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The cost for a credit builder loan varies from lender to lender. You can expect to pay anywhere from as little as $12 up to $150 for a 12-month loan.

You will be paying to build credit, but if you need to develop a credit score and have no other realistic option, it can be worth it. Be sure to assess what you will pay and how much you expect to improve your score, and decide whether it’s worth it.

Take a look at our list of the best credit builder loans to compare the costs of some of the most popular credit builder loans you can get online.

Factors That Influence the Cost of a Credit Builder Loan

It is important to understand and know that these loans are not complicated, and you should be able to figure out the cost of each if you know the following terms.

💡 Before you start comparing the costs, be sure to get familiar with the ins and outs of how credit builder loans work.

Loan Amount

The loan amount is the total amount of the credit builder loan that you are borrowing. It is essential to keep in mind that the larger the amount and/or the short the payment terms will increase your monthly payments.

👉 Credit builder loans are typically small, no more than $1,000 or so. But there are several that will go up to $3,000.

👉 Credit Strong even offers credit builder loans that go up to $10,000 for building business credit.

Monthly Payment

Your monthly payment amount will be determined by the amount of your loan, APR percentage rate, and the loan terms. The higher your loan amount and APR percentage rate is, the higher your loan payment will be. The longer your loan terms are, the lower your loan payment will be.

Example: Self Credit Builder Loan Monthly Payments

Take a look at the Self credit builder loan costs below to get a better idea of how the loan you choose determines your monthly payment amount.

Small BuilderMedium BuilderLarge BuilderX-Large Builder
One-time fee$9 $9 $9 $9
Term24 months24 months12 months12 months
APR 15.92% 15.97% 15.65% 15.91%
Monthly payment $25$35$48$150

* APRs often change. Check lender websites before applying.

Loan Term

The loan term is how many months you will have to pay off your credit builder loan.

Most credit builder loans come with terms of 12-months, 24-months and occasionally you will see lenders offer 36-month terms.

APR

The annual percentage rate (APR) represents the total cost of the credit builder loan expressed in a percentage rate.

This percentage rate represents the fees associated with the loan and the interest rate all rolled up into one uniform and easy-to-use number to compare against other loan options.

☝️ The APR is a much more accurate number to use than the interest rate because it also factors in any fees you pay associated with the loan.

In some instances, a loan may have a lower interest rate than its competitors, but it may have much higher startup fees which can make the loan with the lower interest rate have the highest APR % and cost you the most amount of money.

👉 APRs for a credit builder loan vary widely among providers. We’ve seen them be as low as 5% and some that go up to 30%. Don’t be fooled, be sure to compare the APR percentages against one another to get an accurate cost of the loan.

Administrative Fees

These are fees associated with starting the loan and administering it. They are usually very small in regards to credit builder loans, but they do affect the overall cost, so be sure to factor these fees into your decision process.

Depending on your lender, the initial fees can be from zero down to as much as the initial monthly payment.

👉 For example, Self has a setup fee of $9, while MoneyLion Credit Builder charges a membership fee of $19.99/month.

Total Cost Of The Loan 

The total cost of the loan is probably the most crucial category because this number represents your actual loan costs. With this number, you can compare multiple credit-builder loans against one another to determine how much does a credit builder loan cost?

👉 As we mentioned at the beginning, the total cost of a credit builder loan can be as low as $12 (SeedFi Credit Builder) and can go up to $150 (Self X-Large Builder) for a loan with a 12-month term.

Example: Self Credit Builder Loans Total Costs

In the table below you can see the final cost of all four credit builder loan options offered by Self.

Small BuilderMedium BuilderLarge BuilderX-Large Builder
One-time fee$9 $9 $9 $9
Monthly payment$25$35$48$150
Term24 months24 months12 months12 months
APR 15.92% 15.97% 15.65% 15.91%
Total payments$600$840$576$1,800
Get back$520$724$539$1663
Final cost$89$125$46$146

* APRs often change. Check lender websites before applying.

Late Fees

Keep in mind that if you pay your credit builder loan late, the lenders will charge you late fees.

First, do not pay your credit builder loan late!

The whole purpose of this loan is to positively increase your credit payment history. Paying your loan late defeats the purpose of this credit-building product. 

​☝️ If you cannot pay your loan on time, contact your lender immediately and figure out another option.

Often the lender will cancel the loan and send you the money you have paid into the savings account with less interest and a small penalty.

👉 For example, Self will give you a 15-day grace period before charging a late fee and will not report your loan late until it is 30 days past due.

If you have any questions about the cost of a credit builder loan, let us know in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you shortly!