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If I pay my credit card minimum balance a day before the due date but then use it again that day , does that affect my credit ?

  • Only in as much as it affects the reported balance. If the purchase is a small portion of the credit line the effect will likely be minimal, however if the purchase comes close to maxing out the card you could see a larger drop, depending on you overall profile. – Norm Jul 9 '18 at 17:15
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Your credit score is based on many factors, so saying whether your credit will improve or decline because of one action is difficult to say.

Your credit score represents both your payment history and your ability to take on MORE debt. So paying your minimum balance will show that you pay on time, but charging MORE to it increases the amount of credit that you've used, which can reduce your credit score.

Of course, you can avoid the worry about the impact to your credit by just paying the ENTIRE amount and use debt as little as possible, certainly avoiding paying interest as much as you can. I don't want to be unsympathetic to personal circumstances, but using credit cards JUST to manipulate your credit score, earn "points" or other rewards, or just as a means to spend more money than you make only benefits the bank, and hurts your ability to save for the future and build wealth.

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    "earn "points" or other rewards" - As long as one pays in full every month, and spends according to the same budget as they'd have with cash, the reward/point game can be quite lucrative. The kid's 529 college acct is $42925 as of today, 100% funded with a reward card. On track to pay for last 3 semesters of college with this money. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 9 '18 at 10:37
  • @JoeTaxpayer - it certainly helps when you can seed it with nearly $5K in cash back arbitrage (as I seem to remember you did once). ;) – TTT Jul 9 '18 at 18:20
  • That was a different deal. The number I cite above was all from 2% cash back. My blog post “I got rich from credit card rewards” mentions both. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 9 '18 at 18:22
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For your credit score, it doesn't matter when you pay your credit card (unless you are late), or when you use it.

Your credit score is calculated based on:

  • the reported bill amount
  • if you are overdue with your payments
  • what percentage of your credit limit you use
  • other behaviors that have nothing to do with credit card usage

It is generally a bad idea to not pay your credit card in full, as you pay high interest, but that's your problem, and doesn't directly relate in your credit score - it just results in you having even less money.

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Anytime you use a credit card it could affect your credit score. Assuming no other changes in your credit profile, then each month, if you add up the total amount you owe across all of your credit cards:

  1. If the total amount you owe is less than the amount you owed last month, then your credit score goes up.
  2. If the total amount you owe is more than the amount you owed last month, then you credit score goes down.

How much it goes up or down depends on how big the change is compared to your overall credit profile. It may be so insignificant that it isn't noticeable, or it could raise/lower your score more than 50 points in a single month.

The good news is, even if your score starts creeping down over time, as long as you always pay at least the minimum and on time, then when you pay off the card in full your score will instantly (within 1 billing cycle) shoot back up to where you started.

The (potentially) bad news is, most people who only make minimum payments end up getting into situations they later regret, and it can oftentimes take many years to recover. Starting to make only minimum payments might be analogous to trying crack for the first time. Obviously use with caution.

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What you propose has zero impact.

I'd highly recommend you look at your score via a free service such at Credit Karma, or similar service. You score is impacted by the balances reported, and this may or may not coincide with the statement balance.

To be clear, I had a card that changed banks. This would have been transparent to me, except it resulted in a large score drop. I discovered that instead of reporting the statement balance (statements cut on the 15th of the month), it reported on the last business day of the month. Once I changed my payment pattern to account for this, my score returned to normal.

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