Should I Pay Off My Credit Card in Full?

Written By
G. Dautovic
Updated
March 15,2022

It’s common for people to ask the question, “Should I pay off my credit card in full?” You may have heard that carrying a balance can benefit your credit rating, but is this right? In this guide, we’ll discuss whether it’s wise for you to pay off your balance all at once. 

Reasons To Pay Off Your Credit Card in Full

There’s often an assumption that carrying a balance can improve your credit score. However, this assumption is wrong: Carrying a balance will not improve your credit score and will only cost you more money in the form of interest. If you can, you should pay off your balance all at once each month instead of keeping a balance on your cards. If you do this, you will:

Lower Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Using a credit card can be beneficial for your credit rating if you keep up to date with payments and demonstrate that you can be trusted to make deadlines. However, it’s important to note that your credit utilization ratio has a significant impact on your credit score. It is currently the second most important factor, contributing to 30% of your FICO score.

If your credit utilization ratio increases, your credit score will decrease. If your credit utilization ratio is low, your credit rating will be better. The ratio is the percentage of available credit you use. To achieve the highest credit score, you should keep the ratio below 7%. If you have credit cards, the comparison of your credit card balance to your total credit limit will influence your credit utilization ratio. 

Avoid Paying More in Interest and Fees

If you have a balance on your credit cards, you may be paying interest, and there could be additional fees or charges to cover if you fail to meet a payment deadline or pay the minimum monthly payment. The higher your balance, the more you’ll pay in interest. One of the primary arguments for paying your balances in full is to reduce the total cost of borrowing money. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re using your credit card more frequently, interest fees can creep up, and the increased cost of paying off your credit card can make it more difficult to clear debts. This is one of the main reasons not to carry a balance. 

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a numerical rating provided by major credit bureaus. Financial organizations and lenders use credit scores to determine the level of risk prospective customers pose. If you have an excellent credit rating, this indicates that lenders can trust you. If you apply for a loan or a credit card with such a score, the lender is more likely to approve the application, and you should also be able to access preferential rates. Keeping the lowest balance on your credit cards can help you to increase your credit score. 

Avoid Debts Piling Up

The minimum payment on a credit card is the lowest amount a customer can pay. Although keeping up to date with payment deadlines should be the priority, it’s advantageous to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of just paying the minimum every month.

Carrying credit card balances forward can make it difficult to clear debts, especially if you’re spending more at the same time as paying the minimum amount. As your balance increases, the interest fees will rise, and you could get into a spiral.

You might find that your debts pile up to a point where you can’t make a significant dent in the balance. If you have the funds available, it’s best to try to clear your balances as soon as possible. 

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Now that we’ve established that paying off credit card debt is the best route you could take, you may be wondering what the best way to pay off the remaining balance is. Here are some options to explore.

Pay Off Your Balance All at Once

This may be an option worth considering if you have inherited money or you’ve had a financial windfall. If you have the funds available, the sooner you pay off your credit card debt, the better. You can make a payment in full to reach the lowest balance and eliminate interest fees and penalties. 

Snowball Method

Many people can’t afford to clear their balances in one go. If you want to reduce your debt, it’s a good idea to consider the snowball method. The snowball method involves paying off debts in order of the outstanding balance. You start with the credit card with the lowest balance and once you pay off the remaining balance on that card, you move on to the next.

This method can help you to be proactive in clearing debts and it may be easier to maintain motivation, as you’ll be able to make progress relatively quickly. If you choose to take this route, you’ll need to ensure that you pay off the first credit card while keeping up with the minimum payments on any other cards you have. 

Avalanche Method

The avalanche method works in the opposite way to the snowball method. The aim is to tackle high-interest debts as a priority. If you want to pay off your credit card balances using this technique, you pay the minimum payment on your credit cards while paying more off the card with the highest interest rate.

This will help you to reduce your total debt by decreasing the amount of interest you pay on your credit cards. Once you have paid off the card with the highest APR, move on to the next card on the list. The avalanche method can take more time in the beginning, and it can be more difficult to stay motivated than when using the snowball method. 

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation may be an option worth considering if you have multiple cards. There are two main routes you can take. 

The first is to find a credit card offer for 0% APR for a period of time. You can transfer balances from existing cards to reduce your interest payments. You’ll need to make sure that you clear the transferred balance before the offer period expires. 

The second option is to take out a debt consolidation loan. In this case, you borrow money from a lender and use it to clear existing debts. You can pay off your credit cards and consolidate your debt into a monthly loan repayment.

This type of debt payment method can simplify the process of paying off debts, reduce interest fees and ease financial pressures if you’re worried about how you’re going to clear credit card balances without a cash injection. Compare loans and seek financial advice before you apply for a debt consolidation loan. 

Conclusion

If you have the funds to do it, you shouldn’t be reluctant to pay off your balances in full each month. Paying off credit card debts can help you to avoid high credit card interest, improve your credit score, reduce your credit utilization ratio, and manage your finances effectively.

FAQ

Does completely paying off a credit card raise your score?

+

Paying off your credit card debt in full shows lenders that you can be trusted to manage your finances, which is beneficial for your credit rating. Payment history and credit utilization ratio are the two most important factors for credit bureaus when considering your credit score. It’s better to clear credit card debts than to carry a balance.

What happens when you pay off your credit card statement in full?

+

When you pay your credit card statement in full, your credit score will improve. A high credit score indicates that lenders can trust you. If you have a good credit score, you should find it easier to borrow money and you’ll have access to preferential rates and offers.

Is it OK to pay off my credit card early?

+

Yes; the sooner you can pay your credit card balance, the better. Your credit rating will improve and you’ll also reduce the amount of interest you owe. Paying a credit card bill early means that the card issuer will report a smaller balance to the credit bureau.

Is it better to pay off a credit card or leave a small balance?

+

If you’re wondering, “Should I pay off my credit card in full?” you should know that it’s better to pay your card in full than to leave a balance. A low credit utilization ratio will help you improve your credit rating. Low balances can also reduce interest payments and prevent late fees.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

More from blog


Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.


There are no comments yet