When you think of your credit score, you may not consider how this number is calculated or how your actions play a role. Simply put, every credit score is made up of certain criteria, and each criterion can cause an increase or decrease in credit score. With credit utilization being one of the things that can impact your score, it may be time to learn how to manage your credit utilization.
In order to successfully manage your credit utilization rate, you’ll need to understand what it is and how it can negatively or positively impact your life.
What is credit utilization and how is it calculated?
Credit utilization is a number used to compare the amount of debt you owe to the amount of revolving credit you have available. By dividing the amount of credit that you use by the amount of credit available, you can determine your credit utilization rate. The more of your available credit you use the higher your credit utilization rate.
For example, if you have several credit cards, one with a credit limit of $500, one with a credit limit of $200, and another with a credit limit of $300, your total available revolving credit amount is $1,000. If you use $400 of the $1,000 of available credit, your credit utilization rate will be 40%. Whereas if you were to use $100 of your available credit, your credit utilization rate would be 10%.
Keep in mind, that while your credit utilization rate is based on your total revolving credit (credit cards, lines of credit) limit, individual utilization rates will also be taken into account. For instance, if you max out a single credit card, that account will have a utilization rate of 100%. This also negatively affects your credit score even if your total utilization rate is much lower.
Why does your credit utilization rate matter?
Credit utilization is one of the many factors that can affect your credit score. It actually makes up 30% of your FICO credit score, which means it is one of the most important factors that influence your credit score. Depending on the number, creditors and lenders may or may not approve your application. This is because your credit utilization rate is another way for creditors and lenders to measure your ability to manage your finances.
If you have $2,000 of revolving credit available to you between one or multiple credit cards, in order to keep your credit utilization at or below 30%, you’ll want to use no more than $600 if you don’t want to see your credit score drop significantly – an ideal utilization rate to increase your credit score is keeping it below 10%.
Managing your credit utilization
Since your credit utilization rate accounts for 30% of your credit score, you want to pay close attention to this number to ensure it doesn’t start to negatively impact your score. This is especially true when you want to improve your score to increase your chances of being approved for things that require good credit such as applying for a home loan or apartment.
You can successfully manage your credit utilization rate by:
- Increasing your credit card limit
- Paying your credit balance in full instead of just the minimum balance
- Keeping credit accounts open even when there is little to no use
- Pay down debts
- Actively monitor your credit usage
Keep in mind that the goal of managing your credit utilization rate is to keep it at 30% or less. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely stop accessing your revolving credit, but you want to do so responsibly if you don’t want to see your credit score suffer.
For credit repair assistance and financial advice, contact Credit Absolute today for a free consultation!