Does Making the Minimum Payment On Your Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

If you have a credit card, you might be only making the minimum payment, and so you might be wondering does making only the minimum payment affect or hurt your credit? This post provides you with everything you need to know about only making the minimum payment on your credit card.

Does Making Only The Minimum Payment Hurt Your Credit?

Making only the minimum payment on your credit card keeps your account in good standing, however, if your credit card balance substantially increases, this will increase your credit utilization, possibly lowering your credit score.

You should always strive to keep your credit utilization (how much of your available credit you’re using) below 10% and never exceed 30%. If you use more than 30% of your available credit, you will notice a drop in your credit score.

Although making the minimum payment on your credit card keeps your account in good standing because it results in positive payment history being reported on your credit report, if you accumulate too much debt on your credit card, you could see a drop in your credit score.

So, making only the minimum payment can indirectly hurt your credit score. For your payment to positively affect your credit score, you should try to make more than the minimum payment to reduce your credit utilization.

So, what exactly does credit card minimum payment mean?

Your credit card minimum payment is the least amount of money that you are required to pay to keep your account in good standing. Typically, when you apply for a credit card, you sign a credit card agreement, agreeing to make the minimum payment on your credit card.

Failing to make the minimum payment on your credit card will result in a late payment being added to your account status, significantly lowering your credit score.

In fact, a single late payment can lower your credit score by 100 or more points. The higher your credit score, the more your credit score will drop.

Paying your credit card late lowers your credit score because your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. If you make your payments on time, this factor will boost your credit score. On the flip side, missing payments can cause significant damage to your credit. So, make sure to make your payments on time even it means only making the minimum payment to prevent your account from being reported as late.

How Does Making Only The Minimum Payment Affect Your Credit Score?

Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so making the minimum payment on your credit card actually helps you build positive payment history, which helps your credit score. That said, the amount of your minimum payment has no impact on your credit score, so whether your minimum payment is low ($25) or high ($500+), the impact on your credit is the same.

Increase in credit utilization rate

That said, if you accumulate too much debt on your credit card, the accumulation of debt could lower your credit score as it raises your credit utilization rate.

As a rule of thumb, you should use less than 10% of your available credit and never exceed 30% credit utilization.

If you utilize more than 30% of your available credit, you will notice a significant drop in your credit score.

This is so because your credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score. So, if you don’t pay down your credit card balances by paying more than the minimum payment, you could lower your credit score if the balance on your account continues to grow. This is especially true if you exceed 30% credit utilization.

One of the best things you can do to improve your credit score is to pay off your credit cards. This is so because you will be utilizing 0% of your available credit, which provides an excellent boost to your credit.

Paying more in interest

That said, if you’re only making the minimum payment on your credit card, you should keep in mind that you’ll be paying more in interest on the balance that you’re carrying. This is so because interest charges apply to any balance that you leave on your credit card unless you have a credit card with a 0% introductory APR where you don’t pay interest for a limited period of time.

Paying down your credit card debt will take significantly longer

Additionally, if you’re only making the minimum payment on your credit card, it will take you significantly longer to pay off your card.

Should You Make a Payment Larger Than Your Minimum Payment?

Even though only making the minimum payment keeps your account in good standing, you should consider making more than the minimum payment on your credit card to reduce the balance on your account.

Reducing the balances on your credit card accounts is great for your credit score because your credit utilization (how much of your available credit you’re using) makes up 30% of your credit score. The lower the balances on your credit cards, the better your credit score will be.

If you only make the minimum payment on your credit card, your credit card balance may continue to increase, lowering your credit score.

On the other hand, paying more than the minimum payment helps you keep your credit card balances as low as possible, helping your credit score by reducing your credit utilization.

Additionally, lenders like seeing that borrowers are making more than the minimum payment. They can see the amount of your last payment because it appears on your credit report. If a lender sees that you’ve made a payment that’s larger than your minimum payment, they will view this positively when deciding whether to extend credit to you or lend you money.

That said, if you’re working with a small budget or are going through tough financial times, making the minimum payment is perfectly fine as it will keep your account in good standing, which is extremely important to maintain a good credit score.

How to Make More Than the Minimum Payment On Your Credit Card?

You can make more than the minimum payment on your credit card by cutting back your spending on items that are not necessary and reallocating those funds to paying down your credit card. This allows you to pay down your credit card balances faster by making more than your minimum payment.

The second thing that you can do to pay more than the minimum payment is to freelance or get an additional job. This will help you allocate more money towards paying down the balances on your credit card to improve your credit score.

The third thing you can do to reduce your minimum payment and pay down your balances is to refrain from using your credit card until you’ve lowered the balance on it. This prevents you from adding to your credit card balance and helps your pay down your balance faster.

How is the Minimum Payment On Your Credit Card Calculated?

If you have a credit card balance below $1,000, you will probably see a minimum payment of $25. However, if you have a balance that exceeds $1,000, your minimum payment will likely be set at 2% of your balance. For example, if you have a $2,000 balance on your credit card, your credit card payment would be 2% of $2,000, which comes out to $40. In the event that you owe less than $25 on your credit card, the minimum payment will be set at the balance due. For example, if you only spent $15 on your credit card, your minimum payment will be set at $15.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What happens to your credit score if you only make the minimum payment on your credit card?

Making the minimum payment on your credit card ensures that your account remains in good standing. However, only paying the minimum payment can increase your credit utilization since you’re not significantly paying down your balance, increasing your credit utilization. An increase in credit utilization can lower your credit score, especially if you’ve exceeded 30% credit utilization.

2. Is it better to only make the minimum payment or pay your card in full?

It is better for your credit score to pay your credit card in full. Making a full payment results in a 0% credit utilization on your account, possibly raising your credit score.

3. What happens if you only pay the minimum payment on your credit card?

If you only make the minimum payment, your account is reported as paid on time. However, you will likely continue to carry a balance. If your credit card balance increases too much, your credit score could drop.

4. Does paying more than the minimum payment help your credit score?

Although merely paying more than the minimum payment does not boost your credit score. If you pay down a significant portion of your credit card balance, you should notice an improvement in your credit score.