New Member
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎01-04-2013

Could a person who just charges a few dollars a year once or twice a year get a 800+ FICO score?

[ Edited ]

Lets say there were two different people: 


Person number one has two credit cards for twenty years and just occasionally uses his card for small purchases under $10, maybe twice a year.  He always pays his bills on time but only charges once every six months. He has maybe charged $500 worth of stuff in his whole life in twenty years of having the credit cards. 


Person Number Two also has just two credit cards and also has had each of them for 20 years.  He charges everything to his two credit cards and has available balance of $50K on both cards.  He keeps his utilization below 30% but has charged hundreds of thousands of dollars on his card over the last twenty years.


Both people pay their full balance every month by the due date.  Both only have  two credit cards on their credit report, with no other uses of credit.  Both got their credit cards the same year.   Who of the two men would have a higher FICO score?

Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 32,869
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: Could a person who just charges a few dollars a year once or twice a year get a 800+ FICO score?

Points gained would go more to Person #1, all else being equal. Why? Because person#1's utilization would be much lower in your scenario. It doesn't matter how much you charge on a matters how much is reported in relation to the reported CL. The only consideration would be activity. FICO will ignore balances and CLs if a CC hasn't reported in months, though that time frame is uncertain. Ideally you'd want to use it every 3-4 months to keep activity on an unused card and to prevent the creditor from closing it due to non-use.

Mega Contributor
Posts: 19,517
Registered: ‎03-19-2007

Re: Could a person who just charges a few dollars a year once or twice a year get a 800+ FICO score?

My view...

In a practical sense, from a purely FICO perspective, it probably would not matter.


If person 2 has higher interim balances, there is a chance that a monthly balance could report that is very high, thus dinging the score that month.

However, presuming both know the ropes, when either plans to actually use their score to app for new credit or initiate a business transaction, they have the ability get their reported balance to an ideal FICO number for that billing period.  Thus, same reported % util.  The other months are only academic.

The risk is that if person 2 hits a financial bump in the road, it would be harder to recover.  Person 1 has more security with lower balances.


The bigger picture, in my opinion, is creditor view of the two consumers.  Person 2 is generating revenue for them, perhaps not in interest, but in fees they collect for each charge transaction.  Person 2 would make them smile.  Person 1 most likely would not.

That view might effect the consumer's ability to obtain credit limit increases, or produce a decrease in credit limits.  It might also, if they are making less on the account than the cost of maintaining it, cause the creditor to close the account.


Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,262
Registered: ‎07-23-2012

Re: Could a person who just charges a few dollars a year once or twice a year get a 800+ FICO score?

+ 3

as both posters said it depends when they pay. 


you state both people pay before the due date? 

but do they pay before the statement date? 


if person 1 charged 1$ with a 5k limit. and paid before due date it would report 1 dollar. 

if person 2 charged anything more then 4 dollars on a 20k limit and paid in full before due date, essentially would win that utilization game. 


credit reports do not take into account spending habits. 

correct me if im wrong?

Current: Discover Fico 682 1/15 Walmart Fico 684 1/15

Inquiries (24 Months): EQ 4 TU 1 EX 5 | Most Recent: 09/26/2014
Over 12 Months:6

2014 Goals:
Lower Utility
Freedom Signature

Amex Zync(Unicorn)
Chase Freedom$1500
Discover IT$2900
Citi Diamond Preferred$6000
Citizens Mastercard$7000

Copyright ©2001-2015 Fair Isaac Corporation. All rights reserved.   | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: All FICO® Score products made available on include a FICO® Score 8, along with additional FICO® Score versions based on Experian or Equifax data (additional FICO® Score versions based on TransUnion data are not currently available on Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than the versions you receive from myFICO, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more

FICO, myFICO, Score Watch, The score lenders use, and The Score That Matters are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation. Equifax Credit Report is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. and its affiliated companies. Many factors affect your FICO Score and the interest rates you may receive. Fair Isaac is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Fair Isaac does not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit record, credit history or credit rating. FTC's website on credit.