Q&A: Credit use and your scores

Dear Liz: When my credit utilization decreased to 24%, my credit score rose from 675 to 690. My utilization has since decreased to 17% but my score remains 690. Approximately what does my credit utilization have to be to see a credit score over 700?

Answer: Keep in mind that you have many credit scores, not just one, and the formulas used to create these scores can vary considerably. But in general, the less you use your available credit, the better. People with the highest credit scores tend to use less than 10% of their credit limits.

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  1. William Miller says

    Dear Liz,
    As of Nov, 2022 both of our credit scores have been in the low 800’s. We always pay all credit card balances off before the next billing period. We are presently charging a cruise for us and our daughter and her husband. Needless to say, We’re worried about exceeding the available credit and thus reducing our credit score. We’re using one credit card and paying half this billing period and half on the next billing period. I’ve never been able to calculate the “credit utilization”, but I’m sure we will exceed it for the next two months even though we will pay the amount charged in full. Our billing period runs from the 8th one month to the 7th of next. We always pay our bills on the 2nd or 3rd. I think this practice helps keep our credit score in the 800″s.. With this large charge, can you suggest anything else we can do? A faithful reader. Thank you!

    • Liz Weston says

      You can make multiple payments during the month to lower your credit utilization. If you’re not planning to apply for a major loan, though, a temporary dip in your excellent scores shouldn’t cause too much concern.

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