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Best Practice to Minimize Reported Utilization to FICO?

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Aside from the obvious "pay in full each month", what are some best practices to prevent high balances from reporting. Even paying in full isn't fool proof, as large purchases may need to be made at the wrong time.

​Case in point, I paid one card down to about a $20 balance, let it sit a few days, had to make a $300 purchase - which I quickly submitted a payment for (back down to $20 balance), but just saw in the app my statement cut at $320, despite my balance now being $20.

 

​Is that $320 going to be what's reported to the CRAs this month?​ That's a 18.9% utilization rate on that specific card, versus what could have been 1.2% by a matter of hours. I'm hoping there's some sort of delay here that benefits me, since it seems I made the purchase at the worst possible time.

 

I realize this is typically not a big deal as long as you're able to make your payments and not out of control with your debt, but there are of course times when you want to have your utilization reporting at a nice, shiny 3% or whatever. In my case, there's a CC I want to apply for, and it's a little tougher to get than what I already have. With a good utilization, I think my scores may finally be over 700, and I just got some healthy credit limit increases this month (1200 -> 1700, 1100 -> 1600), which should help.

 

​Experian is (currently accurately) reporting one card at 65/1600. TransUnion is showing 941/1100 (last month's news). When should I expect TU to catch up? TU is the bureau I want to make sure is up to snuff. Right now it's showing:

 

CapOne: 941/1100 (EX shows 65/1600, as per statement from 1-2 days ago)

Chase: 451/1000 (is actually 19/1000 now, as per statement from 1-2 days ago)

Discover: 351/1200 (is actually 20/1700 now, but statement cut at 320/1700 today... so we'll see?)

CU Card: 906/4000 (is actually 867/4000 now, but they update erratically it seems...)

 

Even with that high (36%) utilization, my TU FICO is 675. Looks at worst I can hopefully expect my utilization to drop down to 15.7% at worst, and 12.1% if I beat the buzzer with Discover (if maybe they cut statements, then later that day post to CRAs?), so I think I should expect a healthy jump in my score regardless. Hopefully to 700+.

 

Going forward - is there a "best way" to manage this? Should I try to bump my statement dates up to the 20th for instance?

 

I get paid bi-weekly, and typically do the following:

 

Paycheck closest to the start of the month: pay rent, pay utilities, pay student loan. Rest goes to savings.

Paycheck closest to the 15th of the month: pay down credit cards to a negligible balance, wait for statement to cut, then pay in full. (I obviously wasn't as on top of things last month, but please not that I was not "late" on payments, as those balances were accumulated after paying in full the previous statements).

 

Mostly just looking for any good methods/habits people have, or insights into when exactly is the best time to pay down those balances. Thanks!

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The short answer to your question is, yes, $320 will report to the CRAs. Your credit card issuers generally report statement balances on your statement cut date (not the same as your due date). If you pull up a few past statements, you'll notice that the statement cut date is usually the same day of the month, or very close. The only way to prevent large balances reporting is to make sure that you pay them down or off completely prior to the statement cut date. If you're not sure what your statement cut date is, customer service should have it when you call them.

 

If you stager your due dates (you may have to call in to change them, some issuers will let you, some won't), that should also stager your statement closing dates. If you use this method, and keep track in a spreadsheet of each card's closing date, you should only make purchases to cards that won't have a closing date of less than two weeks from the point of when you're making a big purchase, given you're paid bi-weekly. Perhaps factor in even a few extra days, given that even with electronic payments, you still have weekends and bank holidays which delay payments from posting before balances report to the CRAs. Just for reference, I have Capital One and I know they let you change your due date online. The other issuers I'm not sure. Call a CSR and ask.

 

What card do you want to apply for? If you're really concerned about getting denied due to utilization, perhaps wait until next month to apply, providing you've time your payments to reflect lower balances next time the statements cut? Do you really need the new card this month?

 

Also, before you apply, if you're willing to wait another month, have you gone online with Discover and requested a CLI? If you've had the card for at least six months, they'll usually hand out a CLI, and without a hard inquiry. They are the easiest of your issuers to get a CLI from. It wouldn't hurt to call Capital One and Chase, plus your CU, to see if they'll issue CLI's without a hard inquiry. Your overall card limits are fairly low, meaning that your UTIL ratios are fairly high if you forgot to PIF before a statement is cut. One of the easiest ways to raise your FICO score is to keep track of how frequently you've requested CLI's and from which issuer. If you work over the next year or two building up your existing lines, that will help keep your utilization down, even if you make some medium to large purchases.

Edited by thesaintly

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What card do you want to apply for? If you're really concerned about getting denied due to utilization, perhaps wait until next month to apply, providing you've time your payments to reflect lower balances next time the statements cut? Do you really need the new card this month?

 

Also, before you apply, if you're willing to wait another month, have you gone online with Discover and requested a CLI? If you've had the card for at least six months, they'll usually hand out a CLI, and without a hard inquiry. They are the easiest of your issuers to get a CLI from. It wouldn't hurt to call Capital One and Chase, plus your CU, to see if they'll issue CLI's without a hard inquiry. Your overall card limits are fairly low, meaning that your UTIL ratios are fairly high if you forgot to PIF before a statement is cut. One of the easiest ways to raise your FICO score is to keep track of how frequently you've requested CLI's and from which issuer. If you work over the next year or two building up your existing lines, that will help keep your utilization down, even if you make some medium to large purchases.

 

The card I'm after is the Uber Barclays card. I don't "need" the card so to speak - but their perks and rewards system would save me a decent chunk of change each month, which is nice.

 

I haven't asked Discover for a CLI yet, but they did just bump me from $1200 to $1700 without me asking, because I'm "so responsible" or something. I've only had the card since October. Go figure.

 

I requested a CLI with CapOne a month or two ago, and they bumped me from 1000 to 1100, and just this week they bumped me from 1100 to 1600 - but I didn't ask for that one.

 

Chase, I haven't looked into yet, beyond visiting their webpage and being led to a page that said "there's no current offers for a CLI" for me. Maybe if I call them, but it might be best to wait a bit longer.

 

Thanks for the advice! I'll keep working on trying for more CLIs as time passes.

 

Do you find cards that start small tend to cap out small? At some point, should I expect my CLIs on these cards to be more than $100-500 a pop, or will I need to explore bigger and better cards?

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Each issuer is different. I started out with around $2k for Discover, but now am over $21k, a tenfold increase. I started out PNC with $3k nearly a decade ago, and they are still at $6k after all these years. I keep calendar reminders to call each of my issuers six months from my last CLI and request another one. If they tell me it is going to be a hard inquiry, I refuse and hold off, just getting CLI's on cards that are soft inquiries only. I save my hard inquiries for new card applications. With CLI's, the key is to be patient and request them over time with consistency. Work on disputing any negative marks on your report (if any), then in one month's time, after your reported balances are lower, apply for the Uber card.

 

If you want a free product that tracks your reported balances to two of the three major CRA's, you can check out www.creditkarma.com. The scores are FAKO, but the balances reported are accurate. It provides you another way to keep track of what reported balances are and the date of which they are reported.

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Do you find cards that start small tend to cap out small? At some point, should I expect my CLIs on these cards to be more than $100-500 a pop, or will I need to explore bigger and better cards?

Low limit cards can definitely grow over time, but not necessarily. When all your cards are toy limits, it's unlikely any creditor is going to give you a large CLI.

 

The best way to grow limits is to start by getting a new card with a well known generous creditor to get you out of toy card hell. Give that card 6 months to age and then when you ask for a CLI with an existing creditor, you can speak to the UW and reference the fact that you have experience with higher lines and ask him to match that CL.

 

Additionally, once that first pry bar account ages, you can open another and hopefully they will exceed the first and your largest CL will continue to grow that way.

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Thanks!

 

Just wanted to post an update. My EX and EQ scores both just update on all three statements. Discover actually posted at the $20 balance despite the statement cutting at $320, so there does seem to be a small window of leeway to address large purchases.

 

YMMV of course, and I wouldnt call this reliable. It may not work for all cards, and the time it takes for payments to post seems wildly inconsistent in my experience....

 

Now if only TU would update to reflect these changes. Theyre the bureau I want pulled...

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Disco is one of the few that will do off cycle reporting. You can call them and ask them to report after a payment posts if you want and all CRAs will update within a couple of days. They may also have automated off cycle updates like this.

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What card do you want to apply for? If you're really concerned about getting denied due to utilization, perhaps wait until next month to apply, providing you've time your payments to reflect lower balances next time the statements cut? Do you really need the new card this month?

 

Also, before you apply, if you're willing to wait another month, have you gone online with Discover and requested a CLI? If you've had the card for at least six months, they'll usually hand out a CLI, and without a hard inquiry. They are the easiest of your issuers to get a CLI from. It wouldn't hurt to call Capital One and Chase, plus your CU, to see if they'll issue CLI's without a hard inquiry. Your overall card limits are fairly low, meaning that your UTIL ratios are fairly high if you forgot to PIF before a statement is cut. One of the easiest ways to raise your FICO score is to keep track of how frequently you've requested CLI's and from which issuer. If you work over the next year or two building up your existing lines, that will help keep your utilization down, even if you make some medium to large purchases.

 

The card I'm after is the Uber Barclays card. I don't "need" the card so to speak - but their perks and rewards system would save me a decent chunk of change each month, which is nice.

 

I haven't asked Discover for a CLI yet, but they did just bump me from $1200 to $1700 without me asking, because I'm "so responsible" or something. I've only had the card since October. Go figure.

 

I requested a CLI with CapOne a month or two ago, and they bumped me from 1000 to 1100, and just this week they bumped me from 1100 to 1600 - but I didn't ask for that one.

 

Chase, I haven't looked into yet, beyond visiting their webpage and being led to a page that said "there's no current offers for a CLI" for me. Maybe if I call them, but it might be best to wait a bit longer.

 

Thanks for the advice! I'll keep working on trying for more CLIs as time passes.

 

Do you find cards that start small tend to cap out small? At some point, should I expect my CLIs on these cards to be more than $100-500 a pop, or will I need to explore bigger and better cards?

 

Hey MB, welcome to CB.

 

While you stated you wanted the Uber card, I would suggest that you DON'T want the Uber card.

 

I got it last year. My scores are all over 800. 200K in overall lines. Overall utilization is consistently under 9%, and usually under 3%. Despite all that, Barclays Uber card is my lowest credit limit ($2K). They want to do a hard pull to increase it. Customer service is substandard. Perks are nice, but not exceptional, and nothing you can't get elsewhere. I've found Barclays to be a difficult company to work with. Given your scores and the limits that you have now, they may not be willing to grant you a card, and if so, it may turn out to be your lowest limit card.

 

Not sure the juice of benefits from them is worth the squeeze of apping and trying to work with them...

 

One man's opinion. YMMV.

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​Experian is (currently accurately) reporting one card at 65/1600. TransUnion is showing 941/1100 (last month's news). When should I expect TU to catch up?

Whenever they get around to it -- probably within a few business days. The CRA's vary in how quickly they update after a creditor reports.

 

Do you find cards that start small tend to cap out small?

There are some cards that are limited in growth potential but for most cards it is never just about the card itself but one's credit as well. I've had cards start out small and grow. I've had cards start out with high limits and never grow. You can't assume that a starting limit on its own means anything with regard to growth.

 

and the time it takes for payments to post seems wildly inconsistent in my experience....

The time you see it reflected on the web site may vary a bit but your creditor tells you what the cutoff time is for your payment to be credited the same day. Edited by takeshi

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If you want a free product that tracks your reported balances to two of the three major CRA's, you can check out www.creditkarma.com. The scores are FAKO, but the balances reported are accurate. It provides you another way to keep track of what reported balances are and the date of which they are reported.

 

Another site for tracking CS is www.nerdwallet.com and www.NAV.com for business credit CS.

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I'm just wondering if you have applied with your bank for a personal line of credit. I asked my CU for one & with a soft pull they started me out with a $500 limit. In about three months will ask to double that. But the best part it also increases your overall credit limit but without a card.

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