Do you carry a credit card balance?

I pay mine off every month. What about you?

Me too. Credit card debt and bank overdrafts are the nastiest kinds of debt to leave outstanding, so I try to pay them off in full ASAP. I’ve been told it’s not the best way to get a good credit rating (banks like customers to run up big debts and to pay them off regularly and without fail, but slowly so they can build up the interest payments), but if you don’t have the time to be switching between low-rate offers every six months then paying it off is a priority.

During my last marriage, I paid mine off every month. During my divorce, I managed to rack up huge debts that I am still paying off. My credit rating sucks now, and I never did get my credit cards entirely paid off. That said, I am finally getting the bloody thing paid down, and hope to have my main credit card paid off this year.

Of course, being a student and a mother of several kids does not give me as much expendable income as I’d like, so it’s a rather slow process.

So far we’ve been able to keep a zero balance. However, it’s been more “one of those months” than usual: one kid has impacted molars, the other has impacted cuspids, the upstairs plumbing fell apart, the garage door warped off the track, and one kid is starting college in the fall. Somehow I think our record may slip for a while!

Once we were late by 2 days, they slapped us with about 2 intrest and a F&%#n $30 late payment charge. They said the only way for us to not pay was to drop the card, which we gladly did.
otherwise we pay in full each month

Well, due to some creative financing, we have managed to eliminate our consumer debt. Now, we are going to make every effort not to rack up any.

This is why I like my American Express card, because it must be paid off every month.

I have absolutely no credit card debt…I don’t even own a credit card. My check card doesn’t count.

In fact I have no voluntary debt…no need to discuss the involuntary debt though :wink:

I take great joy in having a credit card for free. My bill is always paid in full at the end of the month, and I laugh heartily at the regular attempts by my credit card company to entice me into debt.

It’s disheartening to hear that paying off your credit cards each month will not result in a good credit rating. Can anyone give more info on this? Seems to me that it should be considered fiscally responsible behavior, and therefore rewarded.


The reasoning, although lame, as I understand it (I used to be a credit and collections manager for a chain of tires stores) is they WANT you to carry a balance so they can charge you interest. The act of paying off your credit card doesn’t allow a company to make money on the money the “lent” you throughout the month. Therefore, paying off your credit each month, they actually lose money.

How this should reflect on a credit rating? Not sure. By idea, a person that has made payments on time every month should be reflected as a perfect credit rating no matter if it was the minimum payment or the card paid in full. It’s been almost ten years since I was in the biz so things may have changed.

I pay mine off every month, with very few exceptions. I generally don’t make a purchase unless I have the money to pay for it; putting it on a credit card is merely a convenience. I have a perfect credit history.

I TRY to pay mine off in full every month. I don’t always make it…I’m in a somewhat seasonal business. When I don’t, I understand that the consequence of carrying a balance is the interest. Feh.

However, I have low limits; my highest card is $1,000. I refuse higher limits. $1,000 is enough to rent a car anywhere in the world…My current balance on all cards is about $1,100. I’ll have them paid off by the beginning of March. :slight_smile:

Elkwoman and I have been married almost 9 years, and we have NEVER paid off our VISA card. We come close, and then something catastrophic happens to car, house, etc., and away we go again. Fortunately, we managed to get a card with a very favorable (8.8%) annual interest rate, so our monthly interest charge is maybe $10. I suppose if we really deprived ourselves for 6 months or so we could pay it off, but it has never been a high enough priority. It drives my parents (and hers) absolutely batty when we talk so casually about it, but hey, it’s OUR money, and we’d rather enjoy more of it each month; we accept the interest as a “fun tax”. However, new hope has arisen, as my student loans have finally been repaid, freeing up another $147.57 per month which we both agree will go to credit card repayment.

Same here w/ paying it off in full each month. I’m cheap. The card is a convenience but I refuse to pay the exortionate interest. Of course they’re always luring me w/ higher and higher credit limits. Fat chance. If I ever need that much money I’ll borrow it reasonable rates.


I have paid off 3 different car loans with a credit card that has a 3.9% interest rate. As long as you don’t drop your payment to the minimum required, it works out the same as a high interest loan, only better.

It kind of nice, when the salesman for home equity loans calls us up. They ask if we carry a balance, we say yes, and they start telling how much money we can save by paying off the credit card balance with their “low interest 10% annual” loan. They get quiet when I tell them they have to beat 3.9%.

I believe it is VERY important not to carry a balance on your credit cards. Although there are indeed some cards available with a small interest rate, by and large they are very high, and very HAZARDOUS to your financial well-being. I know this from experience. I went through a difficult time when I had to work well below my skill/qualification level, and was very underpaid. To my misfortune, I used my credit cards as a way to augment my otherwise reduced lifestyle. I’m sure I ended up paying for dinner dates and haphazard expenses for many many years with my principal balances building and barely keeping up with the finance charges. This was like a ball and chain I carried with me for many years.
Thankfully, I have jumped through many career hurdles successfully, and have paid off all of my debts through better money/career management and self-discipline. What a relief to be DEBT FREE!!!
I do feel it is necessary to have at least one credit card, for emergencies and for renting a car (try renting one WITHOUT one!). The key is living within your means. During my years of financial difficulty, I don’t think I balanced my checkbook once or had any sort of budget plan. I was very unconscious about money.
Wouldn’t it be great if kids were taught about the many lessons of money management from an early age? Sadly, too many of us don’t learn those lessons until adulthood, and for some folks, they NEVER learn at all.
My advice? Carry plastic but do everything you can NOT to use it. Set up a budget. Live WITHIN your means. There are many creative ways we can add luxury and comfort to our lives without having to spend a lot of money on the ‘latest’ and ‘greatest’ thing to come along.

If I were living within my means, I would be dead.

My credit card’s been maxed out for at least six months now. Thank god I’ve always been able to meet the minimum payments. However, after I finish the study I’m on and get $1000 I should be able to pay a fair amount of it off. (The rest goes to my tuition, which is a month late.)

Well, I had a hard time getting credit extensions, due to my habit of paying off in full every month, until I had it explained by a friend.
It makes sense, sorta…
Paying off in full every month, then racking up more charges, and repeating, is seens as bad. It seems to be evidence that you are living just barely within your means, and running up charges nexty month since you spent all your money paying it off the month before.
What worked for me due to his advice was to pay it off in full at the end of the month AS WELL AS paying off whatever balance I had every week or so. In other words, make it look like you’re trying to give yourself enough room on a card with too little breathing space (which in my case was easy with a pathetic $500 limit).

Well, it worked. Both my VISA and Discover limits are most magnaminous now.
Apparently, something else that makes you popular is paying off, say, twice the monthly payment on your car. I’ve been paying off an extra $500 each month and have just been flooded with credit offers ever since (with improved quality over previous floods I mean - Platinum, no fees,0-1.9% for first year).

It seems like when you don’t have a lot of debt, everyone wants to give you a great deal, but once you have some debt, everyone offers you 21%.

we used to get flooded, then unfortunately we acquired debt and then when we wanted to get a card so we could consolidate the debt, no one wanted to do it.

I believe what you’re saying here, and I can see how the Powers that Lend might interpret paying off in full every month that way.

It still bothers me (that it works this way) because: (a) living beyond your means is apparently preferable to living barely within them; and (b) that’s not the only valid interpretation of that kind of behavior.

I pay my credit card balance off in full at the end of each billing statement. I could, I suppose, deliberately leave a balance on there but haven’t really been convinced that it’s truly necessary. Last August I had no difficulty getting a car loan at the credit union’s most favorable rate, so I guess my credit rating can’t be that bad (in the sense that non-existent = bad).

In my magical Excel virtual check book register that I hacked together, I enter “future expenses” with a flag marking them as such. This way, I can see my current checking account balance, but I can also (at a glance) see how things are looking for the next month or so. Next month’s Visa bill is a “future expense”, and the amount is automatically updated from another page into which I enter each Visa purchase. Every time I look at my checking account, the impending Visa payment is staring me in the face.

I treat my Visa card like a charge card, and use it only for the convenience. I have a credit union share account that I’d dip into before leaving a balance on my card, as the interest rate is extremely high. Since I have no intention of carrying a balance, I have never sought to get it lowered (which probably shows lack of foresight: I plead guilty).

Of course I pay them off every month. My momma didn’t raise no fools.

My favorite is using Discover to get cash at the grocery store. Gotta love getting cash back for cash!