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I only use my credit card to buy gas. I couldn't use it last month because the gas station's credit card system wasn't working. My FICO Score 9 dropped from 842 to 820 in this month's snapshot.

I checked the Score ingredients and nothing else out of the ordinary happened. I have 100% on-time payments and no delinquent accounts. The credit utilization is 0%. Credit history average is around 7 years with the oldest account being around 17 years. Newest credit application is around 1 year ago. I have 12 different types of credit.

I never realized not using the credit card just for one month can drop the score so low. I was able to use the card this month so back to the same routine.

Will it be fixed in the next snapshot?

I'll be able to see the next snapshot in about 2 weeks from now, but I just wanted to guess in advance what to expect to see.

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    Why do you even care, honestly?
    – littleadv
    Jun 29 at 5:58
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    Note that they change their formula in the background whenever they think they have something better. But anything over 720 is considered identical, so stop worrying.
    – Aganju
    Jun 29 at 13:16
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    @Aganju Experian indicates a difference in mortgage rates for 700-759 range and 760+. There is not some set rule, lenders can differentiate how they want, 720 is a bit low to suggest no possible benefit from having higher imo. experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/…
    – Hart CO
    Jun 29 at 13:31
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    Regardless of what answers you get here, please feel free to come back next month and answer your own question, or at least update it, since you will know for sure how to answer: "Will it be fixed in the next snapshot?"
    – TTT
    Jun 30 at 4:17

3 Answers 3

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Credit scores have multiple factors, and the exact formula is proprietary, so there's nothing to "fix" here. Credit scores of 842 and 820 are both "excellent" so there's no real harm. It's very possible that you did nothing "wrong" and your credit still went down based on some aspect of the formula.

As an analogy, your score going from 842 to 820 is a little like your grade in History going from 98 to 95 without knowing what questions you missed. It's still an "A" (in the common US grading scale) so there's no real damage other than personal pride.

If you're using credit responsibly, not spending more than you make, and paying off the card every month, then you'll be fine.

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The credit scoring companies will tell you that utilization makes up x% of your score, but they don't tell you how they calculate it. I've read multiple times that utilization of 0 is worse than a low utilization and that the ideal is in the 5-10% range, your example supports this notion.

Utilization in most models doesn't factor in historic utilization rates. It's only current utilization (what they see at the time they check) that most models use. For people who make timely payments variation in utilization is responsible for most swings in credit score.

It can make sense to make early payments and plan spending when you are about to have your credit pulled for a mortgage or other large loan to keep utilization in a certain range, but otherwise swings within the excellent range of credit scores aren't anything to worry about.

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  • There are also different scoring models, and 5-10% is not better than 0.1-1% in at least some of them.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jun 30 at 20:35
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To answer the question, it slowly goes back to normal.

The following month after the drop, the score stayed the same. The next month after it is going back up again to normal.

Screenshot of bank's snapshot

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