This Easy Trick Will Improve Your Credit Score and Help You Avoid Late Payments

Young African woman wearing glasses smiling while sitting alone at a table working online with a laptop.
FlamingoImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Paying bills on time is crucial to maintain a positive credit score. A consumer’s credit payment history accounts for up to 35% of their FICO score, according to myFICO. Keeping track of due dates and splitting bills into bimonthly payments can help borrowers avoid late or missed payments and save money.

There are multiple ways to improve credit scores and avoid late payments and fees. 

How To Raise Credit Scores by Paying Bills Bimonthly

Those with less than perfect credit might be surprised at how quickly they can improve their credit scores, beginning with paying their bills bimonthly. To effectively do so, cardholders can perform the following steps:

  1. Itemize Bills. Make a list of all bills, including minimum payments and due dates.  
  2. Assign Two Days Each Month To Pay Bills. Decide which two days of the month to make payments.
  3. Tally Up Monthly Bills and Divide Them by Two. Cardholders should divide each bill by two to determine the bi-monthly payment amounts.

Why This Helps

  • Avoid Missing Payments. Borrowers who create a plan to consistently pay their bills twice per month likely don’t have to worry about missed payments. It not only helps credit scores improve, but it also helps to avoid late payment fees. 
  • Reduce Interest and Pay Debts Faster. Many lenders compound interest daily, and bimonthly payments reduce the principal amount of money owed. Therefore, bimonthly payments slow the compounding interest rate, helping borrowers save money.
  • Lower Credit Utilization Scores. Mid-cycle payments could reduce the amount borrowers owe, leading lenders to report lower balances to credit reporting agencies. Lower credit utilization scores could improve credit scores.
Get Credit Card Perks

15/3 Credit Card Payment — Another Trick To Raising Credit Scores

Splitting loan payments into two monthly payments can be helpful. However, cardholders may be able to expand on their credit score improvements by timing payments perfectly, also known as the 15/3 credit card method. Here’s how: 

  1. Figure out each due date.
  2. Make the first half of the payment 15 days before the due date.
  3. Make the second half of the payment three days before the due date.

How This Helps

The 15/3 credit score hack utilizes specific timing to the borrower’s advantage. The goal is to ensure that lenders report a lower balance to credit reporting bureaus by the end of the billing cycle if cardholders are strategically making payments to reduce their balances.

Although there’s no guarantee, lower reported balances will decrease credit utilization scores, potentially resulting in a higher credit score. 

Raising Your Credit Score With Additional Payments

Borrowers with expendable money at the end of the month may wish to make additional payments above and beyond minimums. Doing so will help them pay down debt faster, avoid late fees and cut down on interest. 

Why This Works

There are several reasons why making extra payments helps credit scores:

  • Quickly Reduce Balances. Credit utilization is important in how credit reporting agencies calculate credit scores. Additional payments reduce balances faster. 
  • No Late Payments. Late payments can cause credit scores to fall between 90 and 110 points, while consistent on-time payments can increase scores. Extra payments likely decrease the chances that a borrower will have late payments. 
  • Cut Down on Interest. Extra payments are typically applied to the principal balance of the loan. This could save a borrower hundreds or even thousands of dollars of interest over time
Get Credit Card Perks

Final Take

The 15/3 credit card payment is a relatively easy hack toward financial responsibility, pushing credit scores to the top when performed consistently until debt is paid. However, it’s not the only option toward credit score improvement. 

Some people will do well to make more than two payments per month as the optimal way to manage their credit, keeping it in check. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to pay charges in real time, instead of waiting until the amount appears on the bill.  

Ashley Eneriz contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Oct. 6, 2022. 

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

Share This Article:

Get Credit Card Perks

About the Author

Joshua Rodriguez is a personal finance and investing writer with more than 10 years of experience. He is the founder of CNA Finance. His work has been featured on U.S. News & World Report, Money Talks News and several other mainstream outlets. 
Learn More