I'm 19 years old and recently opened a secured credit card with my local credit union in order to build credit. I payed off my balance last month and this one in full just because I was already paying last month so why not pay off my whole balance right? Well I didn't use my card again at all and now I received my billing statement and it's 0.00 that needs to be paid. Is this bad? It shows how much I used over the month and that I already paid it off but should I have left a little bit or used my card again so I would have something to pay on the bill?

  • Some good answers on that similar question, paying off early helps as it keeps your usage ratio low, but likely minimal impact on credit score. Technically there is opportunity cost when paying bills early, since you could be earning interest on that money until it is due, but with saving interest rates so low it's not typically significant. It's not bad to have $0 due. – Hart CO Sep 28 '17 at 21:01
  • If you go too long without using a card and maintain a zero balance, it will be marked as dormant for credit purposes and will result in it not doing you any good, so put a few bucks on it every month and pay it off to keep it going active. – GµårÐïåñ Sep 28 '17 at 23:01

My advice is to not start playing the credit score game. Here's how to build credit and use debt responsibly:

  • Pay your bills in full on time (do not pay a dime of interest)
  • Don't spend more just to use the card (e.g. get points, miles, discounts, etc.)
  • Only use the card on what you would otherwise spend cash for

If you do all of those things, your credit will be just fine.

So no, you should not use the card just to have a balance to pay off.

If you want to use the credit card as a tool, then you're free to do that. But trying to game the system to get a few more points on your credit score is a dangerous game.


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