When is the Best Time to Pay Your Credit Cards to Build Credit?

Written by Banks Editorial Team
3 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
3 min. read

Should you make your credit card payment on the due date to build credit? Or is there another time of the month that’s better to improve your credit score? It depends on the credit card issuer, but you should pay on or before the due date to avoid late payments and potential damage to your credit score. You may also want to pay your balance down when it reaches a certain percentage of your credit limit. Here’s why. 

Build Credit and Savings with Self

Self, also known as Self Lender, offers an easy way to build your credit scores with a credit builder loan and credit card.

How Paying Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

Paying your credit cards affects both your payment history and credit utilization ratio. Here’s why: 

  • Payment history makes up 35 percent of your credit score. When you make payments on time payments, positive payment history is added to your credit report. It could improve your credit score over time. But if you miss a payment and the account reaches 30 or more days past due, your credit score could drop significantly.
  • Amounts owed to creditors account for 30 percent of your credit score. Ideally, you want to keep the credit utilization on your credit cards at 30 percent or lower – 10 percent or lower is even better if you want to achieve a good or excellent credit score.

When Do Credit Card Companies Report Payments to Credit Bureaus?

It depends on the credit card issuer. Most report on a specific day each month, which could be before or after your due date. So, you want to reach out to your credit card issuer directly to confirm so you’ll know when to make your credit card payment(s) each month. 

When to Pay Your Credit Card to Help You Build Credit

Paying Your Credit Card Balance Early

Of course, you want to pay your credit card balance before the due date if possible. But it’s equally important to keep the reporting date in mind, which is typically close to the statement closing date. 

Paying Your Credit Card Balance on Time

As mentioned above, falling behind on credit card payments could have severe consequences for your credit score. But if you pay on time, you won’t have to worry about fees, penalty APRs and adverse credit reporting. 

Making Multiple Credit Card Balance Payments

Each time your utilization exceeds 30 percent, consider paying your credit card balance down to preserve your credit rating. You could end up making several payments each month, but you’ll also prevent a high rate of utilization from being reported to the credit bureaus. 

Build Credit and Savings with Self

Self, also known as Self Lender, offers an easy way to build your credit scores with a credit builder loan and credit card.

Paying Your Credit Card Balance in Full

If you pay your credit card balance in full each month before the credit card issuer reports to the credit bureaus, your credit score could benefit. Your credit report will reflect a utilization rate of zero, which positively influences your credit score. 

Keeping Credit Card Accounts Open

It could be tempting to close old credit card accounts with a zero balance that you aren’t currently using. However, you should refrain from doing so. If not, your average age of credit accounts, which accounts for 15 percent of your credit score, could decrease and have a negative impact on your credit score.

Things to Do with Your Credit Card to Build Credit

Beyond paying your credit card bills early or on time each month and keeping your utilization low, here are some ways to use a credit card to build credit: 

  • Ask a relative or friend to add you as an authorized user on their credit card. You’ll benefit from their positive payment history and establish credit faster.   
  • If you can’t get approved for an unsecured product, apply for a secured credit card, and keep the balance at zero. Or pay the card off each time you use it. 
  • Monitor your credit report to ensure your accounts are reported correctly and no errors exist. If you notice inaccuracies, file disputes right away to have them rectified.

Consider a Credit Builder Loan to Build Credit

Perhaps you’ve been turned down by several credit card companies or would prefer to explore other ways to build credit? A credit builder loan from a reputable company, like Self, could be a good idea. 

Self helps you save money while building credit, and you don’t need a specific credit score or income to qualify. And you won’t have to get a hard inquiry on your credit report to determine your eligibility for a credit builder loan. Here’s how it works: 

  • Apply for a Self credit builder account in minutes without undergoing a hard credit pull. 
  • If approved, select the credit builder account with a monthly payment and term that works for your budget. 
  • Self will place the funds into a certificate of deposit. 
  • Make the agreed-upon payment each month. 
  • Self will report payment activity to the three primary credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – to help you build a positive payment history.  
  • Receive your savings (minus interest and fees) once you pay off your account.

Credit builder loans from Self are available to consumers in all 50 states, and there are three options to choose from: 

  • Small Builder: You’ll pay $25 per month for 24 months and receive $520 when you pay off the balance.
  • Medium Builder: You’ll pay $35 per month for 24 months and receive $724 when you pay off the balance.
  • Large Builder: You’ll pay $48 per month for 12 months and receive $539 when you pay off the balance.

(Quick note: All credit builder accounts from Self come with a $9 administrative fee).

You could also qualify for a Visa secured credit card after three months of responsibly managing your credit builder account. 

If you’re ready to give Self a test drive to build your credit health, apply today. It’s fast, easy and won’t impact your credit score. 


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