I am a new permanent resident in the US (originally from the Netherlands) and married to an American citizen. I am not used to the credit score system as they use it in the US, so this is all new to me.
Since not having a credit score in the US has about the same effect as being a ghost I would like to start building one. In some instances it has already proved to be a pita - i.e. trying to put our internet connection on my name at our new address was not possible because of having no credit score/history.
At first I tried the piggyback technique by adding me to my wife's credit card as she has a good credit score, only to find out later that Chase does not report this to the credit score agencies... great.
So now I recently signed up for a secured credit card at Capital One, deposited $200 and got a credit line of $351. I thought it would be good to actually utilize the card and pay off the balance every few days. Then I found out that credit utilization actually has a large impact on credit score. The general idea is to keep the utilization below 20% which in my case would be around $70.
Since Capital One has a pretty extensive online environment I am able to pay off the balance any time I want. Would it be beneficial for my credit score to pay it off anytime there is a small balance on it? Also how is the utilization ratio being determined? Is it just being reported once a month and based on the utilization ratio of that specific date? Or is it being averaged out over the whole month?