Founded in 2019 and based in California, One is a fintech company that offers deposit accounts and financial tools to help you better manage your money.
With a One account, you can receive your paycheck by direct deposit up to two days earlier. You can also separate funds into “pockets” to help you designate money for everyday expenses and fun stuff such as saving for a vacation.
For people building credit, One also offers free credit scores and the One Credit Builder pocket which works like a secured card without interest. Here, we share the ins and outs of how One Credit Builder works so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
Start building credit automatically with no application or credit check required.
- Works even if you don’t have credit history
- No hard credit check, no fees, no minimums
- Applying won’t affect your credit score
- Build credit, spend, save and share, all in one account
- What is One Credit Builder?
- How does One Credit Builder work?
- What we like about One Credit Builder
- What One Credit Builder could improve
- Who can get a One Credit Builder account?
- How to sign up for One Credit Builder
- One Credit Builder customer service
- FAQs about One Credit Builder
- The bottom line on One Credit Builder
What is One Credit Builder?
One Credit Builder is an account or pocket within a One account that works similar to a line of credit. You can make purchases up to the amount that you deposit into the pocket, and payments on this account are reported to the credit bureaus to help you build credit history. There’s no application, fees, or interest involved, and opening up a One Credit Builder account won’t hurt your credit score.
How does One Credit Builder work?
One Credit Builder accounts are made available to One customers based on their credit history. Qualifying customers will see an option to add the One Credit Builder pocket in your account dashboard.
How to add money
After opening your One Credit Builder pocket, you can transfer a minimum of $20 to it from other pockets. This is your purchase limit. You can’t transfer money back, however, so you should only move cash you won’t need in your other spending or savings accounts.
How to use the One Credit Builder account
To make purchases, you can assign your One card to your One Credit Builder pocket or use a virtual card that you create. After transactions are authorized, the money will be removed from your account balance and One automatically uses that money to make monthly payments.
The automatic payments are then reported to the credit bureaus as on-time to help you build a positive payment history. Your account usage — how much of the One Credit Builder pocket cash you use — is not reported, so you can use up to what you’ve transferred to the pocket without impacting your score.
One Credit Builder vs. a credit builder loan
One Credit Builder and credit builder loans work differently. One Credit Builder has no fees, whereas credit builder loans may have administrative fees. A credit builder loan is also a loan where you’re borrowing a lump sum but don’t get that money in cash right away.
Instead, your loan funds are held in a separate savings account that secures the loan. You only get the lump sum in cash after you pay off your lender.
Both One Credit Builder and credit builder loans can help you build credit. With One Credit Builder, however, you can make purchases right away, whereas a credit builder loan doesn’t give you cash until the end of the loan term.
One Credit Builder vs. a secured credit card
A key difference between a secured card and a One Credit Builder account is the credit check process. Applying for a secured card could trigger a hard inquiry that could affect your score while setting up a One Credit Builder account won’t impact your credit. Security deposit requirements for a secured card could also be higher, with some requiring a deposit of $49 or more compared to One Credit Builder’s $20 minimum.
With a One Credit Builder account, what you charge will automatically be paid off each month. With a secured card, you may have the option to make a minimum payment and carry a balance. If you don’t pay off the secured card each month, you’ll likely have to pay interest.
There are some advantages to taking out a secured card, however. For one, your card account may be reviewed periodically to see if you qualify for an unsecured card. If approved, you could get upgraded to an unsecured card, and your deposit may be returned. You may also get access to a higher credit line and other card perks.
What we like about One Credit Builder
Using One Credit Builder could be a hassle-free way to start building credit. Here’s what we like about it.
- It’s free. There are no fees to open this account and no interest charges.
- No hard inquiry is required. You don’t have to undergo a hard credit inquiry to open this account.
- Get started with a small amount. If you don’t have a large amount of money to transfer into your One Credit Builder account, you can start with just $20.
- Payments are made automatically. One reduces your available cash in the One Credit Builder auto-save pocket when you make purchases and stashes that money away to make your automatic monthly bill payment. This helps make sure your bills are paid on time and could help you build good credit.
What One Credit Builder could improve
There are a lot of positives about One Credit Builder, but these features could make it even better:
- Clear credit requirements: More transparency on the credit eligibility criteria could make it easier to identify whether you might qualify.
- Specifics on where payments are reported: One Credit Builder doesn’t specify which credit bureaus payments are reported to. The company says your payments will be reported to the major credit bureaus but doesn’t say if that includes, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Who can get a One Credit Builder account?
You must first get a One checking account to open up a One Credit Builder account. To open a One account, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident 18 years or older. The application for a One account involves a soft credit inquiry, and you’ll need to share your Social Security number to confirm your identity.
The company states that One Credit Builder accounts are “automatically available to most One customers who are (re)building their credit.” Your credit history is considered to see whether you qualify, but the website doesn’t outline the specific credit requirements.
How to sign up for One Credit Builder
If you already have a One account, you may see the option to sign up for the One Credit Builder pocket in your account dashboard. From there, you can transfer money from other One accounts to One Credit Builder, and then you can make transactions.
If you don’t already have a One account, you’ll need to sign up for One through the website or app. Be sure to have your Social Security number and government-issued ID handy because you may be asked for them. After your One account is ready to go, you may get the option to set up the One Credit Builder pocket.
Learn how to sign up for a One account in our One review.
One Credit Builder customer service
One customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST by phone, chat, or email. You can also access the One knowledge database online for Credit Builder help 24/7.
FAQs about One Credit Builder
Is One a legit bank?
One isn’t a bank — it’s a fintech company that offers money management and credit-building tools. The cash you deposit into accounts at One is held with its partner bank, Coastal Community Bank. Coastal Community Bank is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 should the company fail. If you’re shopping around for a new account, it’s always important to look for deposit insurance, and the best banks clearly outline how your money is protected.
How is One Credit Builder different from a credit card?
Credit card accounts typically require a hard inquiry to apply for and they are separate credit line accounts. One Credit Builder is not a separate credit line; instead, it’s part of your One account.
There’s no interest with One Credit Builder because what you charge to the account is automatically repaid each month for you from what’s in your account balance. In comparison, you’re responsible for making each payment on your credit card, and interest may be charged if you don’t pay off the bill in full each month.
Does One Credit Builder really work?
On-time payments that appear on your credit report using One Credit Builder could be positive for your score, but the exact results you’ll see may vary.
Keep in mind that factors beyond payment history also affect your score, such as your debt balances and whether you have any negative account or late payment history. Although on-time payments could help you build history over time, negative records already on file could still impact you as well.
The bottom line on One Credit Builder
One Credit Builder is a set-and-forget approach to building credit. You make purchases and then sit back as payments are made for you. In turn, those payments build your on-time payment history with credit bureaus.
Because of its convenience, One Credit Builder could be a good option to consider if you need to build credit quickly. Signing up for One is easy and free. After setting up the One Credit Builder feature, you could be on a faster track to improving your credit to meet your financial goals.