I have a question about the best way to maintain/improve my score. I recently purchased home appliances with a credit card. I got home, and went to my online bank and setup for a billpay about 3 days later (the soonest I could without paying a $9.95 convenience fee). During that time, FICO whacked me 17 points for using the card. Will my score immediately go back up 17 points when the account shows it being paid back down. Somehow I doubt it.
On a related note, I am planning a vacation and using my CC's to make travel arrangements. I know by what just happened, my FICO score will get whacked by using cards while I travel, even though I will pay everything off when I get home. What is the best way to minimize the damage spending my own money will cause me?
I notice that generally speaking FICO will knock your score immediately when you spend, but will very slowly restore the score when you pay the things back down to where they were. Seems kind of rigged.
Not sure what you mean by FICO "whacking" you, but the best way to keep new charges from hurting your score, which only happens when your monthly balance update causes your utilization (balance/limit ratio) to increase enough to affect your score, is to pay your balance down BEFORE the next statement date. That is, don't just wait till you see the next statement showing those charges.The result will be a lower balance reporting the next time it's updated. Again, the score isn't impacted by individual charges occurring during your billing cycle - only the amount reported monthly.
As for the score knocking you down but being slow to pick you back up again, keep in mind that the score has no memory. It's simply a calculation that's made whenever requested, based on the info in your credit report at the time of the scoring. Theoretically (I know it doesn't seem so, but it's true) the exact same credit report will receive the exact same score every time. So, if the score is different, something in the report has changed.