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New Contributor
Posts: 100
Registered: ‎10-29-2013
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Some questions regarding zero balances

Hi all, I have some newbie questions about reporting zero balances - I've tried to find answers by browsing the internet and forums but can't seem to get definitive answers, so I was hoping you could help me out.

 

1. How does a zero balance for a revolving credit card appear under payment and account history on your credit report? Does it report a zero balance or does it report nothing at all? For example, if you have a balance of $100 in January, $0 in February, and $50 in March, would your credit report show something like this:

 

JAN                  FEB                MAR

Bal: $100        Bal: $0           Bal: $50

Due: $10         Due: $0         Due: $10

 

or this:

 

JAN                  MAR

Bal: $100        Bal: $50

Due: $10         Due: $10

 

...or something else, or does it vary (if so, I have Citi and Amex)?

 

2. Is there a difference between a zero balance because it was paid off before statement close and a zero balance because of nonuse, as far as credit reports are concerned?

 

3. Does this affect your payment history in any way? This is kind of a broader question about payment history in general, as I can't seem to get a good sense of how the payment history score factor actually works beyond Paid=Good, Late/Missed/Delinquent=Bad. If zero balances show up in your payment history, are they considered at all in scoring (disregarding any util factors)? For that matter, is this part just a matter of ratio/percent of timely vs. delinquent payments or is volume a factor? As in, does having one credit card paid on time every month count the same as having ten cards paid in time every month, and if not, would zero balances help to mitigate a missed payment ding or not?

 

I'm sure these have easy answers, just can't seem to find them! None of these are of real concern or importance to me personally at the moment beyond manuevering toward my Amex CLI later on (clean payment history, don't forsee any issues but there could always be accidents/forgetfulness/etc.), but I am curious as to how zero balances work as I had always gone along under the impression that it was best to report and pay off small balances on every card every month until I came here and was told only to let one card report per month. Inquiring minds want to know these things!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 3,928
Registered: ‎06-05-2013
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Re: Some questions regarding zero balances

[ Edited ]

elegia wrote:

 

How does a zero balance for a revolving credit card appear under payment and account history on your credit report? Does it report a zero balance or does it report nothing at all?


Generally a zero balance is reported.

 


elegia wrote:

 

Is there a difference between a zero balance because it was paid off before statement close and a zero balance because of nonuse, as far as credit reports are concerned?


AFAIK a zero balance is viewed the same either way.

 


elegia wrote:

 

Does this affect your payment history in any way? This is kind of a broader question about payment history in general, as I can't seem to get a good sense of how the payment history score factor actually works beyond Paid=Good, Late/Missed/Delinquent=Bad. If zero balances show up in your payment history, are they considered at all in scoring (disregarding any util factors)? For that matter, is this part just a matter of ratio/percent of timely vs. delinquent payments or is volume a factor? As in, does having one credit card paid on time every month count the same as having ten cards paid in time every month, and if not, would zero balances help to mitigate a missed payment ding or not?


Zero balances won't negatively affect payment history.  I don't know if they're considered positive as it seems like positive wouldn't really apply.  Not sure where to find a definitive answer to this off the top of my head.  A zero balance is definitely not going to mitigate anything.  A derog sits on your report until it falls off, is removed, etc.

New Contributor
Posts: 100
Registered: ‎10-29-2013
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Re: Some questions regarding zero balances

Thanks for the help!

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