Many people struggle to get or maintain high credit scores. Financial products that are not credit-card based, such as Extra, are designed to help consumers build credit without getting into debt. However, Extra debit can be costly.
Here’s what you need to know about Extra, the credit-building debit card.
- Spend on your Extra debit card today, and Extra pays itself back from your bank account the next day
- All spending on your Extra card is reported to Experian and Equifax
- Spending limit up to 80% of the balance in your bank account
What Is Extra?
Extra is a debit card that reports payments to credit reporting bureaus Experian and Equifax. When you swipe your Extra card, the company spots you the money. The next day, the funds are taken from your bank account. At the end of the month, Extra reports your payment history to the credit bureaus.
By reporting positive payment history, Extra helps you build credit. With better credit, you can take out lower-cost loans and qualify for the best rewards credit cards.
What Does It Offer?
Extra’s main product is the Extra Debit Card. These are some of the card features.
Spending Builds Credit
When Extra starts to report positive payment history to Experian and Equifax, your credit score from those two bureaus is likely to increase. However, you might run into issues because you won’t have the same positive credit history at TransUnion. Lenders may not view you as a favorable credit risk if you have vastly different credit history at different credit bureaus.
Spend Power based on your Bank Account Balance
Your “Spend Power” on your Extra debit card is based on your bank account balance and the length of time you’ve been a customer. Your max spend power will be 80% of your bank account balance, but it may be lower for new customers. If you have a large bank account balance, you can expect a fairly high spending limit each day. However, people with smaller account balances will have lower limits.
The Spend Power limit may seem a bit restrictive, but it ensures that Extra card users will be able to pay off their balance every single business day.
Spend Today, Pay Tomorrow
Extra gives its customers a single day, 0% loan on all purchases. When you spend on your Extra card today, the exact amount you spent will be automatically deducted from your bank account the next business day. Customers don’t have to worry about missing payments because Extra takes care of the payments for them.
Available in the U.S.
You don’t have to be a U.S. Citizen to use Extra. You must be 18 years old, have a U.S.-based bank account, a U.S. address, and a SSN or ITIN number.
Extra can be a great tool for people who don’t have a strong foothold in the U.S.-based financial system to start building credit.
Flat Monthly Fee
If you upgrade to the Rewards + Credit building app, you’ll pay $12 per month. However, this option comes with a 1% cash back reward on all purchases made on your debit card.
Option to Earn Cash Back
If you sign up for Extra’s Rewards + Credit Building option, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all debit purchases. Anyone who spends more than $400 on the debit card per month will come out ahead with this option (compared to the $8 per month option).
Of course, once you qualify for rewards credit cards, the 1% cash back reward offered by Extra seems less enticing.
Are There Any Fees?
You’ll pay $8 per month or $84 per year for Extra’s basic credit building service. This service reports spending to Experian and Equifax, and provides access to a financial tracking app.
To gain access to the 1% cash back rewards, you’ll have to pay $12 per month or $108 per year.
How Do I Contact Extra?
Extra calls its customer support team a white glove concierge, and the company is extremely accessible.
You can call the concierge team at 844-932-3955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For an online chat option Visit http://extra.app/help and select the chat icon. After a few minutes, you’ll be chatting with an online agent.
Customers who want to write to the San Francisco based company can send a letter to: 150 Sutter Street, P.O. Box 372, San Francisco, CA 94104.
How Does Extra Compare?
Despite its branding as a “debit card that builds credit,” Extra is very similar to a secured credit card, and it has a fairly high annual fee compared to other cards. This is not to say that the product is bad, especially if credit is important to you.
The company has more than 200,000 reviews on TrustPilot and seems like it’s really helping people to build credit.
Other credit building products such as credit-building loans from Self are less expensive than Extra, but the downside is that not everyone may have the discipline to set aside money to pay it down each month. The benefit of Extra is that it automates payments to lessen hassle and worry while ensuring the credit-building aspect.
Extra has one major drawback compared to its competitors. Extra only reports credit history to Experian and Equifax. Self Lender and most secured credit cards will report payments to all three of the major credit bureaus.
Check out the comparison table below to see other options, besides Extra and Self.
Borrow & Grow:
6:95% to 29.99%
80% of your connected bank balance
Borrow & Grow: $7,000
How Do I Open An Account?
Extra is available to most adults in the United States. To open an account you need to meet the following criteria:
- 18 years of age or older
- You must have an SSN or ITIN number
- A U.S. address where you can receive your Extra Card
- A U.S.-based bank account
Is It Safe And Secure?
Extra uses several third-party sources to ensure that your money and your data is safe.
It uses Dwolla (a well-known financial data company) to process payments and to set spend limits. For the financial tracker it uses Plaid, another third-party integrations. Both Dwolla and Plaid are considered leaders in the financial technology space and have strong records keeping information safe.
Extra also has several services in place that allow you to lock and replace stolen or lost debit cards. This keeps you from owing money that you didn’t spend. The company does not share your data except with the credit bureaus as agreed.
Overall, Extra’s formula for safe and secure handling of money and data makes a lot of sense. The company follows all rules and requirements regarding encryption and data privacy. Of course, a data breach or an attack from a hacker could lead to stolen information.
Is It Worth It?
In most cases, you can build credit without paying interest or fees. If the fees are not appealing to you, you can build credit by using a secured credit card and paying the bills on time or sign on as someone’s authorized user on their credit card to help build credit. However, these methods require time.
It can take many months of slowly building a positive credit history to be able to take out a mortgage or an auto loan at a reasonable rate. Even getting approved for rewards credit cards can take several years of on-time payments on a credit card.
While Extra isn’t necessarily a must-have, weigh the pros and cons and decide if you believe it’s useful. If you have struggled with credit card debt in the past, may want to rebuild credit without touching credit cards. Extra is a perfect tool for the credit card-averse. Folks in this camp may gladly pay $84 per year to avoid taking out a credit card. Extra doesn’t allow you to spend money that you don’t have, so you can build credit and stay on track with your other financial goals.
The downside for people considering Extra is that it doesn’t report to all three credit bureaus. To really build credit, you need credit history at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
1% on all debit purchases
Reporting to Credit Bureaus
Experian and Equifax (not TransUnion)
Ability to Connect Your Exiting Bank
Yes, 10,000+ banks can be used with Extra’s debit card
150 Sutter Street, P.O. Box 372, San Francisco, CA 94104
Web/Desktop Account Access