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 build or 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

  • Optional classes if you're looking for a little more help.

  • Optional referral to other credit resources.

  • No social security number required!

How does it work?

  1. Learn the basics. You can get an idea of whether the Credit Builder is right for you by taking the quiz here. Then review the basics here.

  2. Complete an orientation (REQUIRED). You can either watch the recorded orientation online here or attend our credit class in person.

    • To attend the in-person class, click here, select the Financial Household Resiliency Series, and register for Class 4: Building, Protecting, and Repairing Credit.

    • Call 503-249-5205 x1400 if you have trouble registering.

    • Your $15 course fee will be deducted from your application fee if you decide to apply for the Credit Builder Program (making your application fee $10 instead of $25).

  3. Apply. You can apply online here, or you can print the application here and mail, email, or fax it to the office.

  4. Submit all the necessary documentation. You can email, mail, or fax these documents to us. We won't be able to process your application unless we have everything.

    • Proof of income for the previous month: pay stubs, signed letter from your employer stating your wages and number of hours worked, letter from SSI/SSD/TANF or other public program, etc.​

    • Most recent complete bank statement. Click here for a sample of what a bank statement looks like. This is NOT your running balance from your bank account; it should have your name and address on it, and should include all account fees, bounced transactions, etc.

      • If you do not have a bank account, you can skip this step; a bank account is not required.​

    • Copy of your government-issued photo ID​ (driver license, state ID, passport, or Matricula card). This document must state your date of birth.

    • If your Oregon driver license has your current address on it, skip this step. Proof of Oregon residency for each applicant; please provide:

      • ​One utility bill in your name with an Oregon address dated no later than 60 days prior to the date of application

      •     –OR—

      • Copies of two (2) pieces of mail in your name with an Oregon address dated no later than 60 days prior to the date of application.

  1. Enroll. Sign up for and attend an intake session, where you'll sign loan documents and be officially enrolled in the program.


The Basics

The credit builder program helps borrowers build a credit history to prepare for homeownership, small businesses, care loans, 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 at least 18 years old, or at least 16 years old and my parent or legal guardian will cosign.

  3. I am ready to prioritize building my credit score

  4. I either don’t have a credit score or I have a score under 700 

  5. I can afford the monthly payment

  6. 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

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

  8. I am willing to pay the processing fee of $30 (this will come out of your loan proceeds, meaning you will get back $30 less than you pay in)


The Facts:

  • The main things you need to know are:

      • 0% interest rate

      • $25 application fee ($40 for two people at the Bronze level)

      • 12 month term

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

      • 3 credit check-ins

      • Optional credit coaching

      • $30, $50, or $100 fee deducted from your loan at the end for processing/credit reporting (see below for more info)

  • Three levels to choose from. You can choose your level based on your income and how much credit help you want, but they all have the same effect on your credit. That means your credit will not improve more or faster with a higher loan amount. You can also purchase additional coaching or classes later on if you decide you want them:

    • Bronze Level:

      • $17/mo payment ($204 total)

      • Includes 3 personalized credit coaching sessions

      • $30 processing fee* (you get $170 back)

    • Silver Level:

      • $25/mo payment ($300 total)

      • Includes 3 personalized credit coaching sessions AND either a credit workshop or one additional 1-on-1 coaching session.

      • $50 processing fee*(you get $250 back)

    • Gold Level:

      • $50/mo payment ($600 total)

      • Includes 3 personalized credit coaching sessions, Credit Boot Camp (offered quarterly starting in April 2018) OR Financial Household Resiliency workshop series (offered each month), AND 1 additional coaching session

      • $100 processing fee*(you get $500 back)

*Processing fees are deducted at the end of the loan, reducing the amount you get back.

  • About the Group Enrollment
    • You'll "close" your loan at the Group Enrollment, meaning you'll sign your loan documents and agreements to get started. That's why it's important to submit your documents in advance -- so we have time to get your personalized loan documents ready.

    • You will not receive a check at your loan closing. 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!

    • You can attend a Group Enrollment without submitting your application if you just want to ask questions and make a more informed decision. However, you'll have to wait until the following Enrollment to get started, since we need your application in advance. If you're just there to ask questions, you'll be done in about 20 minutes!

  • What happens after the Enrollment? We will pull your credit three times: at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. You can sign up for credit coaching appointments with the program manager.

  • Get paid! About 3 weeks after making your last loan payment, you’ll automatically receive a check for the amount of your loan less 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.


Apply Yourself!

The Intake linked below is the first step in the application, and is required for all of our clients across all programs. It allows us to collect data on who we are serving in order to report our successes, apply for funding, and tailor our programs to our community. After you complete it, you'll receive your login information for the application in about a week. (Have your household income information ready.)

Feeling Kind of Old-Fashioned?

We like vintage things too, but we'd prefer you fill out the application online. 

If you really cannot complete the process online, please register here for an in-office viewing of the program orientation; scroll down the list and look for the Credit Builder Orientation Viewing Party. You'll get a paper application there. This isn't a live orientation, it's just an opportunity to learn about credit and pick up the application in person. If you choose this option, you have to come to our office twice to get started: once to view the orientation, and once to attend a Group Enrollment.