In the world of personal finance, a person’s credit score may be just as important as the number in their bank account.
Unfortunately, building credit is tricky, but Grain credit card is trying to simplify the process.
Grain is a credit building app that wants to see your credit score grow quickly.
Unlike other credit companies, Grain credit card does not use your credit score to check your credit worthiness. Instead, they analyze your bank account for its cash flow to determine approval.
Let’s read on to discover how Grain credit card works and find out whether this credit-building method is right for you.
What is the Grain Credit Card?
Grain credit card is an iOS App that allows you to access cash quickly while building your credit simultaneously.
It is a digital debit card, so there is no need to worry about it getting lost or stolen unlike a real credit card. The card links directly to its user’s bank account, so money is deposited directly into the account, it’s attached to. They use 256 bit bank-level encryption to ensure safety.
Grain credit card does not use a person’s credit score to determine eligibility. They want consumers to be able to build credit, so they don’t want to limit access based on poor credit.
Rather than check a person’s credit score for eligibility, Grain analyzes the cash flow of the provided bank account. Then, if approved, a person will have a line of credit issued directly to their account.
Grain Credit Card does not want to be like its competitors.
Their team has said, “We’ve fallen into the bait and switch traps of the credit industry ourselves – spending years paying off large amounts of bad debt at high-interest rates, which is why we built something better. A platform that puts your interests before shareholder bottom-lines.”
How Does Grain Work?
Grain is a digital credit card that links directly to its user’s selected bank account.
Once approved, a line of credit will be accessible through the checking account’s existing debit card from the bank info you provide.
The credit line is used like a regular credit card, save for the fact that it is linked through your checking account.
Grain reports to all three credit bureaus, so your credit score increases if you make payments on time. However, if you miss a payment, your credit score will decrease.
How to Set Up and Use Your Grain Credit Card
You can start using Grain credit card in a matter of seconds. To get started with Grain, you must first download their Grain App. It is currently only available on iOS, so, unfortunately, only Apple users have access at this time. There is a waitlist for Android users.
From there, you enter your personal information and link your current debit card to their platform. The company works with over 10,000 banks, so your bank should be on their list.
Grain will then analyze your cash flow, and if there’s a match, you may be pre-approved for a revolving line of credit. If so, you will then be able to transfer that credit into your checking account.
The credit line can then be used however you’d like.
Grain Credit Card Rates and Fees
The Grain app is free to download, but as with every financial products, fees are involved with all credit-boosting services.
It does not cost anything to open an unsecured credit line with a Grain account, but a secured line of credit will require a security deposit.
Fees include a 1% transfer charge for each withdrawal from your line of credit to your bank account. And if you want an instant transfer, the fee bumps to 1.5%.
For example, if you transferred $300 of your credit line to your bank account, you would owe $3 for a standard transfer or $4.50 for an instant transfer.
In addition to the transfer fee, an interest charge can add up.
If the entire statement balance isn’t paid in full by the due date, then interest charges will begin accruing.
The Grain credit card has an APR of 17.99%, but if you enable auto-pay set to cover the minimum amount due, the APR will drop to 15%.
It is possible to experience a sign-up finance charge of 7.5% off your unsecured credit limit and an annual fees of 8% of your credit limit.
Late fees of $5 charged for all late payments.
Pros and Cons of Grain Credit Card
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the Grain credit card.
- No credit check is required
- Revolving line of credit
- Reports to credit bureaus
- High fees and interest rate
- iOS compatible only
- Poor customer service
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Grain a little more in-depth.
No credit check required
Grain is a virtual credit card that does not rely on a person’s credit history to determine eligibility. Grain does not factor in credit score when deciding whether or not to approve a person for a line of credit. Instead, Grain analyzes the linked account’s cash flow to determine whether or not they want to offer a line of credit to that individual.
Revolving line of credit
Grain credit card works like a normal credit card in that it offers a revolving line of credit. Once you’re approved for a certain amount, you will always be approved for that amount, and it will be accessible to you as long as your bills are paid in full.
Reports to credit bureaus
Grain is able to boost its users’ credit scores because they report your account to the three main credit bureaus. Pay your balance on time, and your score will rise, but miss a payment, and it can fall.
High fees and interest rate
It’s impossible to avoid fees with the Grain digital credit card. It’s a free service to use until you transfer any of your credit lines to your account.
From there, it’s a 1% or 1.5% transfer fee, and then there may be sign-up or service fees. There is a late payment fee of $5 for every missed payment. APR is 17.99% for those who have not set up autopay, and it is 15% for those who have.
Only iOS compatible
At this time, Grain credit card is only iOS compatible. This severely cuts into its user base as many Android devices would like to use the app. However, there is a waitlist for those who do not have an Apple product.
Poor customer service
There have been many reports of poor customer service for this app. The App Store lists a rating of 4.7, but not all who have reviewed Grain are satisfied with their service.
Reviews have said they could not contact Grain customer support, and the fail to respond in a timely manner.
Is Grain Credit Card Right For You?
The Grain digital credit card aims to assist those looking to boost their credit score by offering a line of credit accessible without checking a person’s credit history.
By checking only cash flow, Grain offers many people access to credit-building money that they would not otherwise have.
Consider using Grain as a credit alternative, especially if a low credit score will hinder your chances of being approved for a traditional credit card.
Grain Credit Card Alternatives
While Grain credit card offers a simple service for people with bad credit, a better option might be going with a secured credit card.
A secured credit card requires a deposit, but that deposit is usually much lower than $500, and the interest rates are often lower as well. This is a far better choice than getting a payday loan or cash advance service.
The best part about a secured credit card is that it reports to the three major credit bureaus, so you can improve your credit score while also building up your savings.
A secured credit card we recently reviewed is OpenSky Credit Card. They are a reputable company with good reviews and a long standing reputation of customer service. OpenSky does not require a credit check, and they accept applicants with bad credit.
One of the great things about OpenSky is that you can start out with a $200 limit and then increase your limit by adding more money to your security deposit.
OpenSky reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you can improve your credit score while also building up your savings.
To learn more about OpenSky click on the button below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Grain easy to use?
Yes, Grain is a hassle-free app that can be found in the App Store. Simply follow the download instructions to get started. It will ask for personal and bank account information, and after it is done analyzing your account, it may pre-approve you for a line of credit. From there, you will be able to transfer money directly into your checking account.
Will Grain boost my credit?
Grain itself cannot guarantee a credit increase, but they have stationed themselves to help their clients boost their credit scores. It reports to all three major credit bureaus, so any account information associated with your transactions with them will be reported. Grain acts like a traditional credit service, so any on-time payments will be a boon to your score, while late payments will negatively affect it.
Wrapping It Up
Grain Technology is an alternative to other credit cards on the market. Rather than approve its clients through a credit check, they only look at a potential user’s cash flow in their linked checking account.
There are select fees associated with using Grain, but many are more than comfortable paying them as the service Grain provides is a large help.
Grain can be a great way to build positive credit history. However, based on our reviews, we suggest getting a secured card with a reputable company instead. In both cases, they will report your positive payments, but with a secured card, you get reliable customer service should you need it and far less fees. While OpenSky only offers a physical card, the benefit is that you can use your card anywhere credit cards are accepted, especially those that do not take a digital card or if you are having technical issues with your phone.
We hope you found this Grain review helpful and wish you good luck on your path to better credit.