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The Master $2 reporting "trick" explained


mendelssohn
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My Experian FICO is now showing a total balance of $2 (before that a total of $59) but my FICO score did not change at all.

 

Jimmy.

What difference was there if any in your EQ Fico (or TU). I find that EX is less sensitive to the $2 trick or paying down balances (I guess it could depend on the size of the balance, but I don't know). However, EQ is very sensitive to paying down balances. EQ usually reacts to balances, for me at least.

 

I find TU also not sensitive to balances or paying them down, but it might be score dependent because I am over 800 on TU (but previously, TU was sensitive to balances and reacted when I had them or paid them down etc).

 

I think the heart of the $2 trick is complete security that if you want to apply, and have one card with one $2 balance, it will get you the best interest rates and offers. That's what I think I have seen. But I need to test more.

 

But in regards to EX not moving around so much, I have seen that myself lately. My EX doesn't move because of inquiries or balance activity or anything really. But I haven't been comparing or analyzing my current EX with my older EX behavior. But I have seen that EX does remain more resistant to changes lately, while EQ remains sensitive (but rebounds quickly).

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Remember, as your score goes up, the returns on FICO geek tricks like this diminishes. When a score is in the 710 range, the 2$ trick will give you a decent boost. When a FICO score is has passed 800, tricks like this will return less.

 

The 2$ trick is for clean reports.

 

I'm sure this is due to myFICO's silly "your score changed due to..." reasons -- but with my (not clean) reports, I regularly see things like today, where FICO says I got a 2 point boost because one card went from $312 to $0 (0% of 17k), and a 14 point boost because another card went from $0 to $1456 (35% of $3.6k).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just discovered that AU credit card usage does not count as my DW just got these as negative reasons 2 and 3 for why her score is not higher:

  • Not using credit
    • There are no recent balances on your revolving credit accounts.
  • No credit card activity
    • There is no recent activity on your credit cards.
But, at least one AU card is reporting a non-zero balance.

 

Perhaps this is already well known, but I hadn't noticed it before, so I'm sharing it here.

https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=544578

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Just tried the "2 dollar" trick, except I missed by 2 dollars and reported 0

 

Big drop to 725 and first real move in awhile.

 

For 5 months my experien fico has been between 737 and 741 with reporting balances as high as 375 and over as many as 4 accounts

 

Going to look to report 2 bucks as quick as possible! Dont want to report 0 ever again!

 

:)

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I suppose this is the right place to put a question on the 2$ trick. I'm pre-approved on an mortgage & about to offer on a house. So I want to maximize my credit score (FICO4) for the mortgage process.

 

I have 4 credit cards, and effed up last month to have all 4 cards report $0. AMEX BCE, Barclays USAir MC, USAA MC, & USAA Visa. I usually leave the 2$ on the Barclays b/c it's my highest limit @ $15K. Last month I wanted to leave the $2 on the AMEX to force it to report my 60 day CLI immediately. Only I paid AMEX BCE the night before the close date thinking it wouldn't post until AFTER the close date, and it ended up reporting $0.

 

Between the inquiries for the mortgage appliation and the $0 on all reports, I lost points. Not sure how much yet, waiting for Barclays to update my monthly free FICO tomorrow; was 797 TU at the beginning of May. TU will also be my middle score for the mortgage according to a combination of CK (I know FAKO, but I'm at least seeing what's on my EQ report to know it's the lowest score relative to TU & EX) and the FICO scores I recieved from Barclays (TU middle @ 730 something) & AMEX (EX highest at 760 something) when I opened the accounts in February.

 

So to fix this before closing, I have the option of letting my USAA Visa report $2 a few days after the June 14th due date (not sure of the exact close date). The problem is, this is my lowest limit card at $500 (got it when I went back to using any credit at all for the first time in 10 years in January 2013). Not sure it will give the maximum, or any benefit.

 

I could wait for the AMEX to close on June 20th, but if all goes well; I was really hoping to have already closed by then. My loan officer seems in a terrible hurry to get my mortgage closed b/c of a quickly drying up source of state downpayment assistance.

 

So let $2 report on the USAA Visa? or wait for the AMEX on the 20th? Still not the highest limit card, but better than the USAA Visa at $6K. Wait til Barclays to close again on June 24th?

 

Report are clean. No derrogatory accounts, no late fees. Just young/thin file w/ the 4 open cards all under 2 years old. I have older/closed/good accounts still reporting. I just rehabilitated my student loans, so they won't report until after the first payment (6/25, so probably in July). Not in time for the mortgage. But in the interest of full disclosure on DTI, I gave the loan officer the paperwork. When they do show up, it will be a positive tradeline dating back to 2002.

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Weird, I noticed that 1% was worse that 2-3% a few years ago. I think CreditKarma or one of the other services even pointed it out as the issue. But I haven't paid attention recently. I usually have all my cards report 0 exactly one or two that report less than $1000.

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Weird, I noticed that 1% was worse that 2-3% a few years ago. I think CreditKarma or one of the other services even pointed it out as the issue. But I haven't paid attention recently. I usually have all my cards report 0 exactly one or two that report less than $1000.

Credit Karma doesn't count.

 

The advice in this thread is to maximize scores. While I'm sure you aren't losing too many points with your method, you aren't maximizing your scores either.

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So to fix this before closing, I have the option of letting my USAA Visa report $2 a few days after the June 14th due date (not sure of the exact close date). The problem is, this is my lowest limit card at $500 (got it when I went back to using any credit at all for the first time in 10 years in January 2013). Not sure it will give the maximum, or any benefit.

It most assuredly will give the max benefit.

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Mrage, I was just worried that there's a better benefit to letting the $2 report on a high limit card. I remember reading that using your highest limit card was the best strategy for this. This is totally my own fault for paying AMEX at the end of May before the close date. I was already worried then about the AMEX w/ a $6K limit v the Barclays w/ a $15K limit, but I wanted to force the CLI from $2K to $6K on AMEX to report. Just even MORE mad at myself now that it will be the stinky low limit USAA VIsa.

 

But is that not part of it? Using your highest limit card for the $2 to report on, I mean. I realize there's a benefit to having one report $2 v all $0s.

 

Was curious if using your highest limit card to report the $2 v your lowest limit card was one of those subtle things like $2 v 1%; where there's SOME benefit, but not as much as is possible.

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Mrage, I was just worried that there's a better benefit to letting the $2 report on a high limit card. I remember reading that using your highest limit card was the best strategy for this. This is totally my own fault for paying AMEX at the end of May before the close date. I was already worried then about the AMEX w/ a $6K limit v the Barclays w/ a $15K limit, but I wanted to force the CLI from $2K to $6K on AMEX to report. Just even MORE mad at myself now that it will be the stinky low limit USAA VIsa.

 

But is that not part of it? Using your highest limit card for the $2 to report on, I mean. I realize there's a benefit to having one report $2 v all $0s.

 

Was curious if using your highest limit card to report the $2 v your lowest limit card was one of those subtle things like $2 v 1%; where there's SOME benefit, but not as much as is possible.

That's ideal, but given the timeframe and your already high FICO scores, it's unnecessary and not worth losing a real estate deal over.

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Thanks again Mendelssohn!!

 

My Netflix membership is still pending on the USAA Visa, as soon as it posts I'll pay it down to $2. I have Netflix autopay on this card & my cell phone bill on autopay on the USAA MC, for activity. But in reality, they sit in my sock drawer and get PIF each month before the statement. But this month, since I effed up w/ AMEX last month, USAA Visa wins by right of having the earliest statement cut.

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Mrage, I was just worried that there's a better benefit to letting the $2 report on a high limit card. I remember reading that using your highest limit card was the best strategy for this. This is totally my own fault for paying AMEX at the end of May before the close date. I was already worried then about the AMEX w/ a $6K limit v the Barclays w/ a $15K limit, but I wanted to force the CLI from $2K to $6K on AMEX to report. Just even MORE mad at myself now that it will be the stinky low limit USAA VIsa.

 

But is that not part of it? Using your highest limit card for the $2 to report on, I mean. I realize there's a benefit to having one report $2 v all $0s.

 

Was curious if using your highest limit card to report the $2 v your lowest limit card was one of those subtle things like $2 v 1%; where there's SOME benefit, but not as much as is possible.

That's ideal, but given the timeframe and your already high FICO scores, it's unnecessary and not worth losing a real estate deal over.

 

 

As far as I can tell, if you have a 790 FICO, you're going to get the exact same mortgage rate and terms as if you had an 820 FICO. There is no additional advantage once you get to that level except just for sport.

 

Am I missing something here?

Edited by TampaDude
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Mrage, I was just worried that there's a better benefit to letting the $2 report on a high limit card. I remember reading that using your highest limit card was the best strategy for this. This is totally my own fault for paying AMEX at the end of May before the close date. I was already worried then about the AMEX w/ a $6K limit v the Barclays w/ a $15K limit, but I wanted to force the CLI from $2K to $6K on AMEX to report. Just even MORE mad at myself now that it will be the stinky low limit USAA VIsa.

 

But is that not part of it? Using your highest limit card for the $2 to report on, I mean. I realize there's a benefit to having one report $2 v all $0s.

 

Was curious if using your highest limit card to report the $2 v your lowest limit card was one of those subtle things like $2 v 1%; where there's SOME benefit, but not as much as is possible.

That's ideal, but given the timeframe and your already high FICO scores, it's unnecessary and not worth losing a real estate deal over.

As far as I can tell, if you have a 790 FICO, you're going to get the exact same mortgage rate and terms as if you had an 820 FICO. There is no additional advantage once you get to that level except just for sport.

 

Am I missing something here?

No. That's what I told her.

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I have three Credit Cards and I let 2 dollars report on my Discover which is my largest credit line at 20,700 and when the statement cut it said I owed ZERO dollars. I don't know what happened to the 2 dollars I owed..

That is covered in the first post in this thread.

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I have three Credit Cards and I let 2 dollars report on my Discover which is my largest credit line at 20,700 and when the statement cut it said I owed ZERO dollars. I don't know what happened to the 2 dollars I owed..

I believe it needs to be $3 for Discover cards. $2 works for most other CC's.

 

I'm giving this trick it's first try this month. Just paid off my first charge ($534) minus the $2 ($532) on my new Cap1 QS. I took advantage of the $500 in 3 months promo and got $100 cash back too. :grin:

Edited by Orly
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Tampa, no, you're not missing anything. I'm just obsessing over what I CAN control, since the stuff I CAN'T control drives me nuts. I'm currently waiting on my real estate agent to write up the offer contract, and the Loan officer to re-write the pre-approval letter for the asking price on the house. I can't get them to work any faster. And that state down payment asisstance money will only last so long. I can't control the timing at this point, but THIS w/ my credit? I CAN do that. That's all. Keeps me busy & focused instead of dwelling on it while I tick off the seconds to closing.

 

Plus I'll understand it better for the future. Once my student loans report, it will help my AAOA; and after closing I have plans for hard inquiry CLIs on the USAA cards, the soft inq CLI on AMEX @ 6 months since I opened it in October, a mini-app spree for a Lowe's card w/ the house stuff to take care of + possibly a regular CC, and then a new car in January or February. Been holding off while working on the mortgage & rehabbing my student loans.

 

Thanks again everyone!! CB has helped me w/ ALL of this. The student loans, the mortgage, the first REAL credit cards (the AMEX & the Barclays).

You guys are the best!!

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Mrage, I was just worried that there's a better benefit to letting the $2 report on a high limit card. I remember reading that using your highest limit card was the best strategy for this. This is totally my own fault for paying AMEX at the end of May before the close date. I was already worried then about the AMEX w/ a $6K limit v the Barclays w/ a $15K limit, but I wanted to force the CLI from $2K to $6K on AMEX to report. Just even MORE mad at myself now that it will be the stinky low limit USAA VIsa.

 

But is that not part of it? Using your highest limit card for the $2 to report on, I mean. I realize there's a benefit to having one report $2 v all $0s.

 

Was curious if using your highest limit card to report the $2 v your lowest limit card was one of those subtle things like $2 v 1%; where there's SOME benefit, but not as much as is possible.

In theory, yes, the very very best you can do is to let it report on your highest limit. In practice, there's not going to be a single point of difference in your FICO.

 

I think that part of the trick is meant more as a guideline for any balance.

 

Consider the following hypothetical: you have 3 CC's. One has a CL of $300. Another, $500, and still another, $5000. All the statements cut today, but you only have enough in your checking to pay all but $250 of your current balances. The same $250 that is only 5% of your biggest card nearly maxes out your $300 limit card. Clearly it will have an impact on your FICOs if you don't choose wisely. THAT is where that bit of the advice comes into play... it's more general guidance.

 

Yes, in theory, $2 under the same scenario, it is still ideal to have it report to the largest card. But is it *actually* going to matter to FICO's algorithm if your highest individual card is 0.67% or 0.04% on a balance of $2? Of course not. But if you want to be absolutely, positively, 1000% sure that you did everything you could to get the highest possible score for your profile, that's the way to do it.

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Weird, I noticed that 1% was worse that 2-3% a few years ago. I think CreditKarma or one of the other services even pointed it out as the issue. But I haven't paid attention recently. I usually have all my cards report 0 exactly one or two that report less than $1000.

Credit Karma doesn't count.

 

The advice in this thread is to maximize scores. While I'm sure you aren't losing too many points with your method, you aren't maximizing your scores either.

 

Just out of curiosity, have you ever compared $2 to 2%? Like next month let one report with a couple hundred bucks and see if your score goes up or down. Like there's certainly other factors, but I've never seen my score drop because I forgot to pay down my Forward card from $150 to $2 on the day before the statement closed (which I forget frequently)... for example (I've been on Equifax recently, not Credit Karma). I just assumed that was because I was staying in that 2-3% range. Now if I close with like $10,000 of M$ on a card, I've seen the score go down as many as ten points.

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