Is a Credit Card Balance Essential for a High Credit Score?

High Credit Score

If you’re like millions of Americans who are trying to build or repair their credit in order to make a large purchase, you’re probably wondering exactly how your credit score is calculated. Even if you’re not looking to buy a house or car right now, it’s always helpful to make sure your credit score is on the up-and-up, just in case. It’s not just banks checking our credit anymore. Landlords, insurance companies, and even potential employers will want to know your credit score. This helps people determine how trustworthy you are when it comes to your fiscal responsibilities.

A lot of factors are considered when calculating credit scores. Among them is length of credit history. This is how long you’ve been building credit. You don’t begin automatically when you’re 18. Credit history begins to build as soon as you open your first account, such as a student loan or a credit card. So do you have to carry a balance on a credit card to have a high credit score?

No. This is a common myth, but it’s just not true. Here are three better ways to raise your credit score:

1. Pay off your credit card balances each month

When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to run up a huge credit card bill, but hold off on that. Buy only what you need using money you already have. If you do put a few expenditures every month on a credit card, make sure you can pay them off by the time your next statement rolls around. Not only will this save you from going into debt, but it will give your credit score a nice boost.

2. Become a signer on a parent’s (or spouse’s) long-standing account

If your parent or spouse is willing, have them add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized signer. Because this may leave someone vulnerable, it can be a large ask. But having an account show up on your credit report with twenty years of good history can do wonders to raise a credit score. But be careful not to run up a large balance, as this may lower your score and the score of the person who opened the account.

3. Always pay on time

Regardless of the bill you’re paying, make it a priority to pay it on or before its due date. Not only will this save you from late fees, but it will help you avoid ever being sent to collections. And if you must carry a credit card balance for a short amount of time, make sure you always pay at least the minimum amount due, and pay it on time.

So while a credit card balance itself isn’t essential for a high credit score or credit repair, having at least one credit card open in your name may help you build your credit. For more information on building or repairing credit, please visit

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