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Effect of low balances on my scores

HeavenOhio
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Effect of low balances on my scores

Over the past several months, I've been following the scoring effect of a single card balance of varying amounts, i.e. AZEO vs. small balances above AZEO.

 

I've usually been leaving the balance on my 24k AMEX card, although occasionally, it's been on my 7k Capital One card or my 7k Chase card. I have 69k in total limits.

 

Aging doesn't seem to have gotten in the way of getting good data. I've made several swings by AZEO (a tiny balance in the $6–7 range) to make sure I'm comparing apples to apples.

 

Because of the relatively small size of these balances, I'm operating on the assumption that the card a balance appears on doesn't matter — i.e. whether the balance appears on a 7k card or the 24k card. But that's something I can confirm down the road just to be sure.

 

Here's my profile.

  • Six open cards
  • Three closed cards
  • No loans, either open or closed
  • A closed utility account only on TU
  • AoOA: 18 years 3 months
  • AoYA: 34 months
  • AAoA 95 months (EQ & EX); 92 months (TU)

And here are the balances. Scores that have changed vs. AZEO are listed below.

 

$99 balance (Equifax and TransUnion) on 7k Chase card, no scores affected:

  • All FICO scores are at their AZEO levels.

$106 balance (Experian), $99 on 7k Chase card, $7 on 24k AMEX card, no pertinent scores affected:

  • A few days ago, I pulled Experian scores for a $106 aggregate balance across two cards. Having balances on two cards wasn't intentional. But the scores are still useful because the three Experian scores that were dinged with a $200 balance were still at their AZEO levels. In other words, the scores that mattered were the same as their AZEO counterparts.

$200 on 7k Capital One card, three scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus three points vs. AZEO)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO)

$262 on 7k Capital One card, three scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $200)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $200)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $200)

$400 on 24k AMEX card, four scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $262)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $262)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $262)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Bankcard (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $262)

$458 on 24k AMEX card, four scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $400)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $400)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $400)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Bankcard (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $400)

$896 on 24k AMEX card, nine scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus five points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus four points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus five points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Classic (minus one point vs. AZEO; minus one point vs. $458)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Auto (minus one point vs. AZEO; minus one point vs. $458)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus one point vs. $458)
  • Equifax FICO 8 Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Equifax FICO 8 Bankcard (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • TransUnion 04 (FICO 4) Auto (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus three points vs. $458)

$1,425 on 24k AMEX card, nine scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus five points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus four points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus five points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $458)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Classic (minus four points vs. AZEO; minus three points vs. $896)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Auto (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus two points vs. $896)
  • Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Bankcard (minus six points vs. AZEO; minus three points vs. $896)
  • Equifax FICO 8 Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $896)
  • Equifax FICO 8 Bankcard (minus two points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $896)
  • TransUnion 04 (FICO 4) Auto (minus three points vs. AZEO; minus zero points vs. $896)

I expect probable aging points after January 1, so I'll pull at AZEO early in the month. After that, I'll try for a balance somewhere between $106 and $200 — and make sure it's on a single card this time. Smiley Happy

 

Summing this up, at $106 on a single card, I still have my AZEO scores. At $200, I no longer have them. Someone else's profile may be completely different.

 

----

Edited balance information for clarity, 4 January 2020

Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES 8
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

This has to be in the top 5 of all AZEO posts! Double-kudos!

Message 2 of 9
Bbcatcher
Valued Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

Thank you for this post. Very interesting to see.



Message 3 of 9
ytzak
Regular Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

Hey Heaven Ohio you are a long-time activist and know that you need to give us the dates. You’re right when you say, “Because of the relatively small size of these balances, I'm operating on the assumption that the card a balance appears on doesn't matter...” Correct, it’s the dates.

 

Changing from accounts (using AZEO) is a tricky deal that I’ve been working on for over a year. I’ve been doing it to determine the difference between the reporting date verses the posting date for all my personal situation on all accounts (this is not limited to CC but all kinds of loans too). I’ve discovered that even the reporting date does not completely matter. Let me back up.

 

AZEO requires 1 card to keep a balance, but when you change cards to keep that balance you must be careful about reporting dates. If you pay too soon and both report 0 then your zero hampered. Too late and you show two cards with a balance. In some cases you may need a complete cycle to recoup.

 

We all know that the due date on an account has nothing to do with the posting date for your score. Pay your bill (say $100) on the due date (say the 5th) and charge $200 on the 7th and you could show a negative change (depending on your percentage utilizations). We know there is that “no man’s land” between when you pay and when the company posts your new data to the CRAs; but that is not all. I’ve discovered that the CRAs do not need to change your score on the reporting date; they can do it on their run cycle. Thus in the case of a positive, it will reflect only after the CRA posts it, not when your credit company gives it to them. EQ is the worst.

 

Don’t confuse this with a CRA not getting a report. This is about the requirement when a CRA gets the report and when they have to reflect it (could be up to 90 days, but usually is within weeks unless directed by you). So be careful when switching between your non-zero card. Make sure you have a good feel on the reporting side when you plan on applying for something.

 

Y

Current FICO 8 Scores:
EQ 792 (12/24/19), TU 819 (12/23/19), EX 824 (12/23/19)
EQ 788 (11/22/19), TU 817 (11/22/19), EX 828 (11/23/19)
EQ 772 (10/29/19), TU 799 (10/29/19), EX 808 (10.29/19)
Message 4 of 9
HeavenOhio
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

@ytzak, when you mentioned dates, I thought you were going to talk about the difference between a score pulled say in June vs. another being pulled in September. Of course, when time passes, you need to concern yourself with points sneaking in due to aging.

 

But you seem to be talking about dates within the course of a month. I'm not sure how that matters unless an inquiry becomes unscorable during that time. Otherwise, you simply need to concern yourself with possible aging when a new month begins.

 

For what it's worth, this whole thing started when I got hit with the all cards at zero penalty and my points didn't fully rebound when the next positive balance reported. I had a balance of $200 in late March, $0 in early April, and $400 in mid-April. The $400 balance was too high to return my Equifax 04 (FICO 5) Bankcard to its $200 point.

 

What I didn't know at that time was that the $200 balance wasn't giving me my AZEO scores either. I didn't figure that out until later.

 

By the way, I forgot inquiries when I described my profile. When I started collecting these scores, I had no scorable inquiries. Now I don't have any inquiries at all.

Message 5 of 9
HeavenOhio
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

To update this, I get my AZEO scores with a $129 balance, but $179 dings me.

 

$129 balance on 24k AMEX card, no scores affected:

  • All FICO scores are at their AZEO levels.

$179 on 24k AMEX card, three scores affected:

  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Classic (minus three points vs. AZEO)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Auto (minus two points vs. AZEO)
  • Experian 98 (FICO 2) Bankcard (minus three points vs. AZEO)

I don't think any of these dings have a thing to do with utilization as the percentages involved are so extremely low. The only thing I can fathom is that the dings have to do with the "balances too high" reason codes on some of the scores.

Message 6 of 9
FireMedic1
Super Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

FWIW. I use AZEO but got dinged on FICO 8 when my 8k PayPal card reported $300 balance after the previous month it was $540. So last month I let it go back up to $540 and got the points back. Strange that it was 3% down to 1% and back to 3%. Go figure. #HeadScratcher





Homeowner since Sept 2020. My posts are JMHO. My siggy is not to brag. Just sharing my experiences after BK from learning here from rebuild to recovery from the @ 540's.
Message 7 of 9
HeavenOhio
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores

@FireMedic1, what happens when you let a very small balance report, i.e. something in the $5–15 range?

Message 8 of 9
FireMedic1
Super Contributor

Re: Effect of low balances on my scores


@HeavenOhio wrote:

@FireMedic1, what happens when you let a very small balance report, i.e. something in the $5–15 range?


I drop more. So I keep it at the $500 range. I know its weird @HeavenOhio . With 77k total CL's. EQ punishes more than the rest. Smiley Mad

 





Homeowner since Sept 2020. My posts are JMHO. My siggy is not to brag. Just sharing my experiences after BK from learning here from rebuild to recovery from the @ 540's.
Message 9 of 9
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