risk of overspending and hurting your score. Because you can’t carry over a balance, you’ll never face interest charges, either.
That said, it’s not without its drawbacks. Most significantly, you have to pay a monthly or annual fee. I’ve always disliked the idea of paying money to build credit. The point of building credit is to save money, and there are so many ways to improve your score for free.
Even if you take Extra’s cheapest option, you’d pay $84 per year. For comparison, the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card has a $95 annual fee. In November 2021, that gets you:
- 5x points on travel purchased through their rewards program, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all travel purchases
- An introductory offer of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, which is worth roughly $750 of travel
- Bonuses like a $50 annual hotel credit, a year of $0 delivery fees with DoorDash, automatic trip cancellation insurance, and more
👉 My point is if you’re going to pay such a high annual fee for a card, you should try to get more than a debit card that only improves your payment history and nets you 1% cashback.
If I had to rebuild my credit from scratch, I’d stick to a secured credit card instead of using Extra. Most secured cards require a credit check, but their deposits are refundable, they usually don’t have fees, and their potential increase to your credit is higher.