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If maxing a credit card is so bad, why does a score not move when paid to 0 balance?

Epic Contributor

Re: If maxing a credit card is so bad, why does a score not move when paid to 0 balance?

jlfce1 wrote:

guiness56 wrote:

It also depends on what your utilization was before you paid it off.  If it wasn't very high, just dropping down 5% probably wouldn't give that much of a boost.


I agree you should not let them all report a 0 balance,  FICO doesn't like that.

I'm still reporting a balance of 487 on a card with a CL of 2200 -22%

Overall, my utilization right now is: 6%

As of May 13th my utilization was bad---very, VERY bad.  About all the cards I had were maxed out.  That's why I thought when the last reported as paid with a zero balance it would have triggered at least some type of increase - even 1 point.

I have a 30 day late well over 4 years and a collection that is an error (reported Nov 2011) and should be removed soon (I don't know how long that process takes but the utility company did advise it was their error and are currently reversing this collection).  That's all the bads. 
My EQ is standing at 683

according to the similutor, just paying all my balances should have shown a max score of 717.  I know it's not 100 but I thought I'd at least hit 700 - 690 at minimum.


I've been doing a lot of research and it appears the scoring for utilization is in addition to if your card is maxed out.  Per Bankrate, they stated that myfico advised that simply maxing out 1 card can cause a 10-30 pt decrease, so I find it interesting that it's appears to be difficutl to reverse that type of damage being my score didn't move.

First, each of your cards is scored individually.  If one is maxed out you are dinged for that.  Then they do overall utilization and if it is high you are dinged for that also.


Paying down a maxed out card would improve your score.  So would paying down high utilization. 


If your score didn't move then something else is going on.

Message 11 of 13
Regular Contributor

Re: If maxing a credit card is so bad, why does a score not move when paid to 0 balance?

shols44 wrote:

jlfce1 wrote:

Very, very interesting....

I've been waiting for my last statment to close on a card that I had maxed.  I recently paid all of my accounts to zero with the exception of 2.  One still remains: $487/2200 (this is a 0% 6 month purchase on my Firestone).


Anyway, I had my Amazon maxed out $639/$700.  On the 13th of last month, I paid all my CC's after learning the importance of low utilization.  So, I've been patiently awaiting results getting boosts little by little as the statements closed.  I received the alert this morning from 0 balance (and my CL increased from 700 to 2500) - not even an inch of a move in score...stayed exactly the same.


So that brings me to my question.  If maxing a card takes such a hit on your score - then why no movement on this last one posting?

How are your SW alerts setup? Any chance you have your alert treshold set to high? perhaps your score has moved but not enough to trigger an alert based on your setup. 

I paid to refresh my report yesterday and got an alert today (unchanged).  The alert said "your balance has increased" but in reality, it decreased to $0.  So - weird.  It seems anytime my balance goes to zero it's stating that my balance has increased.  Doesn't give me faith that the alerts are catching correctly.  But, whatever, nonetheless I can see when my balance changes.


I did check my alerts, they're right, but I think like someone else says, they lag, which I get; however, if I received an alert and it said score unchanged, why did I have to buy the report to see the change? (rhetorical question).  Not a big deal, I was happy to see the small boost.  I'm just getting ridiculously obsessed so my score and the info in my report are 100% accurate by mortgage approval time.  So, for me, it looks like patience is key on the alerts! Smiley Happy


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Message 12 of 13

Re: If maxing a credit card is so bad, why does a score not move when paid to 0 balance?

A week ago I received an email that the Balance Increase alerts were going to be changed to a Balance Change alert.


I'm not so worried on the semantics as to what they call it, but it sounds like a small oversight in the notification code.  If it happens again, would be worth posting over in Product Feedback, I'll likely do it as well assuming I stumble into it at the end of the month when my maxxed out tradeline goes back to it's normal smallish percent balance.

Starting Score: EQ 5 561, TU 98 567, EX 2 599 (12/30/11)
Current Score: EQ 5 771, TU 4 741, EX 2 776, EQ 8 809, TU 8 774, EX 8 822 (1/1/18)
Goal Score:    EQ 5 771, TU 4 750, EX 2 776, EQ 8 809, TU 8 774, EX 8 822 (01/01/19)

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Message 13 of 13