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Extra Credit Card Reviews: a Legit and Safe Way to Build Credit?

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Want to boost your credit score? The Extra debit card positions itself as a simple solution.

But is it really all that? I’m not 100% convinced.

The bottom line? If you’re thinking about getting an Extra Card to improve your credit, there are a few things you should know before you sign up.

While the card does work to improve your credit, there are a few things about Extra that I’m not thrilled about — I’ll explain everything you need to know in this article. But first, let me suggest a solid alternative…

When it comes to credit-building cards, I prefer Chime.

Beyond merely a card, Chime is a complete financial experience that also offers credit-building tools.

Chime offers access to ATMs, a high-yield savings account (HYSA), and a free credit-building feature for customers with at least $200 in their checking accounts. Plus, Chime’s credit building is more comprehensive than Extra’s, as it reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Disclaimer: Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

The Bottom Line: Does Extra Card Really Work?

Sort of. The Extra Card is a debit card that builds credit, but it only reports your payments to two of the three major credit bureaus, which makes it less beneficial than building your credit with a credit card.

If you don’t have any other options and can’t get approved for a credit card due to poor credit, Extra is a good option. But if you have any other means of building your credit, I recommend going with Extra’s competitor Chime.

What is Extra?

Extra is a special debit card designed to make it easier for people with bad credit histories to improve their credit and boost their credit scores. The Extra Card is a debit card, not a credit card, so you can sign up without a credit check, which makes it possible to get an account even with poor credit.

How Does the Extra Debit Card Work?

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When you sign up for an Extra Card, Extra gives you a certain amount of buying power based on how much money you have in your bank account. Your spending power isn’t equal to your account balance, but the more money you have in the bank, the higher your Extra spending power will be.

When you make purchases with your Extra card, the company loans you the money and repays itself directly from your account the next day. Extra reports your on-time payments to Experian and Equifax, which — in theory — will build your credit over time.

I say “in theory” because there’s a glaring gap in Extra’s service. The company does not report your payments to TransUnion, the third credit bureau that plays a major role in determining your overall credit score. That’s a problem because banks use your full credit score from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion when you apply for a loan.

Since Extra doesn’t report your payments to TransUnion, your credit history will be different between Experian/Equifax and TransUnion if you use Extra as your primary means of building credit. Unfortunately, that means you’re more likely to have trouble getting a good rate for a loan than someone who builds their credit without using Extra.

The other issue with Extra is that the company charges $20 per month for access to its credit-building card. While that’s not too steep, virtually all real credit cards don’t charge monthly fees.

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Extra Debit Card: Key Features

Here’s a brief summary of the Extra debit card’s key features:

Pros

  • Helps you build a credit history with Experian and Equifax
  • Doesn’t require a credit check
  • Use it like a credit card
  • Is a debit card that builds credit
  • Optional rewards program (costs extra per month)
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Doesn’t report payments to Equifax
  • No ATM access unlike other debit cards
  • Credit-building card costs $20 per month
  • Rewards cost an additional $5 per month

Extra Debit Card Reviews: What are Customers Saying?

Here’s how real-life Extra customers rate the company and what they have to say in Extra credit card reviews:

Trustpilot: 4.0 out of 5.0

Google reviews: 4.6 out of 5.0

BBB: A-

Let’s start with the positives.

Many customers report significant credit score improvements after using the Extra Card for a few months. While that’s obviously a good thing, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to get a good rate on a loan.

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Another common point of positivity throughout Extra reviews is the quality of the company’s customer support. Extra’s support is available 24/7, and customers who had to contact the company say the support team is friendly and helpful.

Other Extra credit card reviews mention that the Extra mobile app is well-designed and easy to use.

Even though Extra gets mostly positive reviews, there are a few recurring negative points I want to mention.

First, some users mention bugs in the Extra app, mostly related to the user interface not updating to reflect increased spending power when they increase their bank account balance. It’s hard to say whether or not this is an issue on Extra’s end or simply a delay in the communication between some customers’ banks and Extra, but it’s worth mentioning.

Second, Extra’s rewards program is almost universally mocked in reviews. Not only does it cost an extra $5 per month on top of the base card, but the rewards you accumulate can only be spent in the Extra store. I understand that debit cards don’t usually have any rewards program, but I agree with the customer reviews that the rewards program is not worth it.

To sum it up: Extra’s customers are mostly satisfied with the company’s credit-building service and customer support, but the rewards program and mobile app need some retooling.

Extra Debit Card: Minimums and Fees

The good news is that you don’t need to have a minimum credit score or account balance to get an Extra debit card. Since Extra doesn’t perform a credit check on its customers, you can get a card even if you have bad credit, or no credit, for that matter.

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Now for the bad news. Extra’s debit card costs $20 per month for the basic card and $25 for the rewards card. I have a hard time justifying $20 per month for a credit-building card when there are other options that don’t charge anything — more on that in a bit.

However, if you can’t access other options and can’t build your credit organically, then it’s probably worth spending the $20 per month until you can get approved for a credit card.

How to Reach Extra: Customer Service Options

Extra offers a few ways to get in contact with support if you need some help.

The easiest way to get help is by live chatting through Extra’s mobile app. This is the most convenient method, but it’s really only good for basic problems.

You can also contact Extra via email or phone. I like that Extra also has two separate phone support numbers, one for general issues and one dedicated to handling lost or stolen cards. I know that I want to get in touch with someone immediately when I realize I don’t have my card, and being able to call a line that’s only for freezing your card is a big plus.

Safety Features: Is Extra Card Safe?

Is Extra Card safe? Yes, it’s as safe to use as any other mainstream debit card.

The company uses Dwolla and Plaid to process your payments and interface with your bank. Both services are heavily used throughout the financial industry, so you don’t have anything to worry about when using Extra.

How to Open an Extra Account

Opening an Extra account is very straightforward. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Extra website. Click on the “Get Started” button in the top bar.
  2. Enter your personal information. You need to enter your name, date of birth, and contact information before you can sign up.
  3. Confirm your identity. Extra will send you a text message to confirm that the information you entered is correct and to verify your identity.
  4. Link your bank account. Connect Extra to your bank account by entering your account number and your bank’s routing number.
  5. Make your first payment. Make your first $20 monthly payment to activate your Extra account.

That’s it! Once you sign up, Extra will send you a physical card in 7–14 business days.

Is Extra Debit Card Legit?

Yes, the Extra debit card is legit. Extra credit card reviews are full of happy customers who have improved their credit scores using Extra’s debit card. The company uses well-vetted financial services like Dwolla and Plaid to manage your account, which makes it safe and dependable.

If you happen to have an issue, Extra’s customer service is responsive and helpful, with dedicated channels for fraud and lost or stolen cards.

Extra Vs. Chime

Extra offers great credit-building through its debit card, but it’s not the only game in town. Chime is a complete financial app with way more features than Extra. It comes with a Credit Builder feature, which is free to use when you have a Chime checking account with a balance of at least $200.

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I am personally a big fan of Chime, and I think its credit-building service is better than Extra’s in almost every way. Let me tell you why.

Extra
Chime
What is it?
A debit card that builds credit
A full-featured finance app
Overall rating
4.3 out of 5.0
4.8 out of 5.0
Minimum deposit
None. Extra uses your bank account.
$200 for access to credit building
Monthly fees
$20 for a basic card, $25 for the rewards card
None
Rewards?
Yes, for $5 more per month
No
Credit reports?
Yes, but only to Experian and Equifax
Yes
Best features
Easy sign up
Free credit building with a checking account
New account promo?
No
Yes, $100 for referrals

Extra vs. Chime: How Do They Compare?

Extra and Chime are really in two different classes when it comes to financial apps. Extra is purely for building your credit by using a debit card, while Chime is a complete financial app.

Extra is best for people who don’t want anything besides barebones credit-building. Signing up for Extra is extremely easy, and its service delivers on its claims. However, Chime’s credit-building features are just better, so I would always choose Chime over Extra.

Chime is best for people who need to improve their credit scores but also want banking features. Chime offers access to ATMs, a high-yield savings account (HYSA), and a free credit-building feature for customers with at least $200 in their checking accounts. Chime’s credit building is also better than Extra’s since it reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

Final Word:

Extra’s debit card helps you build credit but it doesn’t report your payments to all three major credit bureaus, which means you might run into issues down the road for having an inconsistent credit history. Extra customers say that using Extra’s card improves their credit, but it’s not clear what impact mismatched credit histories will have in the long run.

If you need to build your credit and can’t get approved for a credit card, I recommend opening a Chime account and using its built-in credit-building feature.


FAQs:

Is Extra credit card legit?

Yes, Extra credit is 100% legit. Using Extra’s card will most likely boost your credit card, and its services are backed by major industry mainstays like Dwolla and Plaid. If by “is extra credit card legit” you mean “does Extra card really work,” the answer is also yes. Tons of customer reviews say that Extra’s card improves their credit after a few months of regular use.

What is better: Chime or Extra?

Chime is better than Extra in virtually every way. Chime’s credit-building is free, and it reports your payments to all three major credit bureaus. Extra’s card costs $20 per month, and it doesn’t report your activity to TransUnion.

Can you take money off the Extra card?

Extra’s card accesses your bank account to provide you with spending power, so you don’t have to load money or take money off of it.

Does Extra debit card affect credit score?

Yes, it does. Extra credit card reviews are full of people who report that using Extra’s debit card to build credit has improved their credit scores.

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About the author

Dan Simms

Contributor

Dan got started investing in the stock market in his early 20s, and he fell in love with making his money work for him. Flash forward 10 years, and he now owns multiple properties (one of which is a short-term rental), uses fractional investing apps like Acorns, and has a hand in cryptocurrency. He enjoys sharing what he's learned and spreading the joy of investing with other people in all different walks of life.