Whatever your history, whether it's checkered or nonexistent, building credit can be rough. Millennials are practically by definition neck-deep in debt, which has psychic costs as well as financial ones. That's one reason Amazon wants to offer some help, though as with all things Amazon, it's worth keeping your eyes open.
The Everything Store has just announced its new Credit Builder, a self-guided and self-reinforcing way to make inroads on improving your credit score. Users can set their own credit limit with a security deposit anywhere between $100 and $1,000. If you make your payments on time, you can get that security deposit back in as little as seven months as Amazon moves you to an unsecured card.
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Synchrony, the bank that's backing the Credit Builder, says the card is "putting credit in the hands of people in a responsible way." It's offering a number of perks, like 5 percent cash back on Prime purchases, an instant $10 gift card, and fraud protection. There's also a super low introductory interest rate and no annual fee.
As Lifehacker's Lisa Rowan points out, however, there are drawbacks. The APR on the Credit Builder is just over 28 percent, for one. "That interest rate is a big risk if you're not great at managing credit, no matter how much you want to improve," she writes, "and the retroactive interest on its 0 percent financing offers could come back to bite you." Still, those terms are becoming more normalized across the industry. Rowan advises uncertain applicants to consider a local bank or a credit union to help build credit first. If you're a heavy Amazon user, however, this program may be worth checking out.