8 Credit Card FAQs and Tips to Build Credit

Money Girl answers 8 frequently asked questions about credit cards and gives tips to maintain and build credit.

Laura Adams, MBA
8-minute read
Episode #400

Another factor that’s used to calculate your credit scores is the length of time that you’ve had credit accounts. So, I don’t recommend closing a card that you’ve had for more than 5 years. You might just use it to make a small purchase from time to time that you pay off in full, just to keep it active.

See also: 9 Things That Can't Hurt Your Credit Scores


Credit Card Question #8: Sundarapandian asks, “I want to buy airline tickets for $4,500, but my credit card only has a credit limit of $5,000. So the charge would exceed 30% of my available credit limit. If I pay if off right away, would it still hurt my credit?”

Answer: Paying off a big credit card charge quickly can help you avoid a high utilization ratio and protect your credit. The amount used in the calculation is generally your previous month’s statement balance.

The idea is that if you pay off the balance before the statement’s monthly closing date, it couldn’t be reported to the credit agencies. So, I definitely recommend that you pay off a big credit card purchase as soon as possible, instead of waiting until the statement due date.

Also, when a card offers you a higher credit limit, always take it. Having more available credit relative to your balances will cut your utilization ratio and raise your credit.

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About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.