How Quickly Should I Pay Off My Credit Cards?

We generally make money when you get a product (like a credit card or loan) through our platform, but we don’t let that cloud our editorial opinions. Learn more about how we keep this compensation from affecting our editorial views.

How Quickly Should I Pay Off My Credit Cards?

Many people believe that you need to carry over a balance from month to month on your cards in order to build credit, but it isn't true. This myth is particularly harmful for those of us who are working to build our credit. We often have higher interest rates because our credit history, or lack thereof, makes us look like riskier borrowers. As a result, carrying a balance can cost more money, since interest is generally calculated on the statement balance remaining after your monthly payment is made.

 

You don't need to carry over a balance from month to month on your cards to build credit. [Tweet this]

 

When should I pay off my credit card?

Ideally, you should be making regular purchases on your card every month, and then paying off the balance in full on every statement. There is no need to pay your cards back more frequently than once a month, since you'll normally only be charged interest if a balance from the previous statement remains on your card after that statement's payment is due. However, making multiple payments a month could be beneficial, as it may help lower your credit utilization rate.

By using your cards and paying the full statement balance each month, you're still demonstrating that you're able to responsibly borrow money. You borrowed for the entire month and paid it right back!

Potential Credit Effects

The other consideration you want to make when paying your credit cards back is monitoring your reported overall credit card usage. Your credit card utilization refers to how much of your available credit card limits you use per month, and is an important credit factor you can track on Credit Karma. It's generally recommended to keep your overall credit utilization below 30 percent. However, this does not mean that lower is always better. If your reported credit utilization is consistently 0 percent, lenders who pull your information may not feel confident that you're able to borrow and repay money because your credit report doesn't show that you have been.

So when you're paying back your full credit card balances every month, it is valuable to keep track of when your lender generally reports to the credit bureaus. By doing this, you can make a point to have a balance at the time they report. This helps ensure that you get your due credit for responsible, interest-free, month-to-month borrowing. You deserve it.

Alternatively, if you currently have a higher credit card utilization that you are not able to pay back every month, you could try paying down your cards to under 30 percent at the time your lender reports, even if they will need to fluctuate back up afterwards. This can help establish a record of stable and manageable debt, even as you continue to work at paying down your balances.

But how do you keep track of when your lenders are reporting your information? Normally, your full credit report on Credit Karma will includes your lenders' "last reported" date. If you connect your online accounts, you can also check your statement dates and payment due dates for connected accounts.

Considerations

Unfortunately, many of us are not currently in an ideal credit card debt situation, and we can't pay back our balance every month. If you've already accumulated a larger balance on your cards than you can pay back immediately, you should still try to pay off your cards as quickly as you can. Since carrying a balance doesn't necessarily build your positive credit history any faster than paying your balance off every month, you're probably not getting anything in return for the interest you're being charged.

Use our Debt Repayment Calculator to help you visualize and plan your repayment process -- and remember, avoid that interest at all costs!

About the Author: has been a Member Support Specialist at Credit Karma since December 2013. She can usually be found riding bikes around town late at night, communing with animals and eating sweets.

Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.

Advertiser Disclosure: We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

All Comments

Results 1-10 of 87Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 1 of 9   Previous | Next
1 Contribution
1423 People Helped

Helpful to 1423 out of 1429 people

I came out of prison after 19 years with not even a zero for a credit score.  I went to a local credit union, deposited $500 and got a secured credit card.  I used it every month and paid it off every month.  Then I bought furniture from an over-priced retailer we see on TV all the time that offers credit to "everyone".  Yeah, I had to pay 1/3 down to get $1,500 in furniture.  I then bought a computer thru the credit union for 6 monthly payments.  By this time my credit union agreed to give me an unsecured credit card with a $500 limit.  And in the following three years I obtained 5 other credit cards.  I use them all, pay them off immediately.  My credit score after 5 years was 765!  I had a plan, implemented it and it worked.  Get the credit, build one step at a time.  Never be late on payments and pay the balance if you can.  At my 8th year out of prison, I have a truck and motorcycle paid for, just bought a house and except for one card, am debt free.  It's not hard to do, just takes perserverance  I can do it, so can you!  Believe in yourself.

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
4611 People Helped
Helpful to 178 out of 183 people

Thanks for sharing your story! You've made a lot of progress and should be proud. 

Reply by
BKSadie1

6 Contributions
166 People Helped
Helpful to 105 out of 106 people

Congradulations on all of your accomplishments. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope this inspires other men and women who have been incarcerated and feel they dont have any options.

Reply by
Brrown

1 Contribution
67 People Helped
Helpful to 67 out of 68 people

Enter Your Reply

I love your story.  Great job. Man !!

Reply by
auntieem919

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Congratulations for being a responsible person. More people should follow your example of baby steps leading to good credit and responsibility.

Reply by
healermaggi

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Great job! That is impressive. 

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

I'm almost in the same boat. I was working on getting and keeping a good crdit score but then got hemmed up for 18 months. All that hard work was for not! my score dropped 300 points. Cards went into collections hands, hell i even owed for college loans. 15K at least. I've been working over the last year to fix these things and caught up on 5 K and went back to school, but I'm at 550 and working hard to get it up so i hope over the next 2 years im back to 700. Its a long road with aggrevation but i'll get there.   Thanks for your story! Any ideas how to make this happen faster I'm listening! thanks!

Reply by
joyfultoo

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Enter Your ReplyRainbowRider, thank you for taking the time to write this wise advice for everyone. Best of luck to you!

Reply by
NJSon

5 Contributions
2 People Helped

what kind of job you are doing that you have house and car fully paid only few years after getting out of prison ??
 

Reply by
Luminositymusic

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Enter Your Reply i believe you. Thx

Reply by
Sublimeguy

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

That is truly a great story. I know quite a few people that cant seem to land on there feet even a year out they end up right back. Congratulation on aal your hard work!! I lost everything and spent a year in jail myself and im on year 5 of my rebuild. Its a long journey but i am also very close to debt free. I filed bankruptcy last year and have experianced problems getting loans due to this. Have you had any experiance with bankruptcy?

Reply by
Crosstownbus

3 Contributions
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 2 people

"19 years in prison"? Good Lord!

Reply by
Lib123

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

Enter Your Reply Congrat's on coming out of prison and taking your life serious!!! Well done.

Reply by
LUV2RIM

3 Contributions
0 People Helped

Thanks for sharing. i found your comment very inspiring. i was also in prison. Once released i reviewed my credit reports to find 3 delinquent accounts that had been turned over to collections. That really sucked (in a bad way) lol. my  trans union scrore was at a embarrassing 514 & 505 with eqaufax. made payment arrangements and successfully off the collection accts in about 18 months. i applied for a Cap1 securred master card and was approved instantly. i made a $500 security deposit and after 8 months of responsible use. i was approved for a department store credit card that i have maneged well. i felt so bonded after reading your comment and realizing i wasnt the only person fell for the yes money type financing over priced furniture gimmick. smh. after 2 short yrs of paying off my debts and astablishing just 2 revolving credit card accounts and the furniture accounts my credit scores have greatly improved to a 665 TU And a 645 with Equifax. That isnt as good as your score of 765 which is considered EXCELLENT CREDIT by all 3 credit bureaus. BUT im not all that far behind you. I felt compelled to reply to your comment. its so refreshing and a nice change to read a comment like yours and here someone actully commenting about their situation and not trying to place the blame on creditors. you took the time to billed your credit responsibly as i am trying to do now. From one GUY TO ANOTHER GUY, thanks for the inspiration. Rainbows for LIFE!!! 

Reply by
fabulous01

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Your story is very inspiring. You are absoluetly right, I can do it. For a matter of fact we all can do it.

Reply by
scrappydo32

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

congrats!!!!!! good for you...

Reply by
huintellect

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Thanks for the encouragement Rainbow Rider!

Reply by
TREEPLANTER1950

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

YOU HAD A PLAN AND IT WORKED ,AND I AM  VERY PROUD OF YOUR ACOMPLISHMENTS .... KEEP IT UP ...

I HAVE TOLD BOTH OF MY SONS THIS SLOGAN ..... ( NO ONE PLANS TO FAIL ,BUT MANY FAIL FROM THE LACK OF A PLAN )         TREEPLANTER1950

Reply by
Mywifenora63

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

GREAT! I don't know you but I am proud of you. Doing time and then getting it together, God bless you!

Reply by
Ididit1313

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

You are exactly right!

I am in the process of doing the same thing - I just got a secured loan from my credit union (I highly recommend credit unions) and when it is paid off in five more months, they are going to give me a car loan.   I have a few low balance, high interest credit cards and yes, they are expensive, but I keep them to establish credit and it is working!  My score is going  up and I plan to refinance my vehicle in a few months to get a lower payment, then purchase some land for a house.   I am going through my local credit union to do this.   I do not pay my balances off every month, but I keep them very low.  I am going to get a nonsecured card through my credit union and then cancel all of the high interest cards at that point.  I love my credit union! They have been awesome and very  helpful!

1 Contribution
495 People Helped

Helpful to 495 out of 534 people

one year ago this month my score was 535, dismal. i have read everything on this site and have found it EXTREMELY helpful .I got a capital one secured card, paid it off every month, increased my own limits my sending in bigger deposits, paid it off every month. then capital one offered me an un secured card 6 months ago, and even increase limits on my secured card without having to make a deposit, anyway, my score in 1 year has gone from 535 to 634, and now I read every possible tip on this siteand WILL get to 750, Thanx credit karma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Top Contributor

Reply by
CKCharmaine

512 Contributions
1065 People Helped
Helpful to 81 out of 109 people

Thanks for your kind words, buccause! So happy to hear that you're a dedicated reader.

Reply by
Maddiej79

1 Contribution
42 People Helped
Helpful to 42 out of 71 people

I have a question on this site credit karma offered me a capital one secured card as well. This is tge one I should take and how much did you put down at first just curious. I'm trying to establish my credit as well. Thank you in advance

1 Contribution
263 People Helped

Helpful to 263 out of 353 people

Folks, the algorithms that they are extremely biased towards those holding a regular job (W-2) since I have been a small business person for over 30 years and I get denied loans and credit cards all the time due to my 'unreliable self-employed status'. Good thing I have a ton of cash and do not need them even though I have a payroll to meet each month and have revenues well over $100K. I have owned 5 houses in my life, and never missed a payment.

Go figure. This credit stuff is a game and is only out to make those with the money more money which I am not against being a true capitalist. However, do understand that it is slanted and my best advice is to learn how to live within you means unlike our own government. I pity our kids and their kids having to pay off our credit binge.

Take care,

Nanouk

Reply by
Uyenthanh

1 Contribution
41 People Helped
Helpful to 41 out of 89 people

I am totally agreeing with you that we are all should spend the money within our reach and not  irresponsible like our current goverment administration. Using the tax payers money to get votes. 

Reply by
ltucci428

2 Contributions
47 People Helped
Helpful to 47 out of 63 people

Nanouk, I hear you and understand everything you are saying.  I am also self-employed, and sole proprietor.  Yes, it is a totally different ball game to get credit when you are self-employed.

Reply by
kclsparky

8 Contributions
177 People Helped
Helpful to 152 out of 171 people

Hey guys try this, get a couple of secured cards and make ontime payments for a year and your credit score and unsecured credit card offers will go threw the roof. I'm self-employed and it worked for me! 574 score in 2/14 now a 756 as of 2/15. No Bull...t. Try it.   PS I now have 5 unsecured cards with a $12,600 credit limit. The hard inquiries have'nt hurt that much. Only counts for 10% of your score. Good luck!

Reply by
pitsch1

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 1 people

Go sub chapter S (incorporate) and make yourself your own employee and give yourself a w2 every year..

Reply by
krisgreekmarden

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

What are talking about my friend is bussiness related credit products wich have a completely different bearing and calculation on your personal credit then a regular loan. For one, when someone does a bussiness loan the lender takes in account the length the bussiness was open how much revenue the bussiness make and how consistant the revenue is. They also look at your personal credit but again this does not have the same bearing as a personal loan. They look at multiple factor that you don't realize , but loans have to be standardized or at least recently have been so they is no collusion or desparate treatment involved

Reply by
tomburke1

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I was in the same position as you. When I went to by my first home in the 70's, I was told by a loan officer that I was not approved due  to the fact that I had no credit history, and was self employed. I said to him that I had all the things most people finance, and had the means to purchase them with my own money. Plus, I was putting 35% down as well.  Why then was I consideded a poor risk? His answer was that self employed people are more likely to lose their income then employees. I asked him if my employees would be better risks then me. His answer wasa yes. I then asked him what happens to them if I fail. He had no answer.

I then Incorporated and became an employee of my corporation  I went to another bank and was readily approved due to the fact that I was not "self employed" anymore, and I was putting 35% down on the house in spite of the lack of credit history.

I am now retired with a FICO that varies between 813 and 827.  Now the lenders are begging to loan me money. The nice thing is that I can almost dictate the rate I borrow at.

Reply by
Millard8587

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Annual revenues of 100k IS unreliable..  After subtracting cost of goods sold, overhead, employees(if you have any), and God for bid taxes you would be left with nothing! No wonder you don't have/can't get credit..  It's not a game, there needs to be so measure of ones ability to repay, do you have a better more complex algorithm to suggest? Doubt it, in today's day you simply cannot get by without some type of lending, (and to be honest you will be much worse off if you don't)..  

Reply by
ptlinva

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Amen Nanouk,

My bank charges me $35 if I overdraft my bank account by $5.

Our government is borrowing/spending/giving away so much money that it will take THREE generations to pay off what we've accumulated in debt.  

It should be the biggest story in the news on a daily basis.  There should/needs to be a balanced budget admendment.

Just like the rest of us, they should only spend what they take in...

Spoken by another "unreliable, self-employed" capitalist.

Reply by
Avle

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

This whole thing is BS and a scam made up by those venture capitalists and Wall Street, and should be ilegal. I wanted to live within my means and did not want to get credit card just to avoid temptations. But it became hard because I could not even rent a car through some of those rentals.  I own my home but fell on hard time during the recession  and missed many payments and other complications that came with the recession. When I got a new job, I have been paying  my house and car payment on times, but my credit score still did not budge. I think this is a scam and they want you to get loans and credit cards so that they can increase your score. Total BS!!!

Reply by
BiCop

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

SELF-EMPLOYED, Don't go there on your applications for credit. File a "Doing Business As" or register your business name (TRADE NAME) with your Secretary of State, OnLine, then go to the IRS website and get an E.I.N. for business. Use the EIN number for applying for Business Credit and use your SSN for Personal Credit. Get two frms of credit. Have the business pay you from a business account. Deposit all your "income" into the business account. As a "self-employeed" business owner, you report that your hired by a business. Get a phone number for the business (cellphone, landline, or MagicJack). Always report  your employment history as the time you have been in business, should be MORE THAN two years. Purchase evrything you can on your credit card(s) and pay them ff two days before they're due date. You will build two forms of credit (Business & Personal) super fast, lightening fast. After having a business account at your bank (any bank) for 6 months, apply for a Business Credit Card (think CHASE), then an American Express Business credit card, etc. WOW, in one year your credit score will be great and you will also have business credit. Be RESPONSIBLE, do not over spend, pay your credit lines off each month. Every 6 months ask for an increase on your credit line, build up your credit lines. Keep at it. Pay yur debits and they will pay yu in great credit. Buy a house once you have great credit. Don't be affraid, buy what you can afford because stuff happens in life. Get a small house and live prudently. Be happy, you live in the best place on the Planet, the USA. Take my word on it. Best wishes, the BioCop.

Reply by
mgbdead

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Enter Your Reply  you must have other factors why you are denied...i am self employed(one man business) and i have no problems getiing credit cards....some up to $20,000    

Reply by
miuwseabee

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

There is a difference between business credit and personal credit. You need both. You have to show at least 2 good years of business income. If there is a loss, it can be a problem until the next year. Use your deductions wisely. I had raised my credit while unemployed for 4 years so it really isn't biased, it is what information you provide. It also depends on your debt to income ratio which all banks use as well as your credit report.

Reply by
capeprinter48

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Enter Your Reply You are so wrong. I have a small business (self employed). I started with one credit card with a $500 limit. I charge a $100 - $200 a month and paid the bill the day after I got it. That gave me a high enough score to apply for other cards. I would alternate cards and pay the bill the pay after I got it. I now have over 25 cards with a total of $230,000 total limit and a 837 credit score. I gey offers to borrow $10,000's of dollars with no interest for 12-16 months for a 2% transaction fee. The fact that you owned 5 houses means nothing. Those are collateral, you don't pay, they take the house, same with a car. They want to see that you pay on things that have no collateral.

1 Contribution
40 People Helped

Helpful to 40 out of 41 people

Hello,

I am new to the site and only have been using its services for 2 months per suggestion of my bank to keep track of my score. Before, I had no need for credit as I was independently wealthy, however that has now changed do to my assets being tied up in stocks that have done extremely poor. When I signed up for creditkarma.com I was and still am very reserved, but I was appalled to find out that not only did I have a credit score but it was a depressing 522. Here I am at almost 30, my parents nor school taught  me the importance of having credit and earning credit and it shows.

About 3 months ago some kids stole my car and to make a long story short, totaled it. Which brings me to what I wanted to share and what made me aware that having credit is indeed important.

As the result of being without a car I did what any person would have done... I went to a dealership. Now I could have went and bought something from craigslist or autotrader, but I thought to myself "Hey, wouldnt it be nice to have a shiny new ride?" I took my payout from the theft [which was around 5k] to put down on a new car, well needless to say that didnt go as planned. Even with 5K down on a 10k car I couldnt get approved. Now I was wishing that I had learned a thing or two about what credit would do for someone if you didnt have the money to pay outright.

After being embarrassed that I could not get a 10k [crap mind you] car. I was off to see if I could get approved at a high risk, "buy here pay here" auto lot. Well needless to say they went ahead and got me into a car, but it was at great pain to me. The car was 12k and on a 3 year loan my interest is at a whopping 30%, so thats makes my 12k loan to a 20k  loan with interest. 

So here we are, 2 months later and my credit is surprisingly increasing at an astounding rate. The first month of payments made my credit go up 68 points, the second month it has gone up another 52 points. My credit score is now a 642. Now I am NOT saying that this is what you should do, I am simply sharing my experience with you [the reader].

Now comes the cons I have found with the site. Every credit card that creditkarma has "suggested" and claimed very good odds of approval I have been denied for. I wasnt even getting approved for secured cards that had a $100 limit. I went to my bank last week any applied for one of their non-secured cards and was approved and given a 5k line of credit. Now that makes me very concerned, why would I get denied for a $100 credit line on here but go to an actual bank and get approved. Not only that but I now have 25 hard inquiries for 5 card applications. Also why doesnt this site show all of credit bureaus? ( food for thought )

Conclusion: This site is a helpful tool to observe your credit and learn from others what they have done to earn, build or repair their credit, but be weary of applying to the suggested credit cards.

Thanks,

A person building credit

Top Contributor

Reply by
ernestf01

115 Contributions
1223 People Helped
Helpful to 3 out of 6 people

Alway use person when possible they can put in all your assets. A automated system is like a test you lose points for every thing that doesn't match giving information on credit reports also check credit reports make sure job address employers are all correct. As for most of the turn downs due to thin file new credit. means over all age average is lower than 3 years. Trying to get car loans and cards probably put hard hits above 5 or 6. You trying to hard to fast. Try getting new credit line about once every six months and only one application gives hard hits time to fall off. Also try for only ones you got a very good chance of getting. And secured threw banks good way to go to many credit preditors online. wish I could have helped before damage was done

Top Contributor

Reply by
ernestf01

115 Contributions
1223 People Helped
Helpful to 4 out of 4 people

Ps if you apply to the same bank or card issuer with in 90 days the second time is a automatic turn down. A card can have different name and same bank. Be sorta like a sears card and a citibank card.

1 Contribution
82 People Helped

Helpful to 82 out of 90 people

Self discipline is the key to building and maintaining good credit.  You have to utilize credit in order to build your rating, but don't unless you have a plan in place to pay it back.  Next, stick to the plan.  Don't compromise on making payments for the sake of having cash in your pocket.  I know many who charge items with the intention of paying back quickly.  Often times they lack the discipline to pay out what they had originally planned.  Using credit for a regular purchase such as groceries can help if you pay the balance with your grocery money.  This is a great way to build credit and take advantage of reward programs also.

1 Contribution
66 People Helped

Helpful to 66 out of 78 people

paid all my cards off in full...i only have 2....score dropped 33 points,really not digging this whole build my credit thing.....thought i was better off debt free,guess having debt is the american way to be someone on paper........still dont get it,but i like being debt free so i guess im going to be a nobody for a loooooong while

Reply by
slm111

8 Contributions
265 People Helped
Helpful to 30 out of 42 people

do not feel bad i just paid down my credit cards 6000$ which got me below 30% and MY CREDIT SCORE LOST 53 POINTS!

Reply by
cbr0422

3 Contributions
46 People Helped
Helpful to 46 out of 50 people

Certain credit cards do not report actual limits to credit bureaus (like many from American Express and some others) but instead report the balance as the limit; so once the balance is paid (or paid down) the limit they report is lowered. I've even heard of some that will not report (I swear I'm not kidding) to the CRAs at all if you don't have any activity. This can change the "available credit" ratios the credit bureaus use for scoring.  I'm planning to pay mine all off and have one of my recurring charges (Netflix, Hulu, etc) that automatically drafts from each to keep up regular use, and pay after the statement closing date to show a tiny balance to make sure they all report. Other than that, I don't know what else I can do. I have also heard that (other than AMEX) if you have a card that does not report your Credit Limit to the CRAs, you can call and request that they do, and most will oblige. Maybe this will help somebody out there.

Reply by
hennesseyg

6 Contributions
37 People Helped
Helpful to 6 out of 12 people

It could have been other factors causing your 33 point dip.

Reply by
676869camaro

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

this credit score stuff is a joke. just another way to screw with people. mine never wants to go over 756. up and down.

Reply by
sorrento205

5 Contributions
0 People Helped

Happened to me too recently. I had a higher credit score (690) when I was carrying high balances. When I paid down 2 cards to zero and paid off a car (which showed account "closed" another zinger btw) it dropped quickly to 619 or "poor."  I have come to the conclusion that this is a fully rigged game against actually good credit worthy borrowers. Screw their algorhythms/sp. and don't give me the crap that I have to maintain a 30% or below utilization every month, pay it off in full every month just to gain the best scores. the best score should be for those that paid off their cards without taking a "hit" like I did, maintain either a very low or no debt monthly profile and get off the fixed circus wheel. this whole credit bureau bs has got to change. you can't even hardly call them to call them out on their many mistakes. yea they say you can dispute...good luck with that....amen

Reply by
xsvspd81

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Information from people that have credit scores over 800 consistently have many credit cards open, but only have a 1% balance on one of them. Having a zero balance on all of your credit cards is telling the banks that you're not using your credit at all, hence the drop in score. The trick is to buy something on one card (around 1% of your credit limit) let it show on that cards statement, then pay it off before the statement due date so you don't get charged interest. That way, it reports to the bureaus that you're using your credit, and responsibly, and you don't pay any interest.

4 Contributions
361 People Helped

Helpful to 62 out of 75 people

I only have 5 cards, nothing much. When I use one I always PIF before the due date, now it does negatively affect my credit score because it shows I have little used debt, compared to available debt, but that's ok, I sleep better, knowing I owe no one

Top Contributor

Reply by
achantye

10 Contributions
67 People Helped
Helpful to 23 out of 37 people

I feel the same way. I'm trying to rebuild my credit and I am always nervous when I have a balance. I just pay it off. At least I know I don't owe.

1 Contribution
37 People Helped

Helpful to 37 out of 39 people

I love this site! It shows me what I need to work on first and how to do it. I have gone from 534 just a few months ago, to 618! I just paid off another loan so my score will be going higher again very soon. I see my new house, my very first one, on the horizon!

Top Contributor

Reply by
Pat593949

16 Contributions
32 People Helped
Helpful to 12 out of 13 people

Be careful because normally when you pay off a loan your score will drop a little. Because it will no longer be reported that you are making regular payments.

3 Contributions
28 People Helped

Helpful to 22 out of 22 people

I charge everything to get from 1~5% back and pay it off sometimes every week just to keep it at zero.  Money isn't a problem as the inflow is greater than the outflow so it's easy to keep the CC balances at zero.  Years ago, I fell into the trap that the credit card was a saving account I could tap and then pay back the minimum every month.  When my balance hit $12,000 the realization hit that I was paying interest that could be going into savings or spending on myself instead.  So I stopped the extra spending, worked a 2nd job and paid down the credit cards to zero.  Then paid off a car loan.  Then had extra money to pay off my 15 year mortgage in 9 years.  Now I'm debt free and loving it.  I am putting everything I used to pay to all debts into my 401(k) and have money left over every month.  I'm at the point I don't anticipate having to ever to take out a large loan again even with an 826 credit score.  With cash saved I can weather any financial storm.  I can do it SO CAN YOU!

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
4611 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Thank you for sharing! Sounds like you're doing great. 

1 Contribution
20 People Helped

Helpful to 20 out of 28 people

the journey card has helped my score hop 70 point i applied for it from capital one and my score peaked each week

Reply by
APeople

3 Contributions
68 People Helped
Helpful to 68 out of 99 people

Oh yeah? Check your score when you are carrying the maximum you usually have on your card before paying it off. Not sure why you are building your credit but suppose you are building it for a big loan. The day they check your balance let's use a hypothetical here, you are carrying a modest $350 on a card with a limit of $500. Now I realize you pay it off every month, but if they check your Credit score and see you are carrying a 60%+ debt load it looks risky. By this I mean you are, at that point in time using 60% of you available credit. Well some geek somewhere devised an agorythim that determines people who utilize over 30% of their available credit are a high credit risk. So next week after you pay it off, your credit utilization is 0% hmm that is a risk too! The whole thing is a game of timing, borrowing not just using a credit card but carrying some debt where you pay some inteest etc. It is a game people with real jobs and real bills just don't have time to play by all the rules, and if you do play by some rules you are absolutely breaking someone elses rules! 

Reply by
jkolp

1 Contribution
311 People Helped
Helpful to 311 out of 323 people

I had a 596 credit score.  I was able to get my score up to a 720 within a year. I am now at 18 months and I have a 748. 

It is very easy to do. There is no mystery shell game of dates like Mr APeoples below me has made it sound. 

When I found that my credit score was a 596 I was trying to buy a car. I ended up taking a 29% loan and had to put 3k down on a used 10k sedan. I had no choice. My baby broke down for the last time and I needed a car. 

I searched the web and found all kinds of horror stories and confusion until I came across a posting similar to the one I am posting now. I followed that posting to the T and it got me to a 748 in 18 months.

I applied for and was approved for three high interest credit cards with a $500 limit on each.  I know this sounds silly.  But, this is all you have to do.

I spent only $10-20 on each card each month and payed the balance in full as soon as the monthly statement posted. Each month my score rose a little and at 6 months all 3 cards increased my limit to $1k. I continued to only spend $10-20 on each per month and payed each statement in full. At 12 months I was at a 720!  

I then took my high interest car to the dealer and walked out with the original loan fulfilled, and got a brand new $20k car at $0 down and 1.9% interest and my payments are less than they were on my high interest vehicle. 

I then applied for and was approved for a $5k Amex, $6k Chase and $4k Discover. I closed 1 old card but kept the other 2. My score dipped about 10 pts initially but popped right back up and is now a 748. 

Your credit score will improve as long as you follow these rules:

Have multiple companies reporting to the credit bureaus. Keep credit cards under 10% of your available limit. Pay them off in full each month.  

Your credit cards and other loans report each time they issue a statement for the account. Whatever % of your limit you are at when your monthly statement posts is your 'utilization'. 

You must keep your utilization under 30% but under 10% will get you higher scores.

As your credit improves you can get approved for a few higher limit cards as I did and you'll actually see your score rise. You have and are continuing to establish good credit habits and are no longer a 'risk'. 

You can do it. I did. 748 and climbing!

Reply by
kingj0n

4 Contributions
51 People Helped
Helpful to 23 out of 39 people

I don't know mine before the middle of last year.
I know, mine was at 528...

I had to use a CC because I couldn't afford anything. I never used a CC, I mean, I did, but went years without.

I have 37 missed payments. (I was jobless and my student loans were $521 a month.

So for 4 months, I missed payments and there are 9 little loans within it. So 9x4 = 36 late payments from that. Even though I only send money to one company, my loan is split up with all sorts of interest rates. So that's why there are 9 different loans all of ~$5000-6000.

Total to pay, $48,000.. I'm doing the 10 years and pay $533 a month. By the time I pay it off in 10 years, it'll be around $64,000+ payed towards it.

So far, I haven't used the CC the whole time while my credit score was going up.

I had to get a loan from my job and a loan from cashnetusa or something like that, which cost $270 just to get a $800 loan out. (had to pay $1070 in 14 days)

I had to get a car, but I was able to get a 5.9% interest rate, but went with the dealer instead.

I put $0 down, got it to 5.5% for a Mustang with 21k miles.

Paid those each month without missing and now my credit score is 644.

A month ago, it was lower and no one accepted my application for a CC.

But then I got a $1500 credit with Motorola to get a $500 phone. I thought I wouldn't get it, but might as well stretch it out and pay ~$50 a month. I would have just used my CC and do it, but I think this is better.

Will now on use it... So in ~7 months, I jumped ~120 points.

I think by the time a year hits, I'll be over 700.

I think it has more to do with how much you get paid each month and how much your payments are....

$533 for student loans and $420 for my car.

Looks like I'm going to China this year too.

I love my job. I want to be able to get what the above guy got. Low % for car. I'll try to refinance my car with my work place after it reaches to the 700s.

Results 1-10 of 87Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 1 of 9   Previous | Next

Your Credit Scores Should Be Free. And Now They Are.

View your scores and reports anytime.

SIGN UP NOW

Comment on this Article

Write your comment:
Enter Your Comments