Yes, it kind of is a ?damned if you do and damned if you don?t? situation.
And it is also true that doing what is best for you financially does not always equate to getting the highest credit score.
For example, if you settle one of your past due debts for less than what you owe, your credit score will take a hit. Of course, if the debt is past due, your credit score has already taken a hit. But settling the debt won?t increase your score.
And transferring balances from a high-interest to a low-interest account, financially that makes sense, you will be paying less interest but transferring debt has a few things that can hurt your credit score, opening new accounts can work against you and also it can significantly change your all-important debt to available credit ratio. So if your credit score is important, run the numbers first. Make sure it works both financially and credit score wise.
Closing old credit cards can hurt you also. It lowers the debt to available credit ratio, since that credit is no longer available and it can shorten your credit history, which is important, longer is better.
Avoiding debt doesn?t help you credit score wise either. Your credit score is based upon how you handle credit, so if you have no credit, you have nothing to score on.
So it helps to remember your financial goals as you are working with credit. There may be times when having a high credit score is crucial, for instance, if you plan on making a large purchase that will require financing, like a house, and there may be times when it is more beneficial to be more financially prudent, like when you are saving for retirement.
So yes, you may be ?damned if you do, and damned if you don?t? just make sure you know where the dam is that can benefit you the most for the goals that you have.