10

Please assume the basics have been considered, such as:

  1. Credit utilization could have went up
  2. Hard inquiries
  3. Closed an account
  4. Opened a new credit card
  5. Paying off a loan

None of the above occurred in this case. Two weeks ago my FICO score was at 802 and then dropped 15 points; this morning it dropped another 20.

I have no clue why. Credit utilization is 0%, I've made no changes or inquiries.

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    You say, "FICO score," but is it really? Most of the places where you can view your credit score for free are not showing you your true FICO score, but a competing score. Where are you viewing your credit score? – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 16 '20 at 16:39
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica I'm viewing it on Experian, and I guess in an asterisk it says this is my "FICO SCORE 8" – 8protons Nov 16 '20 at 16:41
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    When was the last time you looked at your credit report? What monthly balances are your credit cards reporting on the report? Do you have any old credit cards or loans that were closed years ago? – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 16 '20 at 16:49
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    Do you have any closed loans or credit cards older than that in your past which perhaps used to be on your report, but have fallen off? – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 16 '20 at 16:57
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    @Fattie I addressed this with an edit to my answer. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 16 '20 at 21:06
16

Besides the things you mentioned, there are a couple of other things that can cause your credit score to go down:

  1. Credit utilization could have gone down.

As JTP reported in this legendary answer, having a credit utilization of zero can be seen as worse on the credit score than having a small but non-zero utilization percentage. It is possible that last month your credit card reported a non-zero balance, and when the balance was reported as zero this month, the credit score could have taken a small hit.

  1. Old accounts falling off your credit report.

Even after accounts are closed, they can stay on your credit report for up to ten years, and if they have a perfect payment history they can be positively contributing to your credit score. After they disappear, they are no longer contributing to your credit score and could theoretically cause a drop.


In my opinion, it is not worth worrying about a score drop of this size to your excellent score. At your level, a 30 point swing in one direction or the other doesn't matter at all. My advice to you is continue to pay your bills on time and don't think about your credit score anymore.


To answer Fattie's follow-up question in the comments: Because the credit score is calculated based on a proprietary secret formula, it is not possible to determine exactly, specifically what caused the fall. Unfortunately, there is no way to audit the score. However, we do know that the score is entirely based on what is contained in the credit report. So if you have a credit report from before the drop, and a credit report from now, the answer lies in the difference between the two reports.

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    The link in your comment above money.stackexchange.com/a/48188/41877 is likely an answer to the culprit. I had paid off all my balances before they were due, hitting 0% utilization on a credit report for the first time in my credit history (I've normally kept 2%-10%). And similar to the answer in the link, I dropped 20 points. As for the 15 from two weeks ago, not too sure, but this explains a lot. – 8protons Nov 17 '20 at 0:00
  • You should wait with the paying off until the bill comes, unless you use more than 30% of your credit. Paying it off before the monthly bill results in that card being considered 'unused'. If you don't use any of your credit (=0% usage), you are considered less creditworthy, and your score drops. – Aganju Nov 17 '20 at 16:31
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    @Aganju I’m going to disagree with your advice. You should pay your credit card bill whenever it is most convenient for you, and not worry about the tiny effect that the differences in utilization might have on your score. If you are not paying late, you will end up with excellent credit regardless, as the OP has. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 17 '20 at 16:50
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica - I should have added "If you care about those 15 points". I agree, overall, the are not relevant. – Aganju Nov 17 '20 at 17:36

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