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When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

Member

When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

Say my cards payment due date is on Friday April 21st, does it matter if I pay off the current balance before my due date, or is it better to pay off the entire balance afterwards for that month, April 22nd onward without incurring the interest yet (ie they'll request a minimum payment of say $35 but I just pay it all off instead). 

Want to understand if doing one way is better for the other in terms of affecting credit. 
The main reason I ask is because, I've had a chase freedom credit card for 5 years now with no offer or auto credit limit increase, and am unsure how the actual system works for counting things like utilization. I've always paid off my current balance 1 or 2 days before the cut off /payment due date, so it would be $0 going into the next month's cycle. Would always making a payment prior to the due date make it look like I don't use my card much, therefore have no headroom for requesting a higher limit? 

29 REPLIES
Super Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

All i can say is looking for an auto increase on a Chase card is like looking for pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Sure once in awhile a leprachaun finds one once in awhile but pure luck of the charmsSmiley Happy
Valued Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)


Leaf wrote:

Say my cards payment due date is on Friday April 21st, does it matter if I pay off the current balance before my due date, or is it better to pay off the entire balance afterwards for that month, April 22nd onward without incurring the interest yet (ie they'll request a minimum payment of say $35 but I just pay it all off instead). 

Want to understand if doing one way is better for the other in terms of affecting credit. 
The main reason I ask is because, I've had a chase freedom credit card for 5 years now with no offer or auto credit limit increase, and am unsure how the actual system works for counting things like utilization. I've always paid off my current balance 1 or 2 days before the cut off /payment due date, so it would be $0 going into the next month's cycle. Would always making a payment prior to the due date make it look like I don't use my card much, therefore have no headroom for requesting a higher limit? 


If you wait till after due date, it is late and will result in late payment penalties, if at least min. payment is not paid, and will also incur interest. If you do not want it to report a balance you need to pay it before the statement cuts. If you pay after statement cuts, but before due date, it still reports the balance. The lender will report the statement balance to the CRA which may be different than current balance. If you want to avoid ever having interest, you must PIF the statement balance before the due date every month, but charges made on the card after the statement cuts can be payed next month. Ideally, for the best credit score you would PIF all cards except 1 before the statment cuts, and let 1 card report a small balance less than 9% of total credit limits and less than 30% of that cards CL. You should always, always pay at least min. amount due before the due date.




TU fico08=820 11/10/17
EX fico08=812 10/25/17
EQ fico08=818 10/25/17
Garden since 4/5/2017
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

Hi Leaf!  We can advise you better if you tell us how many cards you have total, and also what your total utilization is.  Is this card your only card?

 

Would you say that your past payment pattern has resulted in all of your cards reporting $0 each month?  Or do you always have at least one card that reports a positive balance?

 

PS.  Just saw Sarge's response.  Very helpful.  One of the things our OP may need help in understanding is the difference between when a statement prints and the due date assicated with that statement.  The due date is typically about 25 days after the statement prints (very roughly).

Member

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)


sarge12 wrote:

Leaf wrote:

Say my cards payment due date is on Friday April 21st, does it matter if I pay off the current balance before my due date, or is it better to pay off the entire balance afterwards for that month, April 22nd onward without incurring the interest yet (ie they'll request a minimum payment of say $35 but I just pay it all off instead). 

Want to understand if doing one way is better for the other in terms of affecting credit. 
The main reason I ask is because, I've had a chase freedom credit card for 5 years now with no offer or auto credit limit increase, and am unsure how the actual system works for counting things like utilization. I've always paid off my current balance 1 or 2 days before the cut off /payment due date, so it would be $0 going into the next month's cycle. Would always making a payment prior to the due date make it look like I don't use my card much, therefore have no headroom for requesting a higher limit? 


If you wait till after due date, it is late and will result in late payment penalties, if at least min. payment is not paid, and will also incur interest. If you do not want it to report a balance you need to pay it before the statement cuts. If you pay after statement cuts, but before due date, it still reports the balance. The lender will report the statement balance to the CRA which may be different than current balance. If you want to avoid ever having interest, you must PIF the statement balance before the due date every month, but charges made on the card after the statement cuts can be payed next month. Ideally, for the best credit score you would PIF all cards except 1 before the statment cuts, and let 1 card report a small balance less than 9% of total credit limits and less than 30% of that cards CL. You should always, always pay at least min. amount due before the due date.


Thank you so so much, your answer was spot on and explained it really well. 

 

 

 

 

 


CreditGuyInDixie wrote:

Hi Leaf!  We can advise you better if you tell us how many cards you have total, and also what your total utilization is.  Is this card your only card?

 

Would you say that your past payment pattern has resulted in all of your cards reporting $0 each month?  Or do you always have at least one card that reports a positive balance?

 

PS.  Just saw Sarge's response.  Very helpful.  One of the things our OP may need help in understanding is the difference between when a statement prints and the due date assicated with that statement.  The due date is typically about 25 days after the statement prints (very roughly).


I have

 

2 Chase, 2 Bank of America, 1 Amex, 1 Discover, 1 Citi, 1 Us BANK.

Sarge's answer was great and clarified it a lot for me, I'm unsure of total utilization I'd say below 10% per month (amongst all cards limits), and my past payment pattern has been to pay in full every card I used before their due date. I occasionally forget to pay 1 card, which I end up paying in full a few days after the email saying to pay at least the minimum by the next closing date. 

 

 

 

 

Valued Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

I want to expand on my previous answer, as many are confused about the 3 important dates.

 

1) Statement print date...is simply the day that a statement is generated and will include all charges that have posted up until that date. If there is any account balance on that date it will be reported to the CRA's as the statement balance and be included in utilization. To avoid a balance being reported, your current balance must be paid to 0 a few days before the statement cuts. If you can see a new statement online, or recieved one in the mail this date has passed. If the statement shows anything other than 0 balance, it is too late to prevent reported balance to CRA.

 

2) Due date as shown on the statement....This is the date by which the entire statement balance must be paid if you wish to not pay interest. This is also the date by which the minimum payment must be paid. If it is not, the issuer considers it late, and the issuer can and likely will charge you a late fee...usually about 35 dollars...and may even lead to adverse actions. It will not however result in being reported late on your credit report...that is where the third date comes in.

 

3) CRA late reporting date.....This is the date that will be reported as delinquent to the CRA's, and is 30 days past the due date. Delinquincies are reported as 30, 60, 90, 120 days late...so anything less than 30 days late will not report as late to the CRA, even though it will be considered late by the issuer even 1 day past the due date. If you have any reportable delinquincies, it will remain on the credit report for 7 years, unless you can somehow successfully have it removed.

 

So in summary to avoid any balance reporting...PIF before Statement print date. To avoid interest PIF entire statement balance before due date. To avoid penalty pay at least minimum before due date. If minimum is not paid before 30 days late it will cause major harm to your credit report.




TU fico08=820 11/10/17
EX fico08=812 10/25/17
EQ fico08=818 10/25/17
Garden since 4/5/2017
Super Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)


Leaf wrote:

Say my cards payment due date is on Friday April 21st, does it matter if I pay off the current balance before my due date, or is it better to pay off the entire balance afterwards for that month, April 22nd onward without incurring the interest yet (ie they'll request a minimum payment of say $35 but I just pay it all off instead). 

Want to understand if doing one way is better for the other in terms of affecting credit. 
The main reason I ask is because, I've had a chase freedom credit card for 5 years now with no offer or auto credit limit increase, and am unsure how the actual system works for counting things like utilization. I've always paid off my current balance 1 or 2 days before the cut off /payment due date, so it would be $0 going into the next month's cycle. Would always making a payment prior to the due date make it look like I don't use my card much, therefore have no headroom for requesting a higher limit? 


1. You should never ever pay after the due date, but it wouldn't make a difference to the lender how close to the due date you paid.

2. It could make a difference to your FICO 8 score and to some of your other FICO scores. The optimal credit card utilization is all cards but one reporting a zero balance and one card reporting a sub 10% balance. So that would mean paying all but one of your cards that are in use before the statement cut.

FICO8 EQ 721 TU 747 EX 732 Total revolving credit 454000
Valued Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

Valued Member

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)

how do I find out when the statement prints?

Valued Contributor

Re: When is it best to pay your credit card balance? (Before,after, or doesn't matter?)


pizzaman1 wrote:

how do I find out when the statement prints?


Most credit cards have a place on their site where you can download statements, the statements are dated. My chase credit cards have a statement dated March 24, and a due date of April 21...All my chase statements are dated the 24th of each month, and all due dates are the 21st of the following month.




TU fico08=820 11/10/17
EX fico08=812 10/25/17
EQ fico08=818 10/25/17
Garden since 4/5/2017