Credit Builder Loan Limit — How Much Consumers Can Borrow

Published: 29 August 2023
Updated: 29 January 2024

Author: Noah Gomez

Credit builder loans (CBLs) have an average limit of $3,283, with a typical range between $500 and $2,000. Limit varies by collateral. Fully-secured CBLs have the highest at $14,148 on average, whereas unsecured options have the second highest at $7,984, and payment-secured CBLs have the lowest limit at $1,500 on average¹.

the average credit builder loan limit is $3,283

Limit is not the same as amount (also known as principal). Limit is the maximum value lenders offer to the public whereas amount is the actual dollar amount granted to a specific borrower. Amount can be lower than limit. For example, a lender may offer a $1,000 limit CBL but grant one borrower $500 and another $1,000. The difference in amount granted comes from creditworthiness assessment.

Amounts granted are not public information, but limits are available. Limits are insightful because they provide benchmarks consumers can use to evaluate CBL offers before borrowing. Additionally, many online CBL lenders offer fixed-value loans in which the limit is the same as amount granted.

Credit builder loan limits have a positive correlation with duration. For example, 12 month payment-secured credit builder loans (PSCBLs) have an average limit of approximately $1,000, whereas 66 month PSCBLs have an average limit of ~$6,000.


  • Limits help shoppers handle hard sales tactics and actively isolate strong CBL offers
  • Limits help damaged credit profiles recover when they're equal to or greater than derogatory accounts
  • 36-month (3-year) CBL have distinctly higher limits across CBL types
  • $1,500 is the average limit of payment-secured CBLs, with a range of $500 to $20,000
  • $14,148 is the average limit of fully-secured CBLs, with a range of $50 to $100,000
  • $7,984 is the average limit of unsecured CBLs, with a range of $10 to $50,000

Know Average Limits When You Shop

Consumers shopping for credit builder loans use CBL limits as a benchmark to avoid bad offers. Bank advisors are incentivized to sell, which means they don't always put the borrower's needs before their own. In some cases advisors are aware that their offer is inferior to another but don't notify borrowers.

Understanding credit builder loan limits helps consumers not only feel confident when discussing with sales representatives but also actively identify strong offers. Good credit building plans filter out poor offers and isolate choices best suited for borrowers' specific profiles.

Counterbalance Your Derogatory Accounts

Consumers with derogatory marks on their credit report should align limit with negative accounts. For example, a borrower with $1,000 in collections should focus on CBL limits ≥$1,000.

This is not a hard rule, but it makes sense in context. Imagine a friend who borrows $100 and never pays it back. He then borrows $5 from another friend and pays back. The friend who lent $100 is not likely to feel safe lending again because $5 in positive history is not comparable to $100 in negative history.

Now imagine the borrowing friend got $1,000 rather than $5 and promptly repaid it. The $100 lender now feels comfortable and considers the -$100 a one-time problem.

Lenders feel the same way, so borrowers should align CBL limits with derogatory accounts (if any).

Payment-Secured CBL Limit

The average limit on payment-secured credit builder loans (PSCBLs) is $1,500, with a range of $500 to $20,000¹. This is the lowest average limit of the three CBL types. PSCBLs are also the most common, representing approximately 80% of CBLs in the market.

the average limit on payment-secured CBLs is $1,500

PSCBL limits increase sharply on loan durations longer than 36 months (3 years) from ~$1,500 to >$2,500. Longer durations are advantageous because they add more payment history to credit reports. Higher limits are also better to counterbalance derogatory accounts of comparable size.

Additionally, at least one PSCBL allows no-penalty early closure, so the borrower can end the CBL (without obligation to pay it off) without risk.

PSCBLs work by deferring principal disbursement to the end of the loan term and requiring the borrower make monthly payments into a secured savings account.

The savings account acts as collateral that limits risk to the lender and allows it to accept consumers with limited, zero, or damaged credit history at accessible interest rates (7.58% on average but never more than 35.99%).

Fully-Secured CBLs Limit

The average limit on fully-secured credit builder loans (FSCBLs) is $14,148, with a range of $50 to $100,000¹. This is the highest limit of the three CBL types. FSCBLs are the least common, representing less than 5% of CBLs in the market.

the average limit on fully-secured CBLs is $14,148

FSCBL limits increase at higher durations with a distinct surge at 30 months (2.5 years). Borrowers with comfortable amounts of cash liquidity but subprime credit can use long-term FSCBLs to create equity between their cash holdings and credit profile.

An added benefit of FSCBLs is low interest. At least one option offers 0% interest with a minimum upfront deposit of $3,000. They usually do not allow early closure because the fundamental agreement underlying FSCBLs is that the borrower locks up money in exchange for low rates.

FSCBLs work by deferring principal distribution until the end of the loan and requiring the borrower deposit the full principal amount upfront. The deposit acts as collateral that virtually eliminates risk for the lender and allows it to accept bad credit profiles with rates as low as 0%.

Unsecured CBLs Limit

The average limit on unsecured credit builder loans (USCBLs) is $7,984, with a range of $10 to $50,000¹. This is the second highest average limit of the three CBL types. USCBLs are also the second most common, representing approximately 20% of CBLs in the market.

the average limit on unsecured CBLs is $7,984

Unsecured CBL limits increase with loan duration, demonstrating a distinct jump from ~$1,500 to ~$18,500 after 36 months (3 years). Borrowers who want to receive cash upfront in addition to building their credit and don't mind paying more interest over 3 years will benefit most from USCBLs.

The decisive reason consumers choose USCBLs is their flexible eligibility criteria. Borrowers with cash constraints but subprime credit often start by applying for personal loans. When they're denied, popular USCBL lenders such as Upstart provide a viable alternative.

Unsecured credit builder loans work by using alternative creditworthiness metrics such as borrower income, employment status, existing debt, and personal assets rather than depend heavily on credit report and score.

These metrics allow them to approve borrowers with subprime credit that traditional lenders dismiss outright.


  1. Gomez, Noah. 2023. Review of Credit Builder Loan Offers Dataset. Thick Credit. July 24, 2023.

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About the Author

Noah Gomez (founder of Thick Credit) is a transatlantic professional and entrepreneur with 3+ years experience in consumer finance education. He also has 5+ years of experience in corporate finance, including debt financing, M&A, listing preparation, US GAAP and IFRS.

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