Paying credit card bills early doesn’t hurt scores

Dear Experian,

Does paying credit card bills ahead of time hurt your credit scores?



Dear AVE,

Paying your bills early doesn’t hurt credit scores, but probably won’t help them much, either

The key to having good credit scores is paying your bills on time, every time. Whether they are several days or weeks early or right on time doesn’t really matter.

Most lenders report updates on their accounts only once a month, after all payments are processed for a billing cycle. The balance they report is the amount shown as due on your statement.

If you are trying to improve your utilization ratio, you need to pay down the balance before the due date and then not add to your balance by charging more the following month. The only way to have a zero balance is to avoid charging anything for an entire billing cycle.

Ideally, you should charge only the amount that you can pay in full each month. That keeps your balance low, avoids any finance charges, and helps you build a great credit history that will enable you to get the best rates on new credit.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team