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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Achieve Credit Score Mastery Through a Website and App That Builds Trust Through Community

Achieve Credit Score Mastery Through A Website And App That Builds Trust Through Community
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update CardRates.com readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

In a Nutshell: Chaim Geller found a home purchase deal he couldn’t ignore but lacked the credit to qualify for a mortgage. His grandmother was willing to cosign but didn’t own a credit card and had an empty credit file. Geller ingeniously used the piggybacking strategy to raise her score and secure the home. Help Me Build Credit grew organically as more and more friends and family came to Geller for credit card advice. Later, Geller built the CardRight app to help users keep track of their cards. The site and app have attracted a community of loyal users who trust Geller to guide them to the cards and strategies right for them.

A good deal is a good deal. At least, that’s what Chaim Geller thought when a home purchase deal checked all the boxes for him. Qualifying for a mortgage was a formality, he thought.

Yet, that’s not how things turned out. Geller didn’t have an extensive credit record to draw the best rates and needed a cosigner.

His grandmother was in a perfect position to cosign, with income to spare, but she, too, lacked a credit record. She had paid off her mortgage 10 years before, didn’t own a credit card, and had an empty file with no way to prove her creditworthiness.

Help Me Build Credit logo

Geller had made a down payment deposit and stood to lose money if the deal went awry. He consulted with brokers and experts and researched the credit card market until he devised an ingenious piggybacking strategy, establishing his grandmother as an authorized user on his account.

Within two weeks, he had built enough of a score to qualify her as a cosigner, sealing the deal. Geller’s broker was astounded and began referring him to clients with credit card issues.

One thing led to another. A close-knit community of friends, colleagues, and family gathered around Geller as he dispensed more free advice.

Help Me Build Credit is the result. The original piggybacking info is still there, but Help Me Build Credit has grown into a comprehensive compendium for credit card users.

Transparent affiliate marketing helps the site earn revenue as Geller reviews cards with impartiality and explores credit and finance-related topics. An app, CardRight, followed to help users keep track of their cards.

“My mortgage broker was shocked — he had never seen someone able to pull off the piggybacking strategy,” Geller said. “At a certain point, I decided to start writing so when someone asked, I wouldn’t have to spend an hour with them on the phone; I could just point them to an article.”

Unbiased Info About Credit Cards and Improving Credit

Geller said Help Me Build Credit attracts a large and growing audience because of the trust factor. The site has affiliate relationships with about 60 cards, but it includes rankings and reviews for more than 210 cards. A card’s affiliate status does not affect how Geller treats it editorially.

“A lot of card comparison sites only present options for cards they have affiliate relationships with,” Geller said. “With us, you see everything.”

Geller writes broadly about credit topics, including credit history, credit scores, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your cards. Information on identity theft keeps readers updated on the latest fraud trends.

Chaim Geller
Chaim Geller is the Founder of Help Me Build Credit and CardRight.

Information on improving credit helps readers use the system to their advantage. Articles on paying off card debt offer realistic, practical advice.

A section on balance transfers provides proven money-making strategies. A link to the latest posts lets readers stay abreast of all the content.

Help Me Build Credit includes free guides for building credit, purchasing a home, and tackling credit card debt. An approval database lets readers report account approvals and rejections to the community.

Thousands of loyal readers participate in Help Me Build Credit’s WhatsApp Forum to exchange personal insights. Everything is well-researched and highly accurate — Geller and his editor readily admit when they make mistakes and need to update an article.

The site is decidedly non-corporate. It encourages candidness and relationship-building. The goal is always the same: matching users with the right cards and strategies.

“We’re constantly getting feedback from users — my WhatsApp number‘s out there on the site,” Geller said. “Anybody can send me a correction. And people do — I get hundreds of WhatsApp messages a day.”

CardRight App Helps Users Optimize Cash Back

The CardRight app was a natural outgrowth of the Help Me Build Credit community. Readers had been asking Geller free tools to help them manage their cards.

CardRight tracks welcome bonuses, bonus expiration dates, benefits, credits, and due dates. It also helps users optimize cash back with category recommendations.

Tools to connect users directly to their bank accounts to import and manage transactions based on real-time data are in the works.

Transparent affiliate relationships fuel the free CardRight app, as they do with Help Me Build Credit. The app makes it easy for users to switch cards with offers that can increase rewards by 100% or more.

CardRight rewards
CardRight helps users find the high-earning cards right for them.

Users swiping for groceries with cards earning 3% are sometimes surprised to learn from CardRight that they qualify for rewards cards that can earn them up to 6% for the same swipe.

The app translates percentage earnings to cash savings per month to encourage users to switch based on their individual needs.

Help Me Build Credit and the CardRight app attract readers and users of all ages. Geller said site demographics skew toward younger cohorts because they prioritize credit building and saving for the future.

“They’re the ones who are starting to take credit seriously and learn about it,” Geller said.

They’re nationwide. Help Me Build Credit has a base of users in the New York-New Jersey area, which grew from Geller’s connections there. However, the site and app now claim a coast-to-coast audience united in the desire to master credit cards as beneficial tools for financial success.

“We still base our articles on what people want to learn about,” Geller said. “When I see multiple people asking the same question, I’ll write an article about that.”

Practical Advice From One Friend to Another

Readers let Geller know they appreciate the attention, frequently messaging their thanks when article suggestions appear on Help Me Build Credit.

“They’ll ask me how I knew to write about something,” Geller said. “I know because I’m on the front lines, talking to people and learning what they want to know. We write about the questions we get asked again and again.”

Many of the site’s most popular articles analyze banks according to variables they offer or don’t offer. Help Me Build Credit includes data points to back up its assertions.

Popular articles include an examination declined credit card applications, an analysis of bank interactions with credit bureaus, and an updated piece on piggybacking.

Help Me Build Credit offers
Affiliate relationships have no bearing on Help Me Build Credit’s recommendations.

Appreciative messages confirm that Help Me Build Credit is building in the right direction. For example, Geller received a message of thanks the day he sat down for this interview from a reader who flew his entire family on vacation with points he accumulated thanks to Geller’s guidance.

Some readers even go so far as to screenshot credit reports showing improvement and send them to Geller.

“It’s indescribable the feeling you get when you know you helped a person you probably have never spoken with,” Geller said. “They found you online, they read through your stuff, and you were able to help them.”

The thrust of Geller’s message in Help Me Build Credit is that most people and businesses do not adequately appreciate rewards. A relatively minor improvement on paper can translate to significant savings when satisfactorily managed.

“It’s especially true for businesses — swiping $100,000 a month can put an extra $5,000 or $6,000 in their pocket,” Geller said. “But even everyday consumers can earn significant monthly rewards just by switching to the right card.”