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Which cards have a bolt-on credit-builder facility?

In the UK, there are many kinds of cards, all used for different purposes. These include debit cards, credit cards, cash cards, gift cards, and store cards.

Most of these don't help you build your credit history, but some do:

  • All credit card payments are reported to the credit reference agencies and go directly into your credit report.
  • In addition, some credit cards are specifically meant for people who want to improve or build their credit history. These are called credit-building credit cards.
  • Other credit cards, called balance transfer credit cards, help you avoid missed payments (which can hurt your credit history) by giving you some more time to make payments on other cards, during which interest stops accruing.
  • Finally, some debit or prepaid cards have "bolt-on" credit-building features. You usually have to pay extra for these, but some come free.

Let's look at the debit and prepaid cards with a bolt-on credit-builder facility and see which one is right for you.

Cashplus Creditbuilder

Cashplus Creditbuilder is a free credit-building bolt-on option that you can add to your Cashplus Activeplus bank account.

Here is how it works:

  • You must already have a Cashplus Activeplus bank account.
  • Sign in to your Cashplus account and add Creditbuilder from your online banking app.
  • Cashplus will then give you a 12-month loan that you repay over 12 monthly payments. This loan is the Creditbuilder option.
  • The loan amount will cover the account fees for 12 months (£71.40, or £5.95 a month).
  • Because the loan simply covers the account fees, you don't receive the cash in your bank account. Cashplus will hold it for you.
  • You pay your monthly account fee as usual, and Cashplus takes it as a repayment for your Creditbuilder loan.
  • Cashplus then reports this loan repayment to the credit reference agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
  • Once you've made all 12 payments on time, your Creditbuilder loan will be successfully repaid. This can improve your credit score.

Unfortunately, the Cashplus Creditbuilder is only available to existing Cashplus bank account holders. Cashplus is no longer accepting applications for new bank accounts, as it has moved to only providing accounts for small businesses.

Monese Credit Builder

The Monese Credit Builder (also called Monese Boost) is available as an add-on to all Monese account plans in the UK.

Here's how it works:

  • You'll need a Monese prepaid account (technically, Monese is not licensed as a bank, so its card is not a full debit card).
  • You can set up 12 monthly payments between £30 and £100.
  • These payments are technically a loan repayment.
  • When you pay on time each month, Monese reports these to the credit reference agencies.
  • After a year, you can get all 12 payments back, minus the Monese Boost fee.

Monese Boost is advertised as an interest-free loan. While that is true, you do have to pay a fee for it—£2.50 a month. If you save £50 a month, Monese will give you a £600 loan (£50 x 12). Over a year, your fees will add up to £30 (£2.50 x 12), which means an APR of 9.10%.

Which of these two options is best for building credit?

Both the Cashplus Creditbuilder and the Monese Boost Credit Builder seem good at helping you improve your credit score:

  • They're inexpensive: Cashplus is free, Monese Boost is only £2.50 a month (at least in fees);
  • They're easy to get: you're automatically accepted as long as you have the base account.
  • Finally, they are also technically loans. Unlike a service like CreditLadder, which only reports rent, or Experian Boost, which only looks at your subscriptions, a loan shows up in your credit report and also directly impacts your credit score.

However, they have pretty significant downsides too:

  • Cashplus is no longer accepting new applications. If you're an existing bank account holder, great. Otherwise, you're out of luck.
  • Monese is a prepaid card, meaning it doesn't have the protections of a debit or credit card. Because of this, most Monese customers get an actual debit card as soon as they're eligible and only use Monese as a backup. This means it's easy to forget about your Monese card and fail to repay the Credit Builder bolt-on service on time because you only had a £0 balance. A missed payment will hurt your score more than the loan is helping you improve it.
  • Monese also requires you to commit to at least £30 a month to its payment plan. While you get this back a year later, it's still a significant investment, and you don't earn interest on it.

For a better alternative, consider downloading an app like Wollit.

Unlike Cashplus Creditbuilder, Wollit is available in the UK and recently even raised a new round of funding to continue expanding its service. And unlike Monese, you don't need to commit much money. You simply pay a small fixed monthly fee, which Wollit reports to the credit reference agencies as loan repayment.

This directly builds your credit history and gives you a chance to improve your credit score without locking a portion of your savings away or using a risky prepaid card.

Wollit, no stress, no hassle - just a clear path to better credit

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.

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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.