Eliminating Credit Card Debt
The average American household wastes well over $100 a month in credit card interest.
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Debit v. Credit Cards: Which is Best For Everyday Use?
Which form of plastic do you want to swipe?
“DEBT RELIEF” SCAMS RELIEVE YOU OF YOUR CASH
They’ll promise to consolidate your debt in under half an hour or negotiate a lump-sum payment to reduce your debt by 50-70%.
Will Debt Management Work for Me?
A debt management program works by gaining creditor concessions on your behalf so that you can better afford minimum payments.
Will filing for bankruptcy stop your foreclosure?
Though an automatic stay is usually automatic, it's not permanent.
Tips for Choosing a Debt Settlement Company
Debt settlement companies will promise you many things: stress-free settlements, no upfront payments, or 80% reductions in your debt.
Tips on avoiding credit card fraud
Make sure it's "
," not "http."
How to Lower Payments through Credit Counseling
Credit counseling is a requirement of most major credit card companies if you want to qualify for their lowest payments.
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Ideal Credit Utilization Ratio
Ideal Credit Utilization Ratio
on May 19, 2010
Your credit utilization ratio is responsible for about 30% of your credit score. It is second only to
in importance. There are five main
components of credit scoring
If you are trying to improve your credit score, then paying attention to your
credit utilization ratio
is important. Even so, it helps to understand what an
ideal credit utilization ratio
Most credit experts suggest keeping your credit utilization ratio at or below 30%. That means that $20,000 in credit limits would allow for up to $6,000 in balances before your credit score begins to suffer. However, this is
According to Craig Watts, spokesman for Fair Isaac Corp., your credit score begins to suffer whenever your credit utilization ratio exceeds 10% on any revolving credit account. The damage is small, but the point is that your scores begin to drop when you utilize more than 10% of your
on charge accounts.
This is especially important for high volume chargers, since the total of your charges in a month count towards your credit utilization ratio, even if you pay off your balances each month. However, the effects of this are somewhat muted since
credit scoring formulas also reward you for your use of credit
If this sounds confusing, that's because credit scoring is complex. It favors those who use credit over those who responsibly pay cash. Consider how different scenarios can improve or reduce your credit scores.
Reduce Credit Scores
Exceed 10% overall credit utilization ratio.
If the sum of your revolving debt balances exceeds 10% of your overall credit limits, then your scores will begin to drop. The higher the ratio, the more your scores plummet.
Exceed 10% credit utilization ratio on individual account.
Even if your overall utilization ratio is low, an
elevated ratio on one account
can still reduce your credit scores.
Leave accounts inactive.
Credit scoring formulas reward you for responsible use of credit. If you don't use it, you can be penalized.
Carry balances on many accounts.
Credit scoring formulas penalize you if you
carry balances on several card accounts
. The more accounts with active balances, the more opportunities you have to forget to make a minimum payment.
Increase Credit Scores
Utilize credit accounts periodically.
Regular use of credit is rewarded as long as you don't use too much.
Some credit experts suggest maintaining a balance gives your credit scores a boost. Others say paying your balance off each month gives you the biggest boost. Unfortunately, this is one of the hidden complexities of credit scoring that Fair Isaac does not share. The major credit bureaus are also equally tight-lipped on this subject.
We can infer that carrying small balances actually provides a greater boost to your credit scores since it indicates that you provide revenues to your creditors through finance charges. Otherwise, if you pay your balances every month, then they only earn revenues from transaction fees.
There does appear to be some positive effect on credit scores for accounts that provide positive profits to the lender. This effect appears to be minor.
Our official position is that it is foolish to maintain a balance when you can pay it off. Who cares if your credit score increases from 788 to 791 just because you maintain small balances? Is it worth the $200 a year you pay in interest? You are better off to eliminate your balances and limit your use of credit to what you can easily manage. After all, Fair Isaac does reveal that simply having a zero balance on a card
does not hurt you
as long as there is recent activity on the account.
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