There is a lot of advice out there about keeping your credit card utilization above 0% but less than 20%. I'm currently carrying about 85% utilization on my card and have plans to lower it. How long will it take for my credit score to reflect a lower utilization? If I have no plans for a major purchase, should I be worried about utilization at all?

  • 1
    Is your credit card something you might use in emergencies? Having no credit left can be a problem in such a case. (This might not apply to you, but it is worth considering.)
    – MrChrister
    May 10, 2013 at 21:10
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    You might consider trying CreditKarma which will give you a free credit score every week. I have seen it change from week to week to reflect credit utilization.
    – Craig W
    May 11, 2013 at 1:18
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    @CraigW I also use CreditSesame for similar purposes
    – warren
    May 16, 2013 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Your credit report has no historic utilization rates (although it will note the highest balance you have had on a particular line of credit). It only factors in the last reported statements from your creditors. The actual delay depends on a combination of the creditor and the reporting agency. It will usually range from 1-3 months. If you have no plans to have your credit pulled in the near future, your utilization rate should not be a major concern.

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    So a creditor looking at my full history will be able to discern the maximum utilization for each card. However, they won't know for how long my cards were at that utilization. This maximum value may factor into their decision about whether or not to lend, but it likely does not affect my credit score?
    – drs
    May 11, 2013 at 14:50
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    @drs Not exactly. Your credit report will list the maximum amount ever owed as well as your current balance and credit limit. They won't know what the credit limit was at the time of your highest balance, the date of your highest balance, or how long your balance stayed there. So they can calculate your current utilization but can't accurately see your maximum utilization (because they don't know your credit limit at the time of your highest balance). I can't speak to how this factors into the decision of creditors, I can just confirm this is the information that is available to them.
    – sglantz
    May 13, 2013 at 19:16

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