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Is It Good To Pay Off A Credit Card In Full? (Spoiler: YES!)

Is it good to pay off a credit card in full? Many people, including some financial experts (ahem, looking at you mortgage brokers…) used to recommend keeping a small balance on your credit card each month to boost your credit score. But is that really the right thing to do? Should you really keep a balance on your credit card?

You may be surprised to learn that it’s NOT advisable to keep a balance, and paying your card in full can be just as helpful at boosting your score. Here’s what you need to know.

Is it Good to Pay Off a Credit Card in Full? Or Make the Minimum Payments?Is it good or bad to pay off credit cards in full?

It’s a good thing! Not only will it save you money in the long run, but it shows you can pay your bills. In fact, did you know that credit usage over 30% can actually hinder your score? And, the lower you balance, the better off your score will be!

Related: FREE Credit Card Payoff Spreadsheet (Get Out of Debt in 2022!!)

Is it better to pay off your credit card in full?

Is it better to pay the minimum on credit cards? Or, is it better to pay off your credit cards in full? 

Definitely the latter.

Sure, credit card debt happens to many people. And you shouldn’t feel shame if you need to use credit for an emergency. But, it’s always better to pay off your credit card in full if and when you can.

“Should I pay off my credit card in full or leave a balance?”

This is the next question people usually ask. They think leaving a balance on their credit card is actually a good thing for their credit score.

You should never, ever, leave a balance on your credit card if you can help it. Again, you shouldn’t feel shame or guilt if you NEED to use the card for an emergency, or for basic survival (most of us have been there!).

But, why let the banks take more of your hard-earned money in interest when you can just pay them back and avoid it?

Related: The Average Credit Card Debt In 2021 (And How to Pay Yours Off!)

do you need a credit cardHow many times can I pay my credit card a month?

With many credit card companies, you can make as many manual payments as you want in a month. But keep in mind that some limit how many payments you can make in a specific time period.

Feel free to call your individual company and see what they allow.

How can I avoid paying interest on my credit card?

If you want to avoid paying interest on your credit card, pay your card on time, and in full, every single month within the grace period!

Basically, as soon as you get your bill, and the company tells you when that amount is due, pay it off completely before the due date to avoid interest.

Does completely paying off a credit card raise your score?

Again, is it good to pay off a credit card in full? Does it raise your credit score if you do so?

It can over time, especially if you keep the credit utilization at 0 or under 30%. Your overall credit card use (and how much you owe compared to what you have in credit) highly impacts your score. In other words, the less you owe, the better.

Related: Do You Need a Credit Card?

What happens when you pay your credit card in full?

“If I pay off my credit card in full, will my credit go up?” What happens when you pay in full?

A few things happen.

First, you can breathe and know that you won’t owe a dime in interest. That itself is priceless. But also, you can get the benefits of using a credit card (like points earned), without the negatives.

And, it also helps keep your credit score healthy, especially if you’re in good standing with all of your debt.

Related: Can You Pay Your Credit Card Bill With Another Credit Card? (Yes!)

Is it OK to pay off my credit card early?


You can always pay on what you know before the due date. In fact, this works well if you’re in credit card debt too. By paying early, you’ll reduce the balance amount the creditor reports to the credit bureaus. This can boost your score, plus help you pay less in interest over time.

What is the best time to pay your credit card bill?

You should aim for a few days before the due date. This will keep your account in good standing and can help you avoid paying interest.

Related: Credit Card Rules to Abide By

credit card rewards worth itIs it better to pay credit card early or on the due date?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter, but a few days early never hurt anyone!

As long as you’re paying the bill before the grace period ends, that’s what’s most important.

Can I pay my credit card the same day I use it?

You can if you’d like! If you’re an out of sight out of mind type of person, it may be easier to pay it off after each purchase. But, if that’s too tedious, you can also just pay the bill when you get the notice of your due date.

Related: Should You Use Cash or Credit Cards?

How many points will my credit score increase when I pay off credit cards?

This will depend on many factors, including the age of your credit, if you have any other debts, and how long you’ve kept your card at 0% utilization. But many people notice a jump of at least 10 points or more when they pay off their credit card.

How To Pay Off Your Credit Card Each Month

Now that you know why it’s important to pay off your credit card each month, let’s talk about how to do it!

Don’t Spend More Than You Can Afford

Of course, this is my number one tip. If you spend $4,000 a month on your card each month but only bring in $3,000, there’s no way to pay off the full balance each month.

There are many people that use credit cards to pay for their daily expenses. They do this to get the points, cash back, or whatever perks their card offers. But, it’s pointless to do if you can’t pay it off in full each month.

In fact, one of the top tricks to paying off credit cards is to go into as little debt as possible in the first place!

Related: The BEST Debt Snowball Excel Template (…And it’s FREE!)

Keep Money In Savings

Along with avoiding overspending, be sure to keep the money you’re earning in a savings account. That way, when it’s time to pay your bill, you can easily transfer the money and have it ready to pay in full.

Of course, you can also keep money in your checking account, if you’re disciplined enough to not double-dip into your credit card and account.

low income earners credit cardsKeep Track Of The Due Date

My husband, a natural overspender and guy with ADHD, has a hard time keeping track of dates, to-do’s, and more. While medication does help, he understands that his brain is just wired differently.

And that’s okay! But since being diagnosed, he started adding all due dates, bills, and anything else that he could think of to his calendar as an event. Then, it pops up on his phone, computer, and iPad, so he can’t say he didn’t see it. These help him remember to pay bills, like a credit card, so we aren’t charged interest.

Now, you may not have issues remembering certain tasks. But it’s easy to get busy or forget a due date if you don’t keep a reminder somewhere. You can write it in your planner, set an event, or even just have an email sitting in drafts to pay your bill by a certain date. Whatever works for you, just remember to do it!

Related: Debx Review: Avoid Credit Card Debt and Improve Your Credit Score??

Use Points To Pay Off Balances (If You Want)

Many people use their points, cash back, or other credit card perks. Some use it for travel, or eating out, or even get ahead on bills. None of these are bad or wrong. But, if you want to make sure to avoid a balance on your credit card, you may be able to use your points or cash back to help you pay some of the balance.

For example, we get points that we can exchange for cash back. Once we reach a certain amount (usually 5,000 points or more), we will have our bank convert that into cash. When they deposit it into our account, we just keep it in savings or put it towards the credit card if it has a balance. This has been really nice at making sure we always keep a $0 balance.

Related: Are Credit Card Rewards Worth It? (Quiet Down Dave Ramsey…)

Is It Good To Pay Off A Credit Card In Full?: YES!

As you can see, it’s a good thing to pay off your credit card, in full, every single month. While life happens and you may not always be able to, you shouldn’t keep a balance just because someone told you too. Trust me, your credit score will be fine if you pay it off every month.

What about you? Will you start paying off your credit card balance in full every month?

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AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard

Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.

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