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This is the eleventh day in our 31-Day Money Challenge. Over 31 days we’ll publish 31 podcasts, each designed to help you move closer to financial freedom. Yesterday we looked at credit score basics. In today’s podcast, we welcome to the show Experian’s credit expert, Maxine Sweet.

Sponsors: The 31-Day Money Podcast is sponsored by Betterment and Personal CapitalBetterment and Personal Capital are two tools I use to make investing easier, less expensive, and more effective.

Topics Covered

  • Credit report vs. credit score: We talk about the difference between reports and scores and how they relate to one another.
  • Ways you can build good credit, even if you are just starting out.
  • What credit utilization is, how it’s calculated, and why it’s important to your credit score.
  • Why it’s important to keep your credit utilization below 30%.
  • How long it takes to improve your credit.
  • When creditors report a payment as late.
  • How to resolve errors on your credit report.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mention the following resources:

Listener Question

Q (Perry): “So when you use 0% card offers to pay off your credit card debt and you have them paid off then what do you do with that card? If you close them it damages your credit but if they are open then the available credit goes against you as possible debt. So, what’s worse? Closing them or letting them linger? Is there a good time to close them – like yearend vs mid-year?”


We cover this news story today about investing in 2014.

Day 12: How to get out of debt

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1120
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments


Hey Rob…. Listened to your podcast. Really good stuff. Enjoyed it. Speaking of credit utilization , how does a card with no fixed limit such as American Express factor. Does a AMEX monthly recurring balance that remains for a period of time adversely affect your credit. Since there is no ceiling ( limit ) will a higher balance be looked at more negatively than a lower balance.

Loved the Christmas card ….Tell Vic and the kids hello

Rob Berger says:

David, it’s great to hear from you! We really need to get together soon. So an Amex with no credit limit is a charge card, not a credit card. As you noted, it doesn’t have a credit limit (although Amex can always deny a charge) and payment in full is required every month. Based on my research, charge cards like this do not factor in to your credit utilization. They do count toward your overall debt and payment history, but not credit utilization. I’m going to confirm this information directly with FICO and will report back.

Biju Chacko says:


I am a recent visitor to your site and I am hooked. An excellent resource for those looking to stay out of debt and to build wealth!

For those affected by the Target data breach, they are offering free 1 year credit monitoring from Experian





Rob Berger says:

Biju, thanks for the resources!

Erica says:

But if you don’t use your card at all, they will close automatically. Happened to me. Paid off a card, went to use it 3 years later and it declined. Turns out, the company had closed it because it wasn’t being used. So you still need to make sure you’re at least keeping it active. I do small things such as buying $20 worth of gas and paying it off just to show that the card is being used.

Md. Taslimuzzaman Fakir says:

“Hi Rob. I’m at Day 11 in your 31 day money challenge podcast. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been looking for a effective guide to all-things-money and this has been so positive.”