Credit Card Debt Q????

Updated on November 12, 2013
D.P. asks from McKinney, TX
15 answers

Does anyone know if paying off credit card debts can hurt your credit score? Does one have to have a revolving debt to have a healthy credit?


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answers from Portland on

Google credit scores to learn about them. Healthy credit is quantified by a score. There are many parts to s score. Not just whether or not you have balances. One part is how much credit you have available on comparison to something else. It seems complicated and some doesn't even make sense to me. I worked in credit 50 years ago. Determining whether or not someone is a good risk now is vastly different.

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answers from San Francisco on

No. Paying them off doesn't hurt you, but cancelling them can.

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answers from Miami on

Pay off the credit cards. Don't close them - that hurts your credit. Don't take out any new ones. After you've paid them off, use them but only judiciously, only on purchases you would make even with cash (groceries), and then pay the cards off in total every single month on time.

You actually have higher credit if you use credit. But you must pay it off.

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answers from Washington DC on


It depends upon who you talk to and what you want to do with your credit. If you are trying to purchase a home? It might hurt your credit. You can talk to a financial advisor - your bank might have one - and see what he/she says.

For me? Paying your credit cards off every month is the way to go. We are a cash only family and have no credit cards. Not even a gas card.

If you have a lot of debt AND you can pay them off? DO IT.

I personally don't believe you have to have revolving debt to have good/healthy credit. You need to have STABLE credit - whether it be a mortgage or car - showing that you pay your debts ON TIME.

Hope that helps!

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answers from Los Angeles on

An American myth.
Dave Ramsay.

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answers from Norfolk on

As far as I know, paying off your cc debt helps your score.
Cancelling cards might hurt.
But you can just cut them up and never use them again (after they are paid off) and cancel them at a later time.

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi D.,

It won't hurt your credit to pay it off (if pursuing a mortgage) but it will help show payment history if you are simply making payments. Most mortgagers want at least a year's history in order to even take an application. If you are not going to pursue a loan, no credit, cash is best. That's very difficult in today's society. I agree

God bless,

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answers from Rochester on

We cancelled all our credit cards a many years ago and right now have no credit cards at all. About 3 years ago we applied for a Home Equity Line of Credit and had no problem getting it because we have a credit score of 720! You do not need credit cards to get a good credit score.

When my son in law and daughter were planning to buy a house they went to the bank to find out how big of a mortgage they qualified for. They were told to cancel any credit cards they had but were not using because they can actually hurt your credit score. Once they did that their credit score jumped almost 40 points!

I suggest you talk to a financial annalist to find out what would be best for you.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Paying off does no harm.
Closing the account can, though.

We pay our credit cards off in full every single month. (We started using them to pay pretty much everything, and then just paying the one bill each month. Our card gives us perks (cash back) and costs us nothing. No fees. No interest, bc we pay it in full. My credit rating is over 800. I'm pretty sure that if paying the bill off damaged your credit, that my score wouldn't be what it is.

I would also mention that the number of accounts you have can be part of the equation. If you have 15 accounts then I think that may not be a positive. Personally, I don't open store accounts. I hate them. And I think having a lot of them can harm your credit. I keep one main credit line not connected to any particular retailer. And use that for everything. Not an Old Navy card, a Target card, a Belk card, a Nordstrom card, a DSW card, etc. Almost ever retailer can offer you a line of credit. Usually with a hook of getting some percent off the purchase you are about to make if you sign up for their card. I decline those every single time. It's just a way to lose track of what you are spending if you ask me.

I use one card, and can pull it up online anytime I want and see what we've spent and ON what. Heck, a couple of weeks ago, I pulled it up to send in the payment (needed to know the balance to do that) and saw that my husband (who was on his way home) had stopped and gotten a car wash. :)
Everything in one place makes it easy to keep track. And pay off without missing something. And I've never met a store card that had anything less than 18% (usually over 20%) interest rate attached to it. My personal credit card has a rate around 11% (I think.. .I actually am not sure b/c we never pay any interest).

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answers from New York on

No, it won't hurt your credit score to pay off the credit cards. Actually, just the opposite.

Once the card is paid off, DO NOT close the account. Depending on your situation, this can drastically reduce your score.

No, you do not need revolving credit to have healthy credit, however, it does help. Part of your score is based upon the ratio between the amount of credit available and the amount you use. In the case of a credit card, you never, never, never, want to use above 30% of your credit line. If you have $1,000 limit, never go over $300.

If you have a credit card that does not have a balance on it, I recommend using it every 2 to 3 months. Just make a small charge, and the pay the balance in full, to avoid the interest charge.

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answers from San Francisco on

You can pay your card in full every month and still have revolving credit as you continue to use it. You can have an excellent credit score if you pay them off each month.

Keeping credit card debt for the sole purpose of maintaining your credit score seems really stupid to me. You pay so much in interest that you are just throwing away that money.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Paying off the card is the best for you. Your credit score will good up if you have a high amount of borrowing power ($25K available credit out of $25K vs 15K available out of $25K). I too have heard showing that you are able to pay monthly (revolving) is a positive when a lender is looking at your credit. They want to know you are able to purchase and pay, not just have credit with zero use.


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answers from Oklahoma City on

When we went to qualify for our first home we didn't qualify for near as much as we thought we'd get. The Realtor told us that every credit card counted as full even though it might be at zero. We could go max it out the day after we qualified....that made sense to me.

So closing those accounts that we just didn't use or paying them off the closing them out was what we did. I had credit available at online shopping places and those showed up too. I can't remember the names of them but one delivered candy and fruit stuff to anywhere in the USA.

Once we decided to close a bunch of them out we qualified for a house nearly double what we had originally qualified for. That was a huge difference. It was the best thing we ever did to improve our credit line.

We did keep a couple of major credit cards and did keep one store card, Wards, it went out of business anyway so it closed itself.

If you think about how a credit card works you will either pay it off each month or pay it off by making the minimum payment then making a second payment a couple of weeks later to be applied to the principle.

If you look at the payment amount then the amount of debt you've charged that second total never changes much. You are simply paying the interest each month and a few pennies of actual debt. Once I realized that I made the decision to get rid of credit cards. I don't have a credit card at this time and neither does hubby. He doesn't even have a debit card on his checking account.

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answers from Chicago on

My understanding is that paying it off is not a problem, it's closing the account that is. However, a banker told me that if you close it it bounces back up in a couple of months.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't think it hurts to pay it off, but if you do, close the account. To many open accounts can cause your score to go down.

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