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08-18-2010 10:08 AM
My wife and I recently boosted our FICO scores above 700. In an attempt to raise our scores to the mid 700s, it occurred to us, because we use Amex extensively to gain points for trips, that as a charge card with no limit, the FICO model sees our spending pattern as maximizing the utilization (78%)of that account. Although we pay it in full monthly (range of 4-5K) without a credit limit the FICO model uses the highest previous balance as a limit. Would we better off to reduce our monthly charges to less then 50% ( perhaps 2K) or ask Amex to convert it into a credit card with a credit line of perhaps 10K? Which would be best for our FICO scores?
08-18-2010 11:13 AM
Welcome to the forums!
Do you folks have any CCs (Visa, MC, store or gas)?
08-18-2010 02:09 PM
If I'm not mistaken only some versions of TU fico scoring actually calculate the amex charge card incorrectly making you look maxed out but EQ and EX do not calculate your balance into util so you are completely fine charging on it.
08-18-2010 02:11 PM
True! Amex has changed how they're reporting the highest balance. They're reporting your "average" highest balance. Its my understanding that they are taking the average of your last 12-18 months of charges (not necessarily your statement balances). So, if you spend more, your "average" highest balance will increase. If you spend less like I have, your "average" highest balance will decrease. My highest balance in the past was over 12K, now its closer to 3K.
As for your questions on Amex charge cards and how their util can affect scores, it pretty straightforward. EQ and EX do not factor Amex charge cards in FICO util scoring calculations. TU might or might not, it depends on which TU FICO scoring model is being used. The TU FICO that can be purchased in these forums is TU 98 and this model does factor in Amex charge cards in its util scoring calculations. TU 04 does not factor in Amex charge cards in util scoring calculations.
If this is doable, here is my advice to you. I would stop charging about 5-6 days before your statement cuts, and PIF your bill a few days before your statement cuts. Keep doing this for as long as you have the card. For FICO scoring purposes, you can always leave a balance of a few dollars on one of your revolving cards, and have all of your other cards reporting a $0 balance along with your Amex charge card reporting a $0 balance. I believe this will net you the max util scoring points. It certainly worked for me. All of my scores are over 800.
08-19-2010 07:47 AM
Thank you for the advice. Joining this forum has been a real eye opener and and a real source of expertise re: FICO scores even (or especially) after talking to CS reps from Privavcy Matters 123, Credit Keeper, Trans Union and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
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