Using Kikoff to Build Credit [An Honest Review]

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There’s an unfortunate paradox built into the process of building up a credit history.

If you want to get access to credit to start building your credit history, you usually need to have some sort of credit history to show lenders. But in order to have a credit history, you need to have access to credit. It can be a chicken-and-egg scenario for people just starting out.

One potential solution is a service like Kikoff. Kikoff is a new entrant into the world of credit building, and it offers a few features that could make it worth considering if you’re looking for a way to build your credit history.

In this Kikoff review, I’ll be taking a close look at what the service offers and how it can help you build your credit. I’ll also give you an overview of the fees and terms, so you can decide if Kikoff is the right solution for you.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

What Is Kikoff?

Kikoff is a credit building service on a mission to help people with bad or non-existent credit build or rebuild their credit scores.

The company offers two financial products to this end:

  • Kikoff Credit Account
  • Kikoff Credit Builder Loan

But how do these products work? And do they actually help you build credit? Let’s take a closer look.

The First Product – Kikoff Credit Account

Kikoff’s Credit Account is a revolving line of credit—similar to a credit card, but with way more limitations.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You “apply” by creating a Kikoff account and are approved for a $750 line of credit.
  2. Kikoff then uses this line of credit to buy 12 months of its Credit Building Service for $60.
  3. You then pay Kikoff back in-full with 12 monthly payments of $5 (total: $60).
  4. You’re then free to either close your Kikoff Credit Account or purchase another Credit Building Service product to pay off over time.

This product helps you build your credit score by improving three of the factors that are (potentially) impacting your score negatively:

  • Payment History: Kikoff reports timely payments to Equifax and Experian, which can help improve your score.
  • Credit Utilization: Kikoff prices the “products” in their store so that you’re only ever using 3% to 10% of your credit limit, which is optimal for building credit.
  • Account Age: Kikoff reports the age of your account to Equifax and Experian, which can help lengthen your credit history.

How much does it cost?

All the Kikoff Credit Building Service products you can purchase with your Kikoff Credit Account cost a flat fee of $5/month—hence the $5/month minimum payments.

There are no administrative fees, late fees, interest rates, or annual fees to worry about.

What are the terms?

You’re free to extend the term of Kikoff’s Credit Building Service comes by buying extensions in the Kikoff store:

  • 8 Months: $40 (8 monthly payments of $5)
  • 10 Months:  $50 (10 monthly payments of $5)
  • 12 Months: $60 (12 monthly payments of $5)
  • 16 Months:  $80 (16 monthly payments of $5)

The terms here correspond with the amount of time it will take you to complete payments if you only make the minimum monthly payments. If you want to pay off your product faster, you can make lump sum payments at any time with no penalties.

The Second Product – Kikoff Credit Builder Loan

The Kikoff Credit Builder Loan is part installment loan, part savings plan.

Once you’ve made your first on-time payment through your Kikoff Credit Account, you’re able to take out a loan of $120. You don’t actually have access to this money, though—it gets deposited in a certificate of deposit (CD) account in your name.

Over 1 year, you make monthly installment payments of $10 towards the loan, which are reported to bureaus Equifax andTransUnion. At the end of your term, Kikoff closes the CD account and sends you the balance of $120.

Kikoff’s Credit Builder Loan helps you build credit in the same ways as the Credit Account.

How much does it cost?

In order to use Kikoff’s Credit Builder Loan product, you need to have an active Credit Account ($5/month). There aren’t any additional fees for the Credit Builder Loan.

What are the terms?

The Credit Builder Loan has a term of 1 year. You’re free to  pay off the loan early with no penalties—you’ll get all the money sent back to your account.

Who Can Use Kikoff?

Kikoff is available to all permanent U.S. residents over the age of 18, except for residents of:

  • Delaware (DE)
  • Indiana (IN)

Is There a Minimum Credit Score Requirement to Use Kikoff?

Nope! Kikoff is designed for people who are looking to improve their credit score—regardless of where they’re starting from. Even if you have no credit history at all, Kikoff can help you get started on the right foot.

What Credit Bureaus Does Kikoff Report To?

Kikoff (as a company) technically reports to all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. That said, their individual product each only reports to two of the bureaus:

  • Kikoff Credit Account: Reports to Equifax & Experian
  • Kikoff Credit Builder Loan: Reports to Equifax & TransUnion

This is a shame, as it would be helpful if Kikoff’s products reported to all three bureaus.

Kikoff Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No credit check
  • No credit limit
  • Helps improve your payment history, credit utilization, account age, and credit mix—all factors that positively impact your score
  • No administrative fees, late fees, interest rates, or annual fees
  • You can pay off products early with no penalties
  • Credit Builder Loan is free

Cons

  • Costs $5/month
  • Credit Account payments only reported to Experian and Equifax
  • Credit Builder Loan payments only reported to Equifax and TransUnion
  • Not available to residents of Delaware (DE) and Indiana (IN)
  • Score impact may be minimal

Kikoff Alternatives – Credit Builders Like Kikoff

Chime Credit Builder Credit Card

The Chime Credit Builder credit card is aimed towards people who are just getting started on their financial journey or have a not-so-great credit score that they need to work on building up. Chime offers a Secured Visa credit card, meaning that a minimum deposit is required to serve as collateral.

Self Credit Builder Loan 

Self calls its credit builder loans “Credit Builder Accounts”, but they work just like any other credit builder loan. You choose a Credit Builder Account from Self’s selection of four plans. Then, you make monthly payments for the duration of the term. Once you’ve made all of your payments, you can withdraw the money from your Credit Builder Account.

The Verdict

Overall, Kikoff has more pros than cons.  

The $5/month fee is reasonable, especially considering that most credit building products come with fees that are at least double that amount. And while it’s a shame that Kikoff’s products don’t report to all three major credit bureaus, they still report to two out of three—which is better than nothing.

If you’re looking for a way to build credit without incurring any interest charges, Kikoff is definitely worth considering. Just keep in mind that the impact on your score may not be as significant as you’d like it to be.

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