The best time to pay a credit card bill is a few days before the due date, which is listed on the monthly statement. Paying at least the minimum amount required by the due date keeps the account in good standing and is the key to building a good or excellent credit score. That’s true for everyone, but some people might want to take things a step further, particularly cardholders carrying balances from month to month and people with high credit utilization.
If you have a credit card balance that you carry from month to month, it’s best to pay that credit card’s bill as soon as the monthly account statement becomes available. This will save you money on interest. Paying the card’s monthly bill in full for two consecutive months will also reduce your interest charges by reinstituting your account’s grace period. Instead of purchases beginning to accrue daily interest charges right after you make them, you will have a window between when your monthly statement becomes available and when your bill is due to pay with no interest.
If the balance listed on your monthly credit card statements consistently equals more than 30% of the card’s credit limit, consider paying your bill multiple times per month. Paying once in the middle of the month and again before the due date will reduce the balance listed on your statement. That, in turn, will lower your credit utilization, which should help your credit score.
Here’s a quick example: You have a credit card with a limit of $1,000. You charge $500 to it, using up 50% of your credit. Then, you make a payment of $300 before the billing period closes and your statement is generated. That brings your statement balance to $200 and your utilization to 20%. Paying off the final $200 before the due date then keeps your account in good standing.
Here’s when to pay a credit card:
If your credit utilization is 30% or less and you pay in full every month, pay your credit card bill by the due date listed on your monthly account statement.
If your balance is more than 30% of your credit limit, pay your credit card bill before the billing period closes to reduce your credit utilization, then pay the remaining balance by the due date.
If you’re carrying a balance from month to month, pay off your full credit card balance as soon as possible to save on interest.
It’s a good idea to set up automatic payments with your credit card issuer so you don’t have to worry about when to pay your credit card bill. Doing so will automatically make a payment from a linked bank account every month on the due date, or a day of your choice before that. You can’t be marked late unless your account has insufficient funds. And even with automatic payments set up, you can still make additional payments any time you want.
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