Education How Your Balances Affect Your Credit Scores
Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:02

How Your Balances Affect Your Credit Scores

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30% of your credit scores are determined by your balances. So let's take some time to understand this aspect of your credit report and how it can affect you. Understanding Your Balances: FICO® will calculate the ratio of your available credit to your balances when determining your scores. This is very important for you to remember when trying to maximize your credit scores. Generally keeping your balances below 50% of the credit limit or original amount owed will help you to maintain your credit scores at a good level. To maximize your scores you will want to keep your balances below 10%. Remember FICO® trying to determine the likelihood of you going 90 days late and statistically when your balances are high the chances for financial difficulties raise. Proving your ability to manage your credit will provide the best results for your credit scores. Calculating Your Utilization Ratio: There is often much confusion about calculating your balance ratio. FICO® takes the credit limit of revolving lines of credit and the original balance of installment loans to determine your available credit. Then they take the actual balance of the accounts that are reporting to determine the used credit. The dividing the used credit by the available credit will determine your Utilization Ratio. Total Balance / Total Credit Limit or Original Balance = Utilization Ratio Maximizing Your Scores Now here is where the game gets tricky. I have heard hundreds of times that, I have bought a car to raise my credit scores. This is not a wise way to raise your FICO® score! It will take YEARS to get your balances down to maximize your scores going this way. This is also the reason that you DO NOT want to buy a car if you are trying to finance a home - it will have a negative affect on your score while FICO® is determining whether you can handle the debt. To maximize your scores I recommend the following steps: If you don't have credit cards get 1 or 2. I do no recommend or condone going into debt but there are times that you have to dance the FICO® jig to maximize your finances. So keeping this in mind, if you don't have any credit cards get 1 or 2 with a high limit that you can easily pay off monthly. I recommend getting a name brand card (Mastercard, VISA, Discover, American Express) and avoiding junk cards (which will be covered at a later date) that you can use for a part of your budget such as a credit card just for gas or groceries. This way you know that you will have to pay them off monthly to continue using them. If you have credit cards with high balances pay them down or raise the limit. If you can afford to pay down your cards then do it! Another great trick to maximizing your scores is to ask your creditors for a credit limit raise. Being out of debt is the most important aspect to your finances but if you are one of the millions paying 30 to 40% more monthly on your debt and utilities because of your credit scores then again we are going to do the FICO® jig to help you maximize your finances. Don't refinance your auto loans. When you refinance your auto loan your may be lowering your payment but utilization ratio will be raised again. Also keep in mind that an installment loan will charge you a bulk of your interest on the front part of the loan so many times it may be more beneficial financially to keep the loan instead of paying more interest again. Don't open new installment loans. New installment loans will have a negative impact on your scores and will take months (even years) to recoup the points lost. If you are in the market of buying a new home or a new car you may want to explore these steps. Credit is not something that should be leaned on as an everyday part of life (even though the Credit Reporting Agencies would like that!) but used for large purchases so understanding that your scores may drop when you make a large purchase can help you to plan to maximize your finances! As always if you have any questions for our staff please don't hesitate to call us at 816-463-4626 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Keith Knapp CEO | Owner Credit Guys

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Education How Your Balances Affect Your Credit Scores

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