What is Self?

By James Garvey, CEO of Self Financial

At Self, we sometimes feel like we’re acting out Bill Murray’s role in Groundhog Day.

No matter what happens, how many new people hear our vision, we still have to do it all over again, the next day.

The difference between Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and Self is that we love explaining what we do over and over again.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

The more explanations, means the more understanding. The more people who understand our mission, means the more who will be able to use Self to help them establish or rebuild their credit history.

And ultimately, that’s what we‘re striving to achieve.

We Didn’t Reinvent The Wheel: Just Fixed It

The reason that there is so much explaining to do is because Self is the first-to-market, online credit builder loan program for all Americans.

We didn’t invent the credit builder loan. We are merely taking it public, and allowing access for millions of people.

So, what is a credit builder loan? How does it work?

Credit builder loans were first introduced in 2006 by Justine Petersen, “to help low and moderate-income families access affordable mortgage products.”

Until Self launched in September 2014, the credit builder account was strictly used offered by non-profits and a fraction of credit unions.


Self offers you a suite of financial education, and a few, hand-selected, exclusive opportunities for helpful financial products, and services. Additionally, you have the opportunity to use a credit builder account to build credit history. Self's credit builder account works like this:


We instantly open a savings account and lend you a fixed amount of money (see current Self pricing options here). Your money stays in your account and pays you 0.10% APY over 12 months.


Pay the set monthly amount for 12 or 24 months (depending which product you choose) to pay back your loan. Your payments are reported as payment history to the credit bureaus.


At the end of the term, you've paid off your loan, and your savings account matures with the principal and a little bit of interest earned on the savings (minus the loan interest and fees). Great job building 12 months of payment history! Now, take your money out!

Who Can Benefit?

Nearly 70 million American adults.

If you have 3 friends, statistically speaking, one in your group can benefit from using a credit builder loan.

How’s this possible?

1 in 4 American adults do not have a credit score because there’s not enough data to generate a score. It’s a mind-blowing fact. Credit builder loans have been proven to help credit-thin people.

For more information about the consumer credit market, take a look at the Financial Health Network.

About the Author

James Garvey is the CEO and co-founder of Self Financial, Inc.

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Written on August 15, 2016
Self is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings. Comments? Questions? Send us a note at hello@self.inc.

Disclaimer: Self is not providing financial advice. The content presented does not reflect the view of the Issuing Banks and is presented for general education and informational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.

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