It depends on the situation, but overall it will have a limited impact on your score compared to the length and quality of your payment history. Two of the relevent factors included in the score are the balance compared to the credit limit, and the total amount of credit available. The first is concerned with whether you have maxed out or near maxed out cards, you shouldn't. The second watches the total amount of credit available, and it generally shouldn't be more than you need. Don't sign up for a card at every store you shop at just because it gets you 10% off your purchase. But also don't panic and cancel cards or reduce limits, it helps to have those old accounts (longer history), and it could affect your outstanding balance to limit (the first factor mentioned). The overall available credit has a limited impact on your score, but it is important to keep in mind and a good reason not to open promotional cards. I am not sure if this directly answered your question, but my advice is to pay off the card as you are. You won't pay unnecessary interest or fees, and it keeps you from getting into credit trouble (it is surprising how easy it can happen). You have nothing meaningful to gain by maintaining a balance on the card. As far as other ways to improve your score, the most important thing is staying current and keep your accounts open long term. Since this is your first card, I assume you are youngerish, get more of your accounts in your name if possible, utilities, cell phone, car loan. I am not sure what other credit you have, but having just gotten your first card you are well on your way. Stay on top of it for a couple of years and you will have a decent credit score (say 720 - 750), then you may be looking to add a car loan, mortgage, etc. and will have the chance to get an excellent score in no time.