Paying off debts is just the first step in restoring your credit scores

Dear Experian,

I just paid the last bill off my credit in May of this year. If there is nothing else for me to pay how does my credit score increase?



Dear ABR,

Congratulations! It is a great feeling to be totally out of debt.

Paying off your bills is a very important step in restoring your creditworthiness and your credit scores, but it is only the first step. If you stop using credit now, you are essentially freezing your credit history where it stands. To help your credit scores increase you need to start adding positive, current activity.

However, if you know you can’t handle the temptation of overspending, it is better to have low credit scores than to build up debt again. You have to be in control.

If you have that control and access to a credit card, the best way to add positive points is to use your credit card for some routine expenses such as gasoline or groceries and pay the full amount each month. You are demonstrating that you can use credit without overspending and without taking on debt.

Delinquencies or other negative information will have less impact is it slips further into the past and is eventually deleted, and your positive payment history will grow over time, leading to a renewed credit history and strong credit scores.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

Our policies for Ask Experian:

The information contained in Ask Experian is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation. Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Posts reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived posts may not reflect current Experian policy. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future post.