Some background

In an attempt to get out of the rental game, I'd like to get my score boosted to the point where I can get considered for first time homebuyer programs. I'm spending north of $1300/month in an area where even awful mortgages on decent homes go for $600/month, and the idea of not wasting around $8K per year has me ready to do anything I need to do to meet this goal.

Due to some stupidity earlier in my life, my credit's a mess right now. Upper 400's with lots of miscellaneous collections still floating around. I've been swatting those down, but it's been a long and grueling process, and getting my identity stolen along the way was not helfpul.

I'm also trying to quit living off my debit card, due to the aforementioned identity theft problems.

Which takes me to my card usage. I've got two cards right now, one secured, one unsecured.

What I'm thinking of doing:

I have a somewhat substantial tax refund coming in. I'm considering, in order:

  • Wiping out the balance on both cards. They're high, but not maxed out. I'd say 75%.

  • Allocating roughly half the secured card account to raise its limit further

  • Moving all automatically recurring bills to the now-higher-limit secure card

  • In the future, zeroing the balance of that card from checking on a daily basis, in essence, carrying no balance, ever.

Now then, considering that I need a mid 500's score to get into the local programs, and it seems like every point counts, is this plan going to cause me problems?

  • 2
    Yes, problems. See other credit questions regarding the zero statement balance. Zero is not the ideal. The other issues will take time to fall off. I'm sorry to say, your history will be the tough thing, it will take as long as 7 years. See creditkarma.com and you can tinker to see what will affect your score short term, if anything. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 0:05
  • 1
    Use that money to settle / pay off the collections, not for increasing the line on your secured card. There's no point in paying off your credit card every day - pay it once a month, in full, when the bill is due.
    – Todd
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


While there's no benefit to carrying "no balance, ever" there's also probably no down side. Though, practically, it seems like a lot of work to touch your account daily. I'd just pay them when you get the statement. Provided you haven't carried a balance through the prior billing period you won't be paying any interest.

Your statement balance is not the number that's reported to the bureaus. Your creditors take a snapshot of your account on some date and time during the month. The snapshot may coincide perfectly with the generation of your statement, but that's not likely. Even if you pay your balance daily it's not likely your credit report would show zero balance, which is commonly referred to as "bad." It's just a lot of work for no benefit.

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