Kikoff Review: An Online Credit Creator

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Quick take: Kikoff is a San Francisco-based company that offers a $500 revolving subscription line of credit to help people build their credit. The line of credit can be used to purchase items from the company’s online store. Kikoff then reports reimbursement for those purchases to two credit bureaus. Since no bank account is required to apply for Kikoff, it has become a popular option for people with bad credit scores who do not meet most of the requirements set by banks.
  • Costs
  • Functionality
  • Ease of application
  • Customer service

How did we calculate this?

Advantages

  • Of no interest
  • No credit check
  • No additional costs beyond the monthly subscription
  • Can help establish credit or improve existing credit
  • Officially recognized by Experian and Equifax
  • 100% commitment to data protection and security

The inconvenients

  • Capped at $500
  • $2 monthly subscription fee
  • Not available in some states
  • Credit only valid in the Kikoff store
  • Requires the user to spend money on potentially unwanted items
  • No phone support

What is Kikoff?

Kikoff is an online credit builder offering a $500 revolving line of credit. It helps people improve their credit score by making purchases from Kikoff’s online store which the company then reports to the credit bureaus.

In most other cases, it’s hard to get a line of credit if you have a bad credit score. However, Kikoff does not check your creditworthiness before granting you a line of credit.

How it works?

When you apply for Kikoff membership, you get a $500 revolving line of credit. It’s basically a continuous line of credit that stays open for as long as you want.

To improve your credit score, you can make purchases in the Kikoff store on this line of credit. Rather than charging interest, Kikoff charges a monthly subscription fee of $2 — the minimum commitment is 12 months — which is applied to your balance. So your payments are $2 per month as long as you maintain your subscription, but you’ll have to pay off any remaining balance in full if you decide not to renew.

Kikoff reports to Equifax and Experian. Your Kikoff revolving line of credit appears as a revolving credit account, like a credit card, on your Experian and Equifax credit reports.

Since timely payments are an integral part of building your credit, Kikoff sends you reminders for monthly payments. Credit utilization rates also affect your score. Kikoff reports low usage of 2% each month. Plus, you can see your free VantageScore and monitor how your credit score has improved since you created the account.

Fees and Penalties

Kikoff doesn’t charge any interest or late fees, but failing to make payments on time will hurt your credit score.

The only fee charged is your $2 monthly subscription fee, which you’ll pay for at least a year. However, you will need to make purchases in the Kikoff store to create credit. Product prices start at $10.

How to register

Just go to the Kikoff website and click on the “Sign Up” option. After that, you need to provide some personal information, such as your phone number, name, address, and social security number.

Kikoff will need to verify your identity. Once you’re approved, you can start monitoring your balance, credit scores, payments, and more once you’ve created an online account.

Although you don’t need a bank account to benefit from a Kikoff account, you will need to link a payment method to make payments on your purchases. Note that if you link a credit card, you will increase that card’s balance each time you make a Kikoff payment, potentially negating any benefit you may derive from your Kikoff account and increasing the costs associated with the account.

Difference from competitors

Kikoff’s most notable competitor is the online credit creator called Self. Self charges you an administrative fee for the line of credit it offers. Additionally, it differs from Kikoff in that your line of credit may vary.

Here’s how they compare:

Characteristics Kikoff Self
Credit check No No
Line of credit amount $500 Up to $1,800
Access to funds Via the Kikoff store only None until the end of the loan term, when the loan amount less administrative fees and interest, currently totaling $89 to $146, depending on the loan amount and term, is returned to the borrower
Cost $2 per month Administrative fee of $9 plus interest ranging from 15.65% to 15.97% APY
Reports Equifax and Experian Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

Alternative credit creation methods

Here are other ways to accumulate credit if you don’t want to use Kikoff:

  • Secure credit card: A secured credit card is backed by an up-front cash deposit and is available to people whose low credit scores might not allow them to qualify for unsecured credit cards. If you make your payments on time, banks will allow you to switch to unsecured credit cards within a few months of assessment. Plus, you use the card the same way you would any credit card, and you won’t pay a monthly subscription fee like the one charged by Kikoff.
  • Get a credit to pay the rent: If you pay rent for your home and don’t want to put down an initial deposit for a secured credit card, you can take advantage of the services of a rent reporting company to make your rent count towards your credit score .

Final take

The service offered by Kikoff could be beneficial for people who want to build up credit and cannot get a secured credit card. The catch is that in addition to paying a $2 monthly subscription fee, you have to purchase products that you may or may not want or need from the Kikoff store. The Kikoff site does not indicate the types of products it sells. Therefore, Kikoff is best considered a last resort.

FAQs

Credit builders like Kikoff can help you build the credit you need to get a credit card or car loan, or maybe even rent an apartment. But these are less simple products than other credit builders, such as secured credit cards. The answers to these frequently asked questions can help you decide if a Kikoff account is right for you.

  • What is Kikoff?
    • Kikoff is a fintech company offering a $500 revolving line of credit that helps you build credit by reporting your payments to credit bureaus.
  • How does Kikoff work?
    • Kikoff is a membership program with a monthly subscription fee of $2. Once you’ve been approved for an account, you can use your line of credit to make purchases in the Kikoff store. Your $2 monthly fee, which you’ll pay through a linked bank account, debit card, or credit card, pays off your balance over time.
  • What can I use my Kikoff account for?
    • You may only use your Kikoff account to make purchases from the Kikoff store. Kikoff notes that the products start at $10, but it doesn’t list the types of products it sells. Therefore, you may need to purchase products that you do not wish to create credit using your Kikoff account.
  • Can I open a Kikoff account without money?
    • Yes, but you’ll need to link a payment method to your account to clear your balance.
  • Is Kikoff really free?
    • No. Although Kikoff does not charge interest or late fees, it charges a monthly subscription fee of $2. The minimum subscription period is one year.
  • Is Kikoff legit?
    • Kikoff is a legitimate company. It was launched in June 2021, according to American Banker, with backing from NBA star Stephen Curry, Wex payments company CEO Melissa Smith and Teresa Ressell, who was previously chief financial officer for the US Treasury Department. .

Daria Uhlig contributed reporting for this article.

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About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing, and personal finance.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in management information systems with a minor in business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He has helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he’s not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outdoors with his children.

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