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The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

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Super Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

Any credit monitoring service or source for your score/report such as Discover may omit information that isn't contained on your real credit report.  You are best advised to obtain a copy of your real Experian report and see what exactly it contains.  It is perfectly possible that the AU account is being ignored by the FICO algorithm and that your only other (maxed out) account is all that's being taken into consideration.

Message 51 of 88
Member

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

Both accounts are visible on my Experian report that I obtained from Experian's website. In fact, both accounts are visible on *all three* of my credit reports from the major Bs. Is there any way you can get FICO to factor something they aren't factoring? The AU card is legitimate, meaning I personally make timely payments on it, and considering others have their AU counted for FICO8 and AU exclusion isn't a hardfast rule, then the scoring is entirely unfair and is not in alignment with accurate credit reporting. Is there anything I can do? 

 

 

Message 52 of 88
Super Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

No, there's nothing you can do.  I don't see how the FICO algorithm would pick and choose which AU accounts it "counts."  There may be factors that could be considered such as the type of account, credit limit, etc. but it's not going to be a situation where it personally counts an AU account for one person but not another assuming equal factors relative to that account.

Message 53 of 88
Established Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization


@BrutalBodyShots wrote:

No, there's nothing you can do.  I don't see how the FICO algorithm would pick and choose which AU accounts it "counts."  There may be factors that could be considered such as the type of account, credit limit, etc. but it's not going to be a situation where it personally counts an AU account for one person but not another assuming equal factors relative to that account.


But that's exactly what the anti-fraud measures in FICO8/9 do...

 

They apply (hidden) heuristics to determine if the account is legitimate (spouse at same address, etc) or the result of "tradeline buying" (random stranger you paid to add you).

 

The cases in the middle (spouse, but different address on the card; non-spouse, same address; close friend for family member...) end up falling into either the "good AU" or "bad AU" pile - but you have no easy way of telling for sure if an AU tradeline "counts" (barring careful experiments with UTIL, etc).

 

Remember, FICO8 originally discounted AUs completely.  Only after the backlash over what that did to the scores of SAHMs and similar, did they add the heuristics to determine if AUs would count.

 

EQ8:850 TU8:850 EX8:850
EQ9:850 TU9:850 EX9:850
EQ5:809 TU4:789 EX2:819 - 2019-09-06
Message 54 of 88
Senior Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

I am an AU on my wife's credit card. That card is used for all household expenses andd gets heavy use. It was opened 23 years ago. We have the same address and all that good stuff. However, the AU account does not count toward my Fico 8 and Fico 9 scores.

 

Why?

 

Quite simply I believe it's because I no longer have an AU card that shows activity.

 

About 15 years ago I stopped carrying the card in my wallet. We moved 13 years ago and I was unale to find the card. When the expiration date passed on the card, I was re-issued a new card but, never activated it. All three of my CRA reports show the account and monthly activity AND the account is being factored into my Fico 04 and Fico 98 - but not Fico 8/Fico 9.

 

For those that have AU accounts at the same address and with the same last name as the primary card holder, a few reasons why the AU account may be ignored by Fico 8 are:

1) You don't have a card issued to you.

2) You have a card but, the date has expired

3) You have a current card but, it shows no activity

 

 

Fico 8: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 9: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 4 .....:. EQ 809 TU 823 EX 830 EX Fico 98: 842
VS 3.0:...... EQ 835 TU 835 EX 835
Fico 8 BC:. EQ 892 TU 900 EX 900
CBIS: ........EQ LN Auto 940 EQ LN Home 870 TU Auto 902 TU Home 950
Message 55 of 88
Member

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

Thanks IV. I appreciate your insightful input. This is an AU card I've shared with my mother for years. I help her make monthly payments; we have the same last name, and have the same address listed on our American credit reports. Are you saying that having a close family member with a matching address sometimes isn't enough, and that you'd need a spouse? 

 

The only contributing factor other than that I can possibly think of is that we both have an extremely common last name and the card is from Barclays US, which is nevertheless a British company (I doubt it's the latter). 

Message 56 of 88
Member

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization

Thanks Thomas- unfortunately I check all of these boxes. I have a card issued in my own name for the account, it isn't expired, I pay the bill monthly to help my mother (although I admit I seldom put any charges on it myself, which could be a factor), so it therefore also has recent activity. My mother and I have the same address listed on our credit reports. 

 

 

Message 57 of 88
Super Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization


@iv

But that's exactly what the anti-fraud measures in FICO8/9 do...

 

They apply (hidden) heuristics to determine if the account is legitimate (spouse at same address, etc) or the result of "tradeline buying" (random stranger you paid to add you).

 

The cases in the middle (spouse, but different address on the card; non-spouse, same address; close friend for family member...) end up falling into either the "good AU" or "bad AU" pile - but you have no easy way of telling for sure if an AU tradeline "counts" (barring careful experiments with UTIL, etc).

 

Remember, FICO8 originally discounted AUs completely.  Only after the backlash over what that did to the scores of SAHMs and similar, did they add the heuristics to determine if AUs would count.

 


Right, but I think you missed the last sentence of what I wrote.  I said all factors being equal.  So, if an AU account "counts" for someone that has X/Y/Z factors in place, someone else with X/Y/Z factors in place will also have it "count."  If they only have X and Y (but not Z) perhaps it won't count, but that by definition would not be "all factors being equal."

Message 58 of 88
Established Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization


@Asker2018 wrote:

Thanks IV. I appreciate your insightful input. This is an AU card I've shared with my mother for years. I help her make monthly payments; we have the same last name, and have the same address listed on our American credit reports. Are you saying that having a close family member with a matching address sometimes isn't enough, and that you'd need a spouse? 


Even that isn't always guaranteed to be enough - the anti-fraud setup for AUs is a completely non-public process, and not only is it difficult to tell if an account does count or will count, there's no real recourse if it doesn't. (Since it's not the content of a report, but how a scoring algorithm is being applied to a report.)

EQ8:850 TU8:850 EX8:850
EQ9:850 TU9:850 EX9:850
EQ5:809 TU4:789 EX2:819 - 2019-09-06
Message 59 of 88
Established Contributor

Re: The Truth about Credit Card Utilization


@BrutalBodyShots wrote:

Right, but I think you missed the last sentence of what I wrote.  I said all factors being equal.  So, if an AU account "counts" for someone that has X/Y/Z factors in place, someone else with X/Y/Z factors in place will also have it "count."  If they only have X and Y (but not Z) perhaps it won't count, but that by definition would not be "all factors being equal."


Except that for this purpose, all factors will never be equal.

 

This isn't as (comparatively) straight-forward as "normal" FICO scoring factors, where it's at least reasonably possible to have multiple people with similar-enough files to predict behavior.

 

Remember, in this case, it's entirely likely the the anti-fraud/abuse may be looking at both people's reports to determine if the relationship is valid.

 

While the rules for AU exclusion/inclusion aren't public, the sort of things that could be factored in include:

  • Same family name (easy, but not always true for spouses)
  • Same address (not as easy as it sounds at first - address variations, moving after adding an AU - many banks don't have an easy way to update AU addresses)
  • Similar address history (again, affected by address variations, etc)
  • Number of joint accounts
  • Numbers of AUs in either direction between the two
  • Number of AUs in either direction between one of the two, and ANYONE ELSE.
  • Number of AUs on the specific tradeline
  • Previous history of the "grantor" having sold tradelines
  • Previous history of having bought tradelines
  • External data (such as LexisNexis birth/marriage/divorce records)
  • Any other "big data" analytics/pattern matching that the CRAs/FICO feel are relevant

None of those possible criteria are subject to public disclosure, and even if part of the process involved rolling dice, you wouldn't be able to either know or contest it.... and there are enough factors potentially involved that the experience of any one pair of people just can't generalize.

 

The only useful thing we do know for sure - is that the older models do include all AUs.

And that means the current mortgage scores don't have any exclusion rules applied - all AUs count there.

 

But for FICO8/9, it's a crapshoot - there's no simple set of rules we can tell people to follow that will promise to make an AU count.  Sure, sure, recommend matching addresses and so on... it can't hurt. But it may or may not be enough.

 

EQ8:850 TU8:850 EX8:850
EQ9:850 TU9:850 EX9:850
EQ5:809 TU4:789 EX2:819 - 2019-09-06
Message 60 of 88
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