PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — ‘Tis the season for plastic.

Soon, most of us will start reaching for our credit cards for holiday shopping.

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Of course, the real challenge comes the following month, when your credit card payment is due.

Failing to pay off your credit card balances could soon impact your credit rating.

The three major credit bureaus say they’re going to start paying closer attention to your credit card balances and how quickly you’re paying them off.

Point Park University business professor Elaine Luther says the credit card rating companies are going to start watching whether or not you’re paying off your monthly balance or you’re just paying the minimum.

“They’re distinguishing between people who are using credit cards as their main form of payment, versus ones who are using it to supplement their level of income,” Luther says.

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So, if you’re paying off your credit card balances, it could mean a higher credit score, which makes it much easier to get a mortgage or a car loan.

This new credit policy comes at the beginning of the holiday shopping season, a time when many of us, jack up the balances of these plastic cards.

That’s not necessarily good news for merchants who depend on the make or break holiday shopping season.

“If they tell people to be worried about spending over the holidays, that could put a little downward pressure on the economy,” Luther says.

Bottom line, you’re always better off paying off credit card balances instead of paying interest rates of 15 percent or more.

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