Experts: 3 Ways To Improve Your Credit Using a Credit Card

Internet shopper entering credit card information using digital tablet.
Poike / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Credit cards are a useful tool so long as you know how to use them. They make it just as easy to build good credit as they do to build bad credit. And your credit, good or bad, will affect whether you’re able to afford a home or rent an apartment. It can affect the percentage of interest you pay and your ability to get a loan. If you haven’t thought about your credit report before, now might be the time to start. GOBankingRates asked the experts, and these are their top 3 tips for using your credit to establish good credit.

Explore: GOBankingRates’ Best Credit Cards for 2023
Discover: If Your Credit Score Is Under 740, Make These 4 Moves Now

1. Keep Your Balance Low

In order to build credit, you have to use credit. But you never want to spend more than you can afford and end up carrying a balance from month to month. That’s how you end up paying more interest in the long run. Instead, “make a few purchases each month, then pay off the balance in full before interest begins to accrue,” suggested Amy Maliga, a financial educator with Take Charge America.

Get Credit Card Perks

According to Levon Galstyan, a Certified Public Accountant at Oak View Law Group, “Your FICO score includes 30% of your available credit. Utilizing more than 30% of your available credit could harm your rating.” Ideally, you’d keep your utilization below 10%, but as long as you’re below 30%, your credit will remain in good standing.

Take Our Poll: How Long Do You Think It Will Take You To Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt?

2. Make On-Time Payments

Certified Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and board advisor at Fiona, Bill Ryze advises to make credit card payments on time and in full. Because your payment history accounts for the majority of your credit score, just one late payment can cause a lot of damage. And if you’ve run up too high a balance to pay off completely, Ryze said to “ensure [your] payment meets the minimum monthly payment to avoid a negative credit report.” While doing this helps you avoid the strike, you’ll end up having to pay more in interest over a longer period of time.

3. Monitor Your Credit

Once you start making purchases and establishing credit, you should also start paying closer attention to your bank statements and your credit score. Doing this allows you to catch any fraudulent activity before it gets out of your hands. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity or unfamiliar accounts in your credit report. “The credit bureaus use the information from credit reports to develop credit scores, so it is important that the information appearing on the reports is accurate,” said Freddie Huynh, VP of data optimization with Freedom Debt Relief.

Get Credit Card Perks

Each of the 3 credit bureaus allows you to access your credit report once a year for free. If your report has any errors, follow the instructions on the website to get the report corrected.

More From GOBankingRates

Share This Article:

Get Credit Card Perks