April 4, 2024

MoneyLion Credit Builder Review

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MoneyLion's Credit Builder loans can improve your credit in 12 months. But is it worth the price? Read on.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Access your loan funds upfront
  • Reports to 3 credit bureaus
  • Free credit monitoring
  • $19.99/month membership fees
  • Not available in all states

Bottom Line

Costly credit builder loan with membership fees and high APRs

Got a thin credit history?

It's challenging to qualify for loans and credit cards when you have no way to show you can pay what you owe.

But MoneyLion Credit Builder can help with that. It offers quick and simple ways to help you build good credit.

This guide will help you know how it works and how it compares to its alternatives. Keep scrolling!

What is Moneylion Credit Builder?

MoneyLion is a fin-tech company that offers an app with mobile banking features, a lender marketplace, investment services, and credit-building options.

It offers credit builder loans where you can borrow up to $1,000. Then, you can pay it off on time over the next 12 months to add positive transactions to your payment history.

Given these features, MoneyLion has helped over half its members increase their credit score by 27 points within 60 days.[1]

What credit score do you need for MoneyLion?
You don't need a specific credit score to apply for MoneyLion. However, you must have an active checking account with a transaction history. The account must be open for at least 60 days, be in good standing, and have an acceptable balance.

Although MoneyLion can be a great help in building your credit, it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Who is Moneylion Credit Builder best for?

MoneyLion offers a free account. But you need to upgrade to the Credit Builder Plus membership to access the credit builder app.

So, MoneyLion is only ideal if you're willing to pay $19.99/mo for membership fees. This can be a huge bummer considering there are credit-building options, like Credit Karma, that are completely free.

Who should skip MoneyLion?

Given the membership fees, MoneyLion is not ideal if you're looking for a low-cost way to build credit. You can browse other credit builder loans and credit builder apps instead.

In addition, MoneyLion is not available in CO, IN, IA, MD, MT, NE, NV, or VT.[2] So if you live in these areas, you're better off with its alternatives.

MoneyLion's membership fees for the Credit Builder Plus account can get very steep. Fees, APRs, and your principal loan amount can result in significant monthly payments. You should only use MoneyLion to build credit if you can settle your payments on time.

If you're still on the fence about going for MoneyLion, the upsides and downsides may help you decide.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Reports to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
  • No hard credit checks
  • 24/7 credit monitoring
  • Low APRs offered to qualified borrowers
  • 0% APR for a cash advance of up to $300
  • Android and iOS apps available
  • Access a portion of your loan upfront (other credit builder loans don't offer this)

Cons:

  • High maximum APR
  • Costly membership fees
  • $1,000 maximum loan amount
  • Lock-in commitment for 12 months
  • Loan terms are not flexible
  • Ongoing lawsuit from the CFPB

Is there a lawsuit against MoneyLion?
Yes, there is. CFPB filed a lawsuit against MoneyLion last September 2022 for allegedly charging excessive fees, expensive membership fees, and hidden charges to its service members. In addition, MoneyLion makes membership cancellations difficult.[3]

To further understand if MoneyLion's credit builder is the right option for you, here's how it works.

What matters most to you when considering a credit builder like MoneyLion?

How Moneylion Credit Builder Works

Here's how you can build your credit with MoneyLion:

  1. Sign up for MoneyLion's Credit Builder Plus membership.
  2. Apply for a credit builder loan of up to $1,000.
  3. Pay off your loan every month for the next 12 months.
  4. MoneyLion reports your payments to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

There will be no hard checks on your credit. However, MoneyLion will review your linked checking account to check how much money they can lend you.

You get your money back in a Credit Reserve Account when your loan term ends. And your funds will be disbursed 10–14 days after your last loan payment.

That said, you'll get access to a portion of your loan immediately.

Does that mean you'll be getting your money's worth? Keep reading to know how much all this credit-building will cost you.

Pricing and Fees

Your monthly costs for using MoneyLion include the membership fee, loan principal, and the monthly APR.

The MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus membership costs $19.99 every month. You can break down the payment into the following:[4]

  • Weekly membership payment: $4.60
  • Biweekly membership payment: $9.20
  • Semi-monthly membership payment: $9.99
  • Monthly membership payment: $19.99

Remember, you can only borrow up to $1,000 for your credit builder loan. APRs range from 5.99% - 29.99%, depending on your financial capacity.

Does Moneylion Really Help Build Credit?

More than half of MoneyLion's users have increased their credit score by 27 points within 60 days of using the credit builder.

Results vary per person. But you can gradually improve your credit by paying your loan on time. The more timely payments you make, the more positive transactions you build in your payment history.

If you think it's worth the try, here's how you can open an account.

How to Open an Account

You can start your account with MoneyLion by following these simple steps:

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Fill in your first name, last name, email, password, birthday, and address.
  3. Apply for the Credit Builder Plus membership.

Before you open an account, however, take note of the qualifications to ensure approval.

MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus Qualifications:[5]

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Have an active checking or spending account

How trustworthy is MoneyLion?

MoneyLion has been in the industry since 2013. It has helped many users raise their credit score by 27 points within 60 days.

Plus, the Android app has more than 5 million downloads, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars in Google Play. Meanwhile, it has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 110,000 ratings in the Apple Store.

You can dive deeper into these ratings with some reviews from MoneyLion customers.

MoneyLion Customer Reviews

RATINGS SOURCEAVERAGE RATING
Apple App Store4.7 out of 5 ★ from over 110,000 ratings
Google Play Store4.5 out of 5 ★ from over 103,000 ratings
Trustpilot 4.5 out of 5 ★ from over 27,000 ratings
Better Business Bureau4.67 out of 5 ★ from over 3,000 ratings

MoneyLion generally has a lot of positive ratings and reviews. In particular, MoneyLion has helped increase Jonathan's credit score and granted a considerable cash advance.

"What can I say about MoneyLion? Well, it's awesome. Why, you ask? Because if you're ever short-handed and need help, they're quick to approve [your account] and give you up to $500 at once. Plus, I needed help [with] my credit, so I applied for the loan. I got approved on the spot. [It] was awesome. I'm paying up the loan little by little [and] my credit has gone up 20 pts so far. Best app. [If] you don't have it, why not download [it] right now!" (From a Trustpilot review)

However, not all users had a great experience with MoneyLion. For example, in Hank's case, he noted MoneyLion's expensive charges.

"[MoneyLion has] outrageous interest amounts. Pay attention when you borrow, or they will trick you into a 10-dollar tip on top of interest rates. There is also a class action lawsuit against this company. They prey on low-income people. Beware of this company. [It] does nothing for your credit score."
(From a Trustpilot review)

Note that your credit is unique from everybody else's credit. Signing up for MoneyLion does not automatically mean your credit score increases.

Your overall finances affect your credit, but you can leverage MoneyLion credit builder to add better transactions in your credit history. That way, your credit may improve over time with timely payments every month.

If you ever encounter issues yourself, you can always contact MoneyLion's customer service.

Customer Service

MoneyLion has various support channels:[6]

  • Phone: +1 (516) 916-5466
  • Email: customercare@moneylion.com
  • Contact Form

You can also chat with a live agent within the mobile apps for instant support.

But if MoneyLion doesn't seem like the right fit, you can check out these other options.

How Moneylion Credit Builder Compares

MoneyLion vs Cheese
Cheese offers credit builder loans just like MoneyLion. You'll choose between $500, $1,000, and $2,000 loan amounts. Then, pick between 12 or 24 months as your term.

The difference is that you don't need to pay a membership fee with Cheese. On top of that, the APR ranges from 5% - 16% (varies by state) only. So, Cheese may be a more affordable alternative. Just note that you can't get a portion of your cash upfront.

MoneyLion vs Kovo
Kovo is a credit builder that costs $10 every month. By paying the monthly fees, you can access digital courses for topics like entrepreneurship, self-confidence, and skills improvement.

However, you need to keep paying Kovo's fees for 24 months to build your credit, while MoneyLion's credit builder loans have a term of 12 months.

That said, Kovo may be a much more affordable option since there's no APR to worry about. But unlike MoneyLion, you don't get your payments back with Kovo.

MoneyLion vs Kikoff
Kikoff works differently from MoneyLion. You pay $5 monthly to access a $750 credit line. And you can use this to purchase items, digital courses, and e-books from the Kikoff Store.

There is no lock-in or end date for using Kikoff. You can keep using your credit line as long as you settle your payments on time. Kikoff reports the payments to Equifax and Experian.

Just like Kovo, Kikoff can be an affordable choice. Just make sure to keep purchases at a minimum.

Bottom Line

MoneyLion's credit builder can be worth it if you have the money to spare for monthly fees. The Credit Builder Plus plan offers several credit builder loans to choose from.

Plus, you have the option to get some of your funds upfront. Getting cash instantly may save you in the case of rainy days.

On the flip side, it's not the best option if you're looking for a more affordable alternative. The higher APRs, membership fees, and loan amount can balloon your total cost.

How likely are you to consider using MoneyLion's credit builder loan after reading the article?

References

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