Do you need debt for a good credit score?

Everybody wants a good credit score, but they don't always know how to get one. For instance, a lot of people think they need to have debt to have a good credit score.

"And that is not true," says Liz Weston, a personal finance reporter and author of the new book "There Are No Dumb Questions About Money."

"If you have and use credit cards as a convenience, in other words you charge lightly and then you pay it off in full every month, that is going to help your credit scores," Weston says.

"You don't need to carry a balance, you shouldn't carry a balance because that is basically a cancer on your finances if you're paying unnecessary interest. So don't believe the myth that you have to be in debt or that you have to carry a balance on your credit cards in order to have good credit scores, that's just not true."

On the other hand, it won't help your credit score to pay for everything in cash or with a prepaid debit card, because you aren't building a credit history - you haven't shown that you handle debt responsibly.

For more information

What qualifies as a 'good' credit score?