Credit Builder Program

Interested in building your credit for a brighter financial future?

A credit builder is a small, secured loan that you pay off over 12 months. We report your monthly payments to the credit bureaus and provide you with credit coaching to improve your credit score.



  • Payments reported to the 3 major credit bureaus

  • One-on-one credit coaching to help you achieve your goals

  • We track improvement in your credit score at 6 and 12 months

1. Take the Are You Ready? Quiz. This short questionnaire is your first step to making sure this is the right program for you.


2. Check out the Terms to learn the basics of the program.

3. Watch or attend the Orientation.

4. Click here to complete the application (only after steps 1-3)

5. Pay your application fee of $25 for individuals or $40 for 2 people (click here)

  • The application fee covers your first credit report pull, setting up your loan in our system and the credit reporting system, staff time reviewing your application and credit, and your appointment to review your credit and sign your loan documents. 

  • Do this BEFORE your appointment

6. Schedule an intake appointment and turn in all your documentation. 

  • You'll review your credit report and sign your loan documents officially enrolling you in the program.

    • No loan payments are due until 19-45 days after you sign your Loan Agreement, so you don’t have to worry about that.

    • If, after reviewing your credit report, the program manager does not recommend you enroll in the credit builder program, you can still meet to review your credit report and start on a plan for your credit.

We can’t wait to see you! We’re so excited to help you on your credit journey.


The Basics


The credit builder program helps borrowers build a credit history to prepare for homeownership, small businesses, car loans, renting an apartment, and more. 

Our credit builder is a small, secured loan that you pay off over 12 months. We report your monthly payments to the credit bureaus and provide you with credit coaching to improve your credit score. 

Is the Credit Builder Right For You?


Take the quiz to your left, or review the list below! 

  1. I am an Oregon resident

  2. I am ok with waiting 12 months to get my money back.

  3. I am at least 18 years old, or at least 16 years old and my parent or legal guardian will cosign.

  4. I am ready to prioritize building my credit score

  5. I either don’t have a credit score or I have a score under 700 (see the FAQ for exceptions)

  6. I can afford the monthly payment

  7. I either have no open, active credit (credit cards or loans I am using and making payments on), or I have only a few open credit lines

  8. I can afford and am willing to pay the application fee of $25 ($40 for couples)

  9. I am willing to pay the processing fee of $30-100 (depends which level you choose -- you can pick later) (this will come out of your loan proceeds, meaning you will get back less than you pay in)


Frequently Asked Questions


A credit builder is a small, secured loan that you pay off over 12 months. We report your monthly payments to the credit bureaus and provide you with credit coaching to improve your credit score.


What are the Benefits?

  • We report your monthly payments to the 3 major credit bureaus, which helps you improve your credit.

  • We provide one-on-one financial coaching to help you achieve your credit goals

  • We offer optional classes and additional coaching if you're looking for a little more help.

  • We track improvement in your credit score at 6 months and 12 months

  • After 6 months of on time payments, we can refer you to one of our banking partners for a secured credit card if you desire.

How does it work?

  • Learn. You are required to complete a Credit Builder Orientation before applying. You can watch the video online, or attend our credit class in person. Here you will learn about how credit works, and how a credit builder can help. If you have never seen your credit report, or if you know you have a lot of things to fix, we strongly recommend taking the credit class in person. 

    • The main things you need to know are:

      • 0% interest rate

      • $25 application fee ($40 for two people)

      • 12 month term

      • You don't receive any money up front (you get your loan at the end of the 12 months)

      • Includes 3 personalized credit coaching sessions

      • $30 fee deducted from your loan at the end for processing/credit reporting/program maintenance

        • This reduces the amount you get back

        • You pay $16.67/mo payment for 12 months for a total of about $200

        • You will get back $170 - the other $30 is the processing fee

  • Apply. The application has 2 parts: an Intake Form and a Loan Application. Please fill both out completely; they go to different departments. 

  • Pay your application fee: Click Here

  • Meet with the Innovative Products Manager to review your credit report and sign loan documents.
  • Start Payments. 19-45 days after your appointment, your loan payments will start (you'll get the exact date at your appointment).

    • You will not receive a check at your enrollment. This loan is 100% secured. That means you don’t get your money until you make all 12 loan payments. Consider it a kind of “assisted savings”, so you have a whole year to figure out the best use for your loan money!

  • Monitor and grow. We will pull your credit three times: at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. You have the option to set up an appointment to review your report and credit score at those times (you are responsible for setting appointments up).

  • Get paid! About 3 weeks after making your last loan payment, you’ll receive a check for the amount of your loan minus the processing fee. You can use this money for whatever you like! Here are some ideas:

    • Pay off or settle a collections account.

    • Pay down debt.

    • Start or add to a savings account.

    • Start a college savings fund for your kids.

    • Start a car repair fund.

    • Use the money for closing costs or other home buying expenses, like your home inspection.


Orient Yourself!

Watch the following orientation video to learn about the complex world of credit building, and a little more about what the Credit Builder Program can and cannot help you with. It's only about half an hour long. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish. When you're done, take the quiz below before applying.


Test Yourself!

Take this handy-dandy quiz to see how much you've learned. You might need to go back and watch the orientation again if you have trouble. This quiz is REQUIRED before your application is processed!


Pay the Application Fee Online!

  • Application fee of $25 ($40 for joint applications at the Bronze Level only; all other levels include up to 2 people). Please note "CB Application Fee" when making your payment. Clicking the payment button will take you to a new web page:

  • You may also pay by money order or check (mailed to: Innovative Changes, 2027 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232) or stop by our office to pay with cash (in person only, please do not mail cash. We recommend calling ahead to make sure someone is here to take your payment.)

NOTE REGARDING PAYMENTS: After you click the button, the next screen will say "Donate to Innovative Changes". Please click "Donate with a Card". Although the Paypal "language" says Donate, your payment will be processed and applied to your account.