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Kikoff Review: Is the Popular Credit Builder Worth It?

logo for kikoff credit builder
Long Story Short
Kickoff offers a low-cost, no-credit-check credit line that helps people establish credit by building a positive payment history and credit utilization.

If you have no credit or bad credit, are ready to build on your credit history, and are looking for a low-risk, low-cost option, a Kikoff credit account could be a solid (and popular) way to start.

In this review, we'll discuss the ins and outs of Kikoff credit accounts. We'll cover how Kikoff works, the pros and cons, and alternatives to see how it compares to other apps for increasing your credit score.

Let's dive in.

Kikoff Pros & Cons


  • Establishes a $750 line of credit that is reported to the major credit bureaus
  • Low cost, starting at a flat $5/mo with zero interest
  • Easy-to-automate credit builder with auto-pay
  • Well-rounded feature set with progress monitoring and the ability to report rent payments for even more positive history
  • User reviews are excellent on both Google Play and Apple App Store


  • The Line of Credit does not give you cash like a typical personal loan; it's only to serve as a credit account for credit reporting purposes
  • Must sign up for the Kikoff line of credit to use other Kikoff features like rent reporting

How The Line of Credit Works

Screenshot of Kikoff credit service app
Some Kikoff users with scores under 600 claimed a 50 point increase with consistent, timely payments

Kikoff is a popular app used by over a million people that provides a path to establish credit history through key factors like positive payment history and credit utilization. To do this, they offer a line of credit – as well as additional products and features – specially designed to report positive financial behavior to the credit reporting agencies.

Specifically, Kikoff reports users' payment history, credit utilization and account age to the three major credit bureaus, which will increase a responsible user's credit score over time.

Getting Started

The Kikoff credit line (also known as their credit account) is designed to improve some of the most important credit score factors. It starts with getting an open credit line to appear on your credit report. As you make consistent, timely payments against the revolving line, it will build your payment history. Keeping your account open for a longer period of time will increase your average account age, which could also help improve your score.

Opening a Kikoff Credit Line is straightforward, usually taking only a few minutes. Here's how it works:

  1. Complete a simple credit account application that asks for basic personal information and your social security number (but doesn't perform a hard credit check, so there's no negative impact on your credit reports)
  2. After you apply, if qualified, you will be offered a $750 credit limit. The payments made against the items purchased from the Kickoff store will be reported to the credit bureaus, which allows you to build a better score.
  3. All payments are reported directly to the major credit bureaus, which enables you to improve your credit score by building positive payments, credit utilization, and a path to an older account history.

It is important to note that unlike a traditional credit line or line of credit, the Kikoff credit line is not cash you can use to buy anything you'd like. You can only use the line of credit in the Kikoff store, which sells a limited range of credit-building and financial education products. The benefit of the Kikoff credit line is that it reports the credit amount and payments to the credit bureaus to build credit, but it is not a loan.

Additional Kikoff Credit Building Options

After you open a Kikoff credit line, there are a few other option credit building you can enroll in to add even more momentum to your credit score efforts:

  • A credit-builder loan with no annual fees or interest. It comes with a $10 per month fee, and works by having a user pay a small amount into a special savings account each month. Kikoff reports these monthly payments to the credit bureaus, which will appear as a loan payment. After 12 months, you get the money you paid back to you, making it a relatively inexpensive and secure way to build credit history.
  • A secured credit card that works by depositing a certain amount of money upfront, which will serve as the card's credit limit. You only need to put a minimum of $50 down, and Kikoff will report activity on the card to all three credit bureaus.
  • Rent reporting requires you to link the bank account from which you make your rent payments, as well as provide your lease and landlord information. Once approved, Kikoff will report rental payments to Equifax. Plus, for a one-time fee of $50, Kikoff will report the past 24 months of your rental payment history, further building your payment track record to Equifax. (Pro tip: rent reporting is a great, under-the-radar way to build credit. If you're interested in other credit-building hacks, check out our article on this topic here.)

Flate-rate Pricing

kikoff pricing table showing flat $5 per month

Kikoff offers a flat $5/month subscription plan for its Kikoff Credit Service. The plan charges no administrative fees, no annual fees, no late fees, zero annual finance charges, and 0% APR. The flat five-dollar-per-month structure makes Kikoff a low-cost alternative to other credit-building products that require higher monthly fees (some other options approach 3x the monthly cost of Kikoff).

It is important to note that some of the other "add-on" features discussed here come with additional fees above and beyond the $5 monthly fee. For example, the Credit-Builder Loan has a $10 monthly fee, and getting Kikoff to report your prior 24-month rental history comes with a one-time fee of $50.

As with any financial product, it is important to review the terms, conditions, and costs and ensure you are clear on the total costs. Also, review your budget and goals and ensure that these costs are affordable and worth it.

User Experiences & Reviews

With over one million people already using Kikoff, it's impressive they've maintained excellent reviews across major platforms. On both Google Play and the Apple App Store, they have excellent reviews:

  • Apple App Store: 4.9 stars out of 100,000+ reviews
  • Google Play: 4.7 stars out of 48,000 votes

While app store reviews clearly show that the majority of customers are satisfied, digging a little deeper into Reddit shows some confusion around how the product works. This serves as a reminder that it's critical to understand your own goals, starting point, and how the Kikoff line of credit can help you to ensure it's the best fit for your situation.

Comparing Apps Like Kikoff

If you want to improve your credit, Kikoff might be right for you, but other credit builder loans and alternatives should be considered. Some other popular options include Self, Grow Credit, and Experian Boost.

Each option has pros and cons, depending on your financial situation and objectives. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various options to help you choose the best method for improving your credit score.

Self Credit Builder Loan vs. Kikoff

Most comparable to Kikoff for its excellent user reviews

Self Pros

  • Self can report the highest loan limit and once you've paid off your loan, you get the money back minus interest and fees
  • Self reports an average credit score bump of 49 points (for users who enroll in 12-month loan term and starting credit profile under 600)
  • Free rent reporting to all 3 credit bureaus

Self Cons

  • Self offers credit builder loans start at $25/mo, which is a higher monthly cost than Kikoff
  • Charges interest

Read our full Self Credit Builder review here

Grow Credit vs. Kikoff

Most comparable to Kikoff for its low-cost pricing

Grow Credit Pros

  • Reports common bill payments you already make (things like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime) to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Can help diversify your credit mix on your credit profile
  • Grow Credit users have observed up to a 44 point increase
  • Plans include a Free option with the most popular plan at $4.99/mo

Grow Credit Cons

  • Lower-cost plans report a lower credit limit to the bureaus, potentially limiting the impact to your score
Read our full review of Grow Credit

Experian Boost vs. Kikoff

Free option for those with no credit

Experian Boost Pros

  • Offers a free way to add bill payment data to your Experian credit file
  • No credit card required

Experian Boost Cons

  • Only adds payment history, not other factors like credit limit and credit utilization
  • Limited impact, considering signing up only impacts one of the three major credit bureaus
  • Some FICO Score Versions and lenders will ignore the benefits of a "boosted" score

Alternatives To Credit Builders Like Kikoff

While credit builder products can be a great way to build credit, they are not the way only. Consider a few other methods and approaches here, which could help boost a credit score as well:

Secured Credit Cards

With a secured card, a cash deposit is used as collateral to secure the card's limit. Secured cards' credit amounts function like your debit card, meaning the credit limit will equal the cash you fund it with. However, as a distinction from your debit, they offer benefits like reporting transaction history to the credit bureaus and sometimes even offer cash back on everyday purchases.

Co-Signers and Authorized Users

Getting approved for credit cards or personal and business loans can be made easier with the help of an authorized user or co-signer. With a co-signer or authorized user, both parties are responsible for making timely payments, and the cosigner's credit history will be considered when determining approval and interest rates. This can provide approval in cases where you would likely have been denied if you have poor or no credit. Positive payment on these loans get reported to the credit bureaus, helping improve the borrowers' credit scores.

It is important to keep in mind that any actions taken by either party could negatively reflect on one another if payments aren't made on time or there are large balances carried over each month. Always make sure that your payments are made on time or inform your co-signer before they are late so they can make the payment without incurring a late payment on their credit report.

Tips for Maximizing Your Kikoff Experience

kikoff app

When used properly, Kikoff can be a great tool to improve credit, but it's only one input that the credit bureaus will consider when determining your credit score. Remember to keep all of your other bills and overall financial behavior in top shape, too. Pay close attention to your payment dates and credit utilization to get the most out of your Kikoff Credit Account, and automate payments or set reminders for all of your bills' due dates. Any late or missed payments on accounts you have outside of Kikoff will likely adversely impact the progress you are making with a Kikoff credit builder loan.

  • Credit Utilization: Your credit scores heavily depend on your credit utilization, which ideally should stay below 15-30%. To help keep your credit utilization low, you should pay down balances as much as possible each month, make multiple payments in the same month if you can, and ask for a higher limit after a period of time.
  • Payment Reminders: Logging into your Kikoff credit account and taking note of the payment due date can help you stay on top of payments, which is crucial to establishing a strong credit score. To make sure that all monthly installments are submitted before their deadlines, consider setting up automated payments or scheduling regular transfers.

The Bottom Line

At $5 per month, Kikoff is affordable, user-friendly, and among the most well-reviewed credit builders, but other comparable options exist. As top alternatives, be sure to take a look at both Self and Grow Credit, which offer varying perks. Self refunds your loan amount after you've completed the program, and Grow Credit offers a similarly priced option to Kikoff.

It's also important to remember that while options like Kickoff, Grow Credit, and Self can help you improve your credit immediately, they come with some costs you won't get back. If you can be disciplined with your spending, it may also be wise to consider saving up for a security deposit to obtain a secured credit card to build your credit over time with less out-of-pocket expense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you actually get money from Kikoff?

Along with Kikoff's credit accounts, they also offer a credit builder loan. These loans allow you to get money by making monthly payments of $10 for 12 months. Upon completion of the payments, you will be entitled to all of the money you paid in, along with interest added on top.

Can you withdraw money from Kikoff?

It is possible to access money with the secured credit card option from Kikoff without incurring ATM fees at many locations.

Can I use Kikoff to buy anything?

You can use Kikoff to purchase goods and services from their store; however, you cannot use the Kikoff credit account for purchases outside of the store.

Is Kikoff good for credit?

Kikoff is a good option for building credit, as it offers Kikoff credit builder loans and secured credit cards even if you have poor or no credit, so you can establish a positive payment history. Customers have reported an average 58-point increase in their credit scores, thanks to Kikoff's payment reporting, debt level management, and length of account history features.

What is the maximum credit limit offered by Kikoff?

Kikoff offers its customers a credit limit of up to $750, which gives you enough to establish a positive payment history without significantly increasing your debt load.

Melissa Nason Ferreura

Melissa has worked in finance for over a decade, focusing on publications designed to help readers make their money work to their advantage to achieve both short-term and long-term financial goals.

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Checked by
Zach Robbins

Zach has over ten years of experience in financial services, recognized on Inc. 500 lists & recently featured in ConsumerAffairs, Forbes, GoBankingRates, Huffington Post, and U.S. News & World Report.

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