Will Paying Off a Loan Improve Your Credit Score?

Credit Score

When you are carrying several loans plus credit cards over your shoulders, you might think you are drowning in debt and the best way to improve your credit score is by paying up your biggest loans.

There are different types of loans you might have at the moment, it can be a student loan from college, a car loan, or even a personal loan. Then for instance, what happens if you pay off your personal loan early? You need to know that sometimes paying up those loans will only affect your credit score in a bad way.

Before telling you what happens if you pay off a loan early, you need to understand which factors affect your credit score.

Payment History

It is the most important thing which will determine your credit score, which means, do not miss payments. When you keep track of your debts and make your payments on time, this will look good for your future lenders.


The easiest way to understand it is with something everybody is used to, credit cards. Every credit card has a limit. If you are using more than 30% of your availability, this will mean negatives on your credit score. This only applies if you have one credit card when you have multiple credit accounts you’ll have to calculate the overall credit availability and make sure you don’t use more than 30 percent. Utilization ratio makes up a great percentage of your credit score, always keep an eye on it.

Credit Mix

This refers to how many credits accounts you have open, this includes credit cards and types of loans you might have. Your credit score depends on it because it will show how well you manage different credits.

Age of your Credit & New Credit

It will always look better when you have an old credit history that you have maintained and paid off in time. Your credit history is made up of the average age from old and recent credit accounts you have. Keep in mind applying for different credits at once will lower your average, deducting points from your credit score.

Now that you know all the things to take into account we can move on to the main question.

Will paying off a loan improve credit scores?

Even when paying off a loan can be a big relief on your financial status, sometimes, this can also have a bad effect on your credit score. When this happens, we need to look at the factors that influence your credit score, specifically the credit mix and credit age.

For instance, let’s say you have multiple credit cards, plus a mortgage and a student loan. In this case, if you pay off your student loan, your credit mix is reduced. Also, your average credit age could drop since you are closing an account.

However, these are not enough reasons to drag your debts or the interests will be worse than the initial amount.

If you know in a couple of months you will close a credit account paying the full amount, you can look at other credit accounts and how managing them can help you keep a good credit score. Going back to the main question. Does your credit score go up when you pay off a loan? It probably won’t add points to your credit score at the moment, but is always good to have fewer debts to worry about.

Why paying off a loan sometimes does not improve credit

Now you know different factors influence your credit score, the reason why when paying a loan your credit score could remain the same or drop, depends on them. Every loan you have is known as a credit account, once you are done paying your loans that account closes. This might sound like a good thing, but open credit accounts are the ones that can increase your score. These loans help lenders know how you manage multiple debts and whether you are making your payments on time.

You might be wondering in which cases does your credit score go up when you pay off a loan? It doesn’t happen often, because it involves different factors, not only the fact that you are free of debt. However, there are other ways to improve your credit score and we’ll tell you all about it down below.

Extra tip:

If you are looking to improve your credit score, the best advice is to check your credit cards. Make sure your utilization ratio is less than 30% and do not miss the regular payments of any of your revolving or installment accounts.

Does paying off a loan early hurt your credit score?

Paying off your loans is always a yes, but if you are considering paying them early, it is better to think twice. When paying off loans early, credit scores will see a decline due to the factors that influence it because you are closing a credit account.

There are cases where paying off loans early credit scores will take a bad turn.

In case you are paying off a loan early, credit scores will probably drop, don’t be scared. This happens because you won’t have a diverse credit mix, this will affect you if you don’t have numerous credit accounts opened.

Here’s what will truly hurt your credit score is the utilization ratio. Paying off a loan early with a low balance while keeping an account with a high balance will increment the amount of total credit you are using. Being responsible for your debts and loans involves knowing all your balances. In case you have a high balance say on all your credit cards, it is better to pay those off instead of the loans you might have.

To conclude, does paying off a loan early hurt your credit score? It will take some points off your but it won’t critically hurt it. You will see your score bounce back in a couple of months.

Managing all your credit accounts is a tricky game, but the good news is we are going to help you decide when it is a good idea to pay off a loan and in which cases you should just keep them open.

Loans that are worth keeping:

  • Look at the balance first, when it is low, it is better to keep it and pay is the monthly fee.
  • You have a loan with a minimum interest rate or even 0 interest.
  • You’ll finish paying it in a couple of months. What happens if you pay off the loan early is you won’t save a lot of interest, but instead, you’ll expend a great amount of money.
  • If you have a low balance in your savings account. As we all know, the world can change in the blink of an eye and your savings can help you navigate through hard times, such as being unemployed. Between paying one of the loans or prioritizing an emergency fund, use the extra money for your savings.

Loans to pay off right away:

  • High interest is the worst part of any loan. If one of your loans has an interest rate which is taking away too much money, paying it off is the best idea.
  • Even when closing a credit account will affect your credit mix, it all depends on the installment accounts you have. In case you have a mortgage, a personal loan for debt consolidation, a student loan and credit cards, there you have a good mix. Here you could pay one of your loans, and your credit mix will still look good for your lenders.
  • If you want to take upon another loan for a new house or a car.

Does paying off debts help credit scores?

It depends. This is probably not the answer you were hoping for, but as you have learned there are many factors that determine your credit scores. We have already talked about how loans can affect your credit scores both ways when you decide to pay them and when you keep them.

Moving on, we can talk about the most common debts, credit cards. Whether you have multiple or just one, these little friends are the ones that can help you the most regarding your credit scores.

Improve your credit score by paying credit cards

Let’s be honest credit cards can easily help us out in an emergency or let us enjoy some treats when we go shopping. The real problem is our credit card balance could quickly become high. What we want to avoid is having a high balance in all your credit cards because that means your utilization rate would elevate and decrease your credit score.

To have a good utilization rate, you need to start paying your debts, and with credit cards is always better to start with the highest balance and work your way down. It is true paying these debts can mean some months you’ll have less extra money, but you’ll quickly start seeing changes on your credit score.

In the end, the most important thing when talking about credit scores is making payments on time and do not go crazy using all your available credit. The rest, such as getting a credit mix and credit history, will be much easier to accomplish.


Why did my credit score drop when I paid off a loan?

Your credit score depends on your installment and revolving accounts. Your installment accounts are loans while revolving accounts are, for instance, credit cards. Having both improves your credit mix. If you pay off all your loans, your installment account will disappear, which means you won’t have a credit mix and your score will go down. Also, your credit history will take a hit, because by paying a loan you’ll close a credit account.

How long does it take for a credit score to go up after paying off debt?

If for instance, you pay debts, this will not instantly show on your credit score. It takes time, usually, one to two months for it to show on your report and then you’ll know if paying that debt improved your credit score.

What debt should I pay off first to raise my credit score?

Does paying off debts help credit scores? Absolutely yes, but you need to learn to choose which ones will help you the most, like credit cards. They can be your best friends and your worst enemies at the same time because of their utilization ratio. When this ratio is positive and your balance is low, this will have positive points on your credit score.

Here is a common question, will paying off a loan improve your credit score? Not necessarily. Paying these debts in the majority of cases will only drop your scores. Installment loans are the last debts you should pay because those credits have a set monthly payment. If you keep paying on time for all your loans, you won’t have to worry. In case you deduce paying off a loan early, credit scores will take a hit and temporarily drop.

Is it better to settle a debt or pay in full?

Settling debt means negotiating with your lender to pay less than the full amount you owed. Even when this might sound like a perfect plan, settling credit accounts will reduce your credit score, since it is considered as a negative status. This settled status will reflect on your account for seven years. On the contrary, when you paid the full amount, lenders will know you are responsible and someone trustworthy. Paying in full will score your positive points. However, it all depends on your financial status and whether you have the money to pay the full amount.

How can I quickly raise my credit score?

There is not an exact amount of time that will take you to improve your credit score, but if you are about to start it will take you a few months to get your score you want. To start, make your payments on time, keep utilization at less than 30% and even when asking for new credits, can help at the moment, it won’t improve your credit score. Ask for them in extreme cases.

Is it better to pay off a loan or a credit card?

Credit cards have the highest interest rates. Our advice is, try paying off credit cards first. In case you have various credit cards, start with the ones that have the highest interest rate. Loans help you with your credit mix, which translates into a positive increase in credit score. Also, loans have a determined timeline for their full payment and to help you, there is a monthly amount in place.

Does a personal loan look bad on credit?

The good thing about personal loans is they have variable repayment options that can be short or long term. Further, for the majority of personal loans, you don’t need proof of any collateral. Personal loans are perfect if you need debt consolidation to pay a big debt or a credit card or in case you have an unexpected emergency. When you apply for a personal loan you will expand your credit mix which is good for your credit score.

However, there is always a catch, with a personal loan you are also increasing the number of your debts. Be careful with the extra fees and interests that come with it. Because of this, you might want to get rid of it right away, but what happens if you pay off your personal loan early? Credit scores might drop, that is why you need to take into account all the factors that affect your credit score to determine the right time to apply for a personal loan.

By Vanessa Gomez

Vanessa Gomez is a journalist and a content writer based in Toronto. She loves creating quality content which will increase the visibility and authority of any company. At the moment, she is a content writer for Digitally Savvy.

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