Monday, May 27, 2024

Constructing Credit score With Your Debit Card

Varo Financial institution’s Imagine card is marketed as a worry-free strategy to construct your credit score, however does it actually work? That’s what we intention to reply with this Varo Imagine card assessment.

We’ll discover all of Varo Financial institution’s options and try how the Imagine card can assist you construct your credit score.


No minimal secured steadiness


Deposit account funds are locked

Doesn’t report a credit score restrict

Required $500 in deposits

Who Is Varo Financial institution?

Varo Believe Card Review: Varo bank homepage

Varo Financial institution is an online-only financial institution that gives a full suite of banking options. This contains checking accounts, high-yield financial savings accounts, a credit score constructing account, and extra.

Established in 2015, Varo has been accredited with the Higher Enterprise Bureau since 2017. Varo can also be a totally chartered, FDIC-insured financial institution. That is value noting, as related merchandise (i.e., Chime Credit score Builder) are sometimes backed by separate banks.

On this assessment, we’ll be specializing in Varo’s credit-building account, Varo Imagine. This account is a wedding of a secured card and a debit card. Your Imagine card purchases are at all times secured by your deposit account steadiness.

This can assist you construct credit score with out risking overspending and going into debt.

Let’s dig deeper into this Varo Imagine Card Evaluation to learn to use the cardboard.

How Does the Varo Imagine Card Work?

The Imagine card works and builds credit score in a novel approach. This Varo Imagine card assessment will discover the entire course of, from software and funding to credit score constructing and cancelation. 

Varo Believe Card Review: Varo Belive credit builder card - page

How Do You Apply?

To be eligible for the Varo Imagine account, you need to meet two {qualifications}:

  1. Have a Varo checking account in good standing.
  2. $500 or extra in deposits to your Varo checking inside the final 90 days.

In the event you meet these two necessities, you possibly can apply for the Varo Imagine account. Making use of does not require a credit score examine. There may be additionally no minimal account steadiness.

How Do You Use the Varo Imagine Account?

As soon as accepted for the Imagine account, you’ll acquire entry to a brand new Varo Imagine deposit account. This sediment account is what funds your card. You may consider it like a safety deposit.

Funding the Account

You may switch cash out of your current Varo checking account or one other exterior account to fund your Imagine account. The quantity you switch turns into your spending restrict. You can not spend greater than you switch.

Spending With the Card

Every time you swipe the Imagine card, the corresponding whole might be locked in your deposit account. As an illustration, for those who purchase a cup of espresso for $5.95, then $5.95 of your account steadiness might be locked. Locked funds can’t be spent.

Paying your Steadiness

On the finish of the month, your locked steadiness (what you’ve spent) turns into your assertion whole.

You may arrange autopay (SafePay), robotically paying your steadiness together with your locked funds. Or you possibly can manually pay the full with an exterior account, and the locked funds might be launched inside 3 days.

In the event you use autopay, you’ll additionally wish to use Transfer Your Pay to refund your Imagine deposit account each month.

How Does Imagine Assist You Construct Credit score?

Varo reviews the next info to all 3 main credit score bureaus every month.

  1. Your assertion quantity
  2. Your fee quantity
  3. Whether or not the fee was on-time or late

By paying your Varo Imagine account on time, you possibly can positively influence the fee historical past portion of your credit score, which makes up 35% of your credit score rating. In the event you don’t pay your account on time, you’ll take a detrimental hit to your credit score (and your account may be closed).

Varo doesn’t have an effect on:

  • Credit score utilization (they don’t report a credit score restrict, so there’s no foundation for calculating credit score utilization).
  • New credit score (there’s no onerous inquiry while you apply).

You may view your credit score rating and obtain notifications on modifications to your rating utilizing the Varo app.

Cancelling Varo Imagine

Whereas the Imagine card is nice for constructing credit score, the secured funds requirement makes it a poor long-term choice.

In our Varo Imagine card assessment, we famous that to cancel the cardboard, you’ll want to succeed in out to customer support. Sadly, this can require you to make use of in-app assist throughout enterprise hours (Mountain Time). Varo has cellphone assist however is not going to cancel your account over the cellphone.

If you’re preserving your Varo checking account, your Imagine funds could be transferred there, which can probably be faster than ready on a bodily examine.

When you shut your Varo Imagine account, you can not re-apply for the cardboard sooner or later.

Further Varo Providers & Options

One other factor we needed to give attention to in our Varo Imagine Card Evaluation is the extra providers facet. The Varo Imagine program comes with a number of options for constructing your credit score, together with:

  • Setting a spending restrict
  • Autopay with SafePay
  • Reporting to all 3 credit score bureaus
  • Vantage credit score rating updates

However that is simply a part of the entire Varo package deal. Varo additionally gives checking and financial savings accounts with their very own distinctive options.

Checking Account:

  • No charges
  • Early payday
  • Funds with Zelle
  • Cashback
  • 40,000+ fee-free ATMs

Financial savings Account:

  • 5% APY as much as $5,000 steadiness
  • 3% APY limitless
  • Spherical-up financial savings
  • Auto transfers

Along with these particular account options, Varo gives normal options such because the Varo Advance program, debit card safety, a sturdy cell app, and cash administration sources.


Varo Imagine is a zero-fee account. On this Varo Imagine card assessment, we’ll spotlight some frequent charges that different playing cards cost however Varo doesn’t.

APR None
Late Cost Price $0
Month-to-month or Annual Price $0
Minimal Safety Deposit No minimal

You might be by no means charged a price for a late fee. Nevertheless, not paying on time might end in account closure.

Entry to Varo Imagine requires you to have a no-fee Varo checking account. You’ll solely encounter a $3 price for those who use an out-of-network ATM.

Varo Advance, Varo’s low-limit money advance program, is the one Varo function with a price.

Borrow Quantity Price
$20 $0
$50 $4
$75 $5
$100 $6
$150 $9
$200 $12
$250 $15

It’s value noting that you simply’ll want to fulfill particular {qualifications} earlier than you need to use Advance.

Buyer Opinions

Nearly all of normal evaluations in regards to the financial institution are nice. Individuals appear to get pleasure from all of Varo’s options.

As an illustration, this reviewer actually loves the early pay function.

Varo Believe Card Review: BBB positive review of the card

And this buyer compliments a number of providers. 

Varo Believe Card Review: BBB positive review of Varo and the card

Many evaluations specializing in the Imagine card are much less complimentary. The largest complaints revolve across the period of locking funds (30+ days) and lack of customer support.

This assessment is from a Varo buyer who was beforehand pleased with the financial institution however not so pleased with the Imagine card.

Varo Believe Card Review: Negative review of Varo on TrustPilot

Different reviewers point out that customer support has not too long ago modified for the more severe.

Negative review of Varo on TrustPilot

Total, Varo Financial institution has a 3.58 common score from the Higher Enterprise Bureau (BBB) and a regarding 2.7 common from Trustpilot.

Varo Imagine Options

Varo Imagine is considered one of many credit-building debit playing cards available on the market. Beneath, we’ll spotlight some different choices and the way they evaluate to Varo Imagine. It’s value noting that Varo and all these alternate options report back to all 3 credit score bureaus.

Cred.ai Unicorn Card Chime Credit score Builder Visa Credit score Sesame – Sesame Money Varo Imagine
APR 17.76%* None None None
Price None None $9.99/month* None
Safety Deposit No minimal No minimal No minimal No minimal
Credit score Restrict $1000** N/A N/A N/A
Exercise Reported Cost historical past and utilization Cost historical past Cost historical past  Cost historical past
Cashback No No Sure Sure
Credit score Examine Smooth credit score pull and ChexSystems inquiry No No No
Evaluation Evaluation Evaluation

* could be waived
** could be increased or decrease relying in your banking historical past

The largest outlier right here is Cred.ai. Their Unicorn card is the one one which has a credit score restrict and reviews utilization.


We hope this Varo Imagine Card Evaluation will assist you select the cardboard that greatest aligns together with your monetary wants. Constructing credit score with the Varo Imagine card is fairly easy, nevertheless it received’t work for everybody. Varo states the next:

Some prospects could not see a rise, however prospects with unhealthy or skinny credit score histories are more likely to see the most important optimistic influence on their rating from utilizing Varo Imagine and making constant on-time funds.

As additional proof, Varo quotes that 90% of their prospects who didn’t beforehand have a credit score rating have been in a position to generate one after simply 1 month with Varo. And people with current credit score scores noticed a median 42-point enhance after 3 months.

If you’re an current Varo buyer on the lookout for credit score constructing, then Imagine could possibly be a sensible choice. Or, if you’re on the lookout for a full-featured financial institution with a credit-building choice, Varo may be an excellent match.

However for these on the lookout for most influence on their credit score or available customer support, different banks/merchandise will probably serve you higher.

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