StellarFi, a Kikoff credit alternative

Choosing the right credit building tool can make or break your financial health. Here’s everything you need to know when choosing between StellarFi and Extra.

Compare credit builders

How do StellarFi and Extra stack up? Compare features, perks, pricing, and more so you can choose the most effective and affordable option:

Credit reporting

StellarFi reports to all major credit bureaus: Experian®, Equifax®, TransUnion®.
Kikoff’s Credit Builder Account is reported to Experian® and Equifax®.


StellarFi’s credit builder starts at $4.99/month.
Kikoff’s monthly repayment amount depends on the cost of digital items you purchase from their store.


StellarFi allows you to build credit using necessities you already pay for, like your utility bills.
Kikoff users must make a purchase with their Kikoff Credit Account to begin building credit.


StellarFi allows members to link any recurring bill they pay online
Kikoff Credit Account spending is limited to self-help ebooks in the Kikoff store.

Bill pay

StellarFi makes it easy to manage bills in one convenient dashboard.
Kikoff is not a bill management tool.

Referral program

StellarFi’s referral program pays out credits that members can apply toward their bills
Kikoff does not have a referral reward program.

Credit monitoring

StellarFi members can view their current credit score and an updated credit report any time, along with personalized score projection tools.
Kikoff members can access their VantageScore in the app.

1. Why is credit important?

A good credit score can help you reach major milestones, save money, and more. Here are some of the reasons why building credit is important:

  • You need good credit to get a mortgage and buy a home
  • With a higher credit score, you’ll pay lower interest rates on loans and credit cards
  • Landlords, rental companies, and even some employers check your credit to determine whether you’re a good candidate
  • People with poor or invisible credit pay higher deposits on utilities

2. What is StellarFi?

StellarFi is a revolutionary, but simple, new way to build credit. With StellarFi, you can build credit without the downsides.

  • NO minimum score 
  • NO interest expenses
  • NO deposit 
  • NO surprise fees
  • NO new debt

How StellarFi works

StellarFi is simple to use. You just need a bank account and some bills to get started. 

  1. Sign up as a StellarFi member.
  2. Link your bank account.
  3. Add the bills you want to use to build your credit by replacing current billing information with your StellarFi Virtual Bill Card number.
  4. Your bills are paid using your StellarFi Virtual Bill Card
  5. The amount spent on your StellarFi Virtual Bill Card will be simultaneously withdrawn from your bank account.

With StellarFi, your bills are conveniently automated and paid on time, AND your bills help you build credit.

How StellarFi improves your credit score

StellarFi impacts the important credit factors that contribute to your credit score: 

  • StellarFi creates a credit account on your credit report that reports similarly to a line of credit. 
  • StellarFi reports on-time monthly payments to all three credit bureaus, improving your payment history.
  • StellarFi optimizes your credit utilization ratio by providing a payment cushion.
  • Because a new account is created on your credit report, StellarFi can enhance your credit mix.
  • As you continue to use StellarFi, the account’s age can also contribute to your score.

Graphic: StellarFi can improve the factors with the greatest impact on your credit score:

Payment History – Credit Utilization – Credit Mix – Credit Age

3. StellarFi Pros and Cons

StellarFi was built for a wide range of people looking to build or improve their credit scores. 

Here are some of the best reasons to use StellarFi:

  • Anyone at any point in their credit journey can use StellarFi, including:
  • Anyone at any point in their credit journey can use StellarFi. That includes people with poor credit or no credit, anyone interested in taking their score from “good” to “excellent”, and those looking to maintain an optimal score.
  • People with poor credit.
  • People with no credit/invisible credit.
  • People looking to take their score from “good” to “excellent”.
  • People looking to maintain an optimal score.
  • StellarFi shows up like a line of credit on a credit report, with the potential to report up to $25,000.
  • There’s no credit check or inquiry to get started.
  • You don’t need to pay a security deposit.
  • You’ll build credit history with all three major credit bureaus.
  • You can manage monthly bills in one dashboard.
  • Access your credit report, current credit score, and advanced credit tools such as personalized score projections.
  • You can use your StellarFi Virtual Bill Card to link any recurring bills that you normally pay with a credit or debit card.

So, what are the downsides? Here are some situations in which StellarFi may not be a good fit:

  • You’re currently in the underwriting, pre-approval, or under contract phase of buying a home and have been advised against any changes to your credit report
  • You don’t have a bank account
  • You pay all your bills by check 

4. How does the Extra debit card work?

Extra is a debit card that is attached to the user’s bank account. Anything the user purchases with the Extra card will be withdrawn from the user’s associated checking account 1-2 days later.

Extra reports the total monthly amount spent on the Extra debit card to Experian® and Equifax®, but not TransUnion®.

5. Extra debit card pros and cons

Here are some of the benefits of the Extra debit card:

  • The Extra debit card can be used wherever a Visa debit card is accepted.
  • Some plans include a rewards program which pays out points to be spent on items in the Extra marketplace.
  • You don’t need to pay a security deposit.
  • Because you don’t have a balance that carries over, there is no interest.

Here are some of the drawbacks of using the Extra debit card:

  • High annual fee
  • Does not to report to major credit bureau TransUnion
  • No credit score tracking features
  • The spending limit is determined as a percentage of the user’s bank account balance, which can be very low day-to-day. If a user tends to get low balances toward the end of their pay period, they won’t be able to use the card for significant purchases. 
  • If a user keeps unused funds in a savings account (or anywhere besides their Extra card-linked checking account), they’ll have minimal spending options.
  • With spend limits associated with a user’s frequently-changing bank account balance, it’s risky to use the Extra debit card for bills that are paid automatically. If the payment is not processed because the spending limit isn’t sufficient, the user may incur late fees from the biller.

6. StellarFi vs Extra: What’s the best way to build credit? 

Every individual’s credit and financial situation is different, so building credit is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

Extra would be a good choice for those who want to take a more gradual approach to building credit by starting with small daily purchases, and for those who don’t need to build credit for a lender that will look at data from all three credit bureaus.

StellarFi is a good option for those who want to make a more significant, expedient impact on their credit by using substantial monthly bills. It’s also a great solution for those who would like to manage their bills and view their credit scores and reports in one dashboard. 

How it works

Get your free credit report

View your current credit score and access your detailed credit report, just by creating your account.

Add and pay your bills

Make automatic bill payments using your StellarFi Virtual Bill Pay Card. Next, we report on-time payments to all major credit bureaus each month.

Build your score

See your credit score increase while we build your payment history, optimize your credit utilization, and more.