Extra Debit Card Review: The Debit Card That Builds Credit

GOBankingRates Score

4.2
Quick Take: The Extra debit card enables users with low or no credit to build or improve credit by making purchases with a debit card. While cardholders won't incur interest charges as they would with a secured credit card, they will pay a considerable subscription fee for the service. The higher subscription tier also allows users to earn rewards for purchases, but rewards are not as high as with some secured credit cards. Users who would likely carry a balance on a credit card might find the Extra debit card an ideal solution for controlling spending and building credit while earning a few rewards points.
  • Cost
    3.5
  • Rewards
    4.0
  • Annual Fee
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    4.3
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Enables cardholders to build credit and improve credit scores
  • Allows some cardholders to earn rewards
  • Can be used anywhere in the U.S. where Mastercard is accepted
  • Sends purchase notifications via text message to help protect against fraudulent purchases
  • Can be used with Apple Pay

Cons

  • Only available to those with a Plaid-compatible bank account
  • Subscription fees on the high side
  • Only reports to two of the three major credit bureaus
  • Transaction amounts are limited initially
  • Rewards can only be used at the Extra Store

About the Extra Debit Card

Founded in 2020, Extra is a debit card provider that enables debit card holders to build and improve their credit score by making purchases with the Extra debit card. Extra reports a cardholder’s monthly spending transactions as on-time payments to two of the three major credit bureaus at the end of each month. Regular card use can help show a steady habit of on-time payments and gradually increase a cardholder’s credit score.

Extra uses a subscription model rather than a fee structure for its service. Cardholders can sign up for one of two subscription levels, both of which provide credit-building capability. No credit check is required, so even those with poor credit scores or no credit history qualify.

How the Extra Card Works

Each new cardholder is given a spending limit, or what Extra calls Spend Power. Spend Power is based on the cardholder’s real-time bank balance, member history and pending transfers. The more a cardholder uses their Extra card, the more Spend Power they earn. Users can also earn Spend Power by completing daily tasks from the app.

When a cardholder first joins Extra, Spend Power is limited due to a lack of payment history. Spend Power increases as the cardholder displays good payment habits and increases the balance in their connected bank account.

As the cardholder uses their card to build up Spend Power, they also build credit. Each time a cardholder uses their card, Extra extends credit for the purchase but immediately deducts the purchase amount from the cardholder’s linked bank account the next day. At the end of each month, all payments are reported to Experian and Equifax. The more purchases made, the more transactions that get reported, slowly building the cardholder’s credit score.

Improving Credit Scores Through Utilization

Extra can also help improve a cardholder’s credit utilization score. Because Extra pays itself off daily, the cardholder’s credit utilization is reset daily. Therefore, utilization has a better chance of staying below the recommended 30% threshold.

While Extra is designed to help cardholders avoid overdrafts, they can happen. Because credit is extended for that one day, a cardholder could trigger an overdraft if the Extra purchase amount is no longer available by the next day. These negative transactions get reported to the credit bureaus like all other transactions.

While the Extra card can help establish or improve credit, it can also hurt a person’s credit if they habitually overdraw their account when an Extra payment clears.

Key Features

While this simple card has very few features, it does provide a few perks for certain users. Here’s more on what cardholders can expect.

Cost

Extra cardholders must sign up for one of two subscription plans: the Credit Building plan or the Credit Building and Rewards plan. Both can be paid either monthly or annually.

  • Credit Building Plan: The Credit Building plan has one benefit — to help cardholders build credit. This plan is $8 per month or $84 per year. While the annual fee provides a bit of a discount, it is a steep fee for a card with no other perks.
  • Credit Building and Rewards Plan: Cardholders pay $12 per month or $108 per year for an Extra Credit Building and Rewards subscription. This subscription tier allows cardholders to earn rewards in addition to building credit.

Extra has no other costs, but the high subscription cost of this card might not be worth it for cardholders who don’t use the card enough to build a habit of on-time payments or who continue to damage their credit score in other ways. However, anyone who would likely be carrying a balance on a high-interest secured credit card might save money with the Extra card.

Rewards

Cardholders must subscribe to the Credit Building and Rewards subscription plan to earn Extra rewards. On this plan, cardholders earn five rewards points for every dollar spent. Rewards points can be used for free or discounted Extra Store purchases. According to the Extra website, store items range from AirPods to store gift cards.

Five rewards points can be worth up to one cent depending on what a cardholder chooses to redeem in the store. Cardholders who receive maximum points value in the Extra Store earn 1% in rewards. All purchases made by cardholders on the Credit Building and Rewards plan qualify for rewards. Extra may sometimes offer bonus rewards earning promotions.

Advice

Because a cardholder’s Spend Power is limited when they are new to the Extra platform, the ability to earn rewards points may be initially limited. So it might not make sense to pay extra for the Credit Building and Rewards subscription plan when first joining.

Annual Fee

Extra does not have an annual fee or other fees outside of the monthly or yearly subscription fee. It does not even charge an APR since the card requires payment in full within one day of every transaction.

Although paying the annual subscription fee upfront costs less overall than paying monthly, some Extra cardholders may benefit more from the monthly subscription model. Monthly subscribers can close their account and stop the monthly fee if they find another card option that betters suits their needs.

Customer Service

Cardholders who reach out for Extra customer service are put in touch with a White Glove Member Concierge. While this sounds like a fancy help system, it offers nothing more than the ability to chat online with a customer service representative.

Reaching out to the Member Concierge is as simple as tapping the chat option on the “Card Tab” of the Extra App or by using the chat option on the Extra website. There does not appear to be any other means of communicating with a concierge, but chat help is available 24/7.

Good To Know

Extra’s system sends a text notification to a cardholder each time a purchase is made. This notification feature can help cardholders spot fraudulent purchases sooner than later. Extra handles cases of fraudulent purchases and transaction disputes internally. Cardholders do not need to involve the bank linked to their Extra account.

Extra Debit Card vs. Competitors

The Extra card shares features with both prepaid debit cards and secured credit cards. Here is how the Extra debit card compares to competitors in both categories. 

Extra Debit Card vs. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card gives cash-back rewards and helps cardholders build credit like the Extra card. It has no annual or subscription fee, though a security deposit is required. Discover cardholders also get free access to their FICO credit score, which they can monitor as they build their credit.

Discover secured cardholders earn more in rewards than Extra cardholders. They receive 2% cash back rewards for gas station and restaurant purchases of up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and an unlimited 1% cash back rate on all other purchases. However, with a 23.24% annual percentage rate, a Discover cardholder who carries a balance will likely spend more on interest over the year than Extra cardholders will pay in subscription fees.

Extra Debit Card vs. Chime Credit Builder Card

The Chime Credit Builder Visa is also designed for building and improving credit. Unlike the Extra Debit Card, it has no fees or interest charges. With Chime Credit Builder, a user must have a Chime spending account linked to the Chime card, unlike the Extra card that allows cardholders to connect an existing bank account.

Like any secured card, a security deposit is required, but unlike many cards, there is no minimum deposit — though the deposit amount is the credit limit, so a higher deposit allows for more credit. The security deposit can be used to pay the monthly statement, but money will have to be redeposited to get back up to the same credit limit.

Chime might be a better option for those looking to build credit since it is fee-free.

Extra Debit Card vs. Capital One Quicksilver Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card helps cardholders build credit while earning 1.5% cash-back on each card purchase, so it has similar benefits to the Extra Debit Card.

Those with poor, fair or no credit may qualify for the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card with a minimum deposit of $200. The card has no annual fee, but it does have an annual percentage rate of 26.99%, even higher than the Discover it secured card. It would likely cost those with poor spending habits more than the Extra subscription fee.

Extra Debit Card vs. Bluebird American Express Prepaid Debit Account

The Bluebird American Express Prepaid Debit card cannot help build credit, but it has no monthly fees. A prepaid card is ideal for keeping spending in check for those with spending problems that have led to credit problems. Plus, it cannot trigger overdraft fees since the card is prepaid.

The Extra card might not allow cardholders to overspend by much. Still, Extra cardholders can trigger overdrafts if they use the Extra card without enough available funds in their linked bank account. 

Final Take

The Extra debit card makes it easy for those with poor or no credit to build credit, but that service does come at a price. Subscription fees are relatively steep compared to many prepaid debit cards and secured credit cards. However, for someone serious about building credit, the subscription fee can be well worth the cost if it can help them avoid the high cost of bad credit.

FAQ

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about Extra.
  • How much does the Extra debit card cost?
    • Depending on the chosen subscription plan, Extra is either $8 per month or $84 per year without the ability to earn rewards on purchases. For cardholders who want to earn rewards on purchases, the subscription plan is $12 a month or $108 per year.
    • The Extra Debit card does not charge any other fees.
  • Does the Extra debit card really work?
    • The Extra Debit Card works to slowly build or improve credit for those who use the Extra card frequently. The card must be used for Extra to report the transactions to the credit bureaus.
    • Extra can report debit card purchases as credit transactions because they are. When a cardholder uses their card, Extra extends credit for the purchase and deducts the purchase amount from the cardholder's linked bank account the next day.
  • Can I get an Extra debit card?
    • Regardless of their credit score, anyone can get an Extra debit card. There is no credit check. However, a Plaid-compatible bank account is required to link to the Extra debit card for funding purchases.
    • Applicants must be at least 18 years old with a social security number or taxpayer identification number and a home address. A P.O. box will not be accepted.
  • What is the Extra debit card?
    • The Extra debit card allows cardholders to build and improve their credit score by making purchases with the Extra card. Extra reports monthly spending as credit-worthy payments to two of the major credit bureaus at the end of each month, allowing cardholders to build credit gradually

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Extra. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Extra.

GOBankingRates maintains editorial independence. While we may receive compensation from actions taken after clicking on links within our content, no content has been supplied by any advertiser prior to publication. We always recommend reviewing the terms and conditions of any offer before signing up or applying.

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About the Author

Andrea Norris has been in the web publishing business for the past 15 years both as a content contributor and a copy editor specializing in personal finance, frugal living, home and auto topics. She writes both short and long-form content and is well-practiced in SEO keyword research and writing.
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