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Credit Strong: Read This Before You Sign Up

Published By Faith Stewart at March 15th, 2022

Credit Strong: Read This Before You Sign Up

Credit Strong is a Division of Austin Capital Bank. It offers credit building programs for both personal and business credit. Does it work? Yes, but not on its own. It can be a legitimate part of a credit building system. Is it worth it? The short answer is, it depends. It can, if you handle it properly.

Credit Strong Business Credit Builder

The credit builder program at Credit Strong is an account that combines a cash secured commercial installment loan and a commercial savings bank account. When you open the account, you choose the program you want. There are two different ones when it comes to the business credit builder.

The 5 year plan is $199 per month and the 10 year plan is $115 per month. Both programs report on your business credit report as payment on a $10,000 installment loan. However, you do not receive any loan proceeds.

Rather, the funds from the loan are deposited into the savings account as collateral for the loan.  You can not access the funds in the savings account for the life of the loan. During this time, the loan and payment activity for the loan are reported to commercial credit bureaus.  In turn, you are building the credit profile for your business.

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Who Does Credit Strong Report To?

Right now, the business credit builder accounts only report to Equifax and PayNet. They claim plans to expand reporting for commercial credit to Experian and the SBFE soon.  It’s also important to note, they do not do a hard pull, or inquiry, on your personal or business credit. So, just applying for an account will not negatively impact your personal or commercial credit.

Who Qualifies for a Credit Strong Business Credit Builder Account?

To qualify, a company must:

  • Have a registered EIN
  • Be at least 3 months old
  • Be an LLC, Partnership, or Corporation
  • Have a physical U.S. address as your place of business

Individuals must:

  • Have at least 25% ownership of the business and a larger share of ownership than anyone else
  • Have other owner that owns 25% or more of the business individually
  • Be a permanent U.S. resident and at least 18 years of age
  • Have a physical U.S address inside the U.S.
  • Have a valid Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
  • Possess a valid identification document like a driver’s license, state ID, passport or Permanent Resident Card- AKA a “Green Card”

Also, these accounts are not available in Florida currently, and some industries and activities may be prohibited.

Does Credit Strong Work?

This is a tricky question. In short, the answer is yes. It does help build your business credit score by reporting payments to business credit reporting agencies. It’s a little more complicated than that, however.

First, it takes way more than just one account reporting to build strong business credit. Also, there are more business credit CRAs than just Equifax and PayNet. If a lender pulls your business credit from Dun & Bradstreet or Experian, this account will not even show up. Therefore, it will not affect your business credit score on these reports at all.

That’s not to say the plan doesn’t work.  On the contrary, it can be very helpful. It just won’t work on it’s own. It works better as a part of a complete business credit builder process.

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How Do You Get Your Money?

Of course, if you are making deposits into an account that you cannot touch, you are probably wondering how you get access to that money.  After the loan’s balance and outstanding interest is paid, and your account is closed, there is a  processing period of 6 business days before the savings account is unlocked. You can keep the funds in the account or submit a request to the customer support team to transfer the funds.

After the savings account is closed, remaining funds can be sent to the payment method on file via direct deposit.  That is of course, after interest and fees.

Can You Cancel Your Account Early?

What if you can no longer afford the payments? You can close your Credit Strong Business credit builder account at any time.   There is no  prepayment or early termination fee required. To close your account, you will need to pay any outstanding interest and loan balance using your linked payment method.

However, payments more than 30 days late will be reported as “late” to credit bureaus.  Also, using funds from a locked business account to pay off a credit builder loan will result in the loan being reported as “paid out of collateral.”

This is where some customers run into issues. Basically, what happens is, the funds you have in your account are used to pay the loan. It looks the same as if you put up another asset for collateral and the bank took it in payment for the loan. So, be careful. Once you start, it’s best to keep going.

Credit Strong and the Better Business Bureau

Credit Strong has a B rating from the BBB. There are a lot of bad reviews, but they are mostly related to the personal credit builder product. Furthermore, they are typically from customers that did not understand exactly how the product works.

It appears that most thought they could cancel and get the full amount of payments back at any time.  However, what they actually get is the full amount minus interest and fees. It’s important to understand all of the details before entering into any agreement.

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Is Credit Strong Legitimate?

Yes, they are a legitimate division of an FDIC bank. They offer a product that can help you build credit in the name of your business. However, that is all it is.  The main benefit is that you build business credit. There are no funds for use. That is what they promise, and that is what you get.

Credit Strong Credit Suite2 - Credit Strong: Read This Before You Sign UpThis is a product that can and will help you if you use it properly and understand what you are getting. However, for it to do any good, it must be combined with other accounts that help build business credit as well. How do you get more accounts? The Credit Suite Business Credit Builder can help! It can help you set up properly and find vendor accounts that will help you build business credit and get things that you need for your business. This allows you to use your money, rather than having it locked away.

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