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Today, I paid a $1000 bill with a credit card that has a $1500 credit limit. (Note, I have changed the numbers slightly here, but the ratios are roughly correct.) The bill has not yet been posted to my account. Can I add $1000 to my account now, knowing that that $1000 bill will show up soon?

The reason for wanting to do this: I understand that it can hurt your credit to carry a balance on a credit card that exceeds 20% of your total credit limit. From this answer I understand that it's a good idea to pay off your bill multiple times per month to keep this ratio low (I've been doing that for years anyway). I'm considering buying a house within the next few months, so I'm being extra paranoid about my credit rating.

  • you can try to increase your credit limit or open another credit card which will also increase your total credit limit – user102008 Apr 27 '15 at 22:25
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Yes, you can usually deposit/pay money into a credit card account in advance. They'll use it to pay any open debt; if there's money left over they'll carry it as a credit towards future changes.

("Usually" added in response to comments that some folks have been unable to do this -- though whether that was really policy or just limitation if web interface is unclear. Could be tested by simply sending them an overpayment as your next check and seeing whether they carry it as a credit or return the excess.)

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    This is correct. I do this routinely. – ChrisInEdmonton Apr 27 '15 at 15:42
  • My credit union actually stopped allowing this, so this answer is not always correct. – Andy Apr 28 '15 at 1:31
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The only time the utilization percentage makes a difference is when the data is being pulled for a credit check. During the months leading up to the loan application through the settlement date of the loan keeping this percentage low makes sense. The number reported is the current value of the ratio not an average.

You can pre-fund the credit card but don't go overboard. If you keep a negative balance (lets say they owe you $100) for a few months they may decide to send you a check for the balance they owe you.

  • What is their motivation for sending a check? Aren't they effectively getting a loan from you at 0%, below market rate? – Superbest Apr 27 '15 at 20:12
  • May, not must. It's up to them, unless you actively request a refund of the balance due to you. I agree that i'd be surprised if they did so, but... (And I agree that trying to optimize utilization is probably far more work than any supposed gain in credit rating would justify. The way to have a great credit rating is to use credit wisely.) – keshlam Apr 27 '15 at 20:22
  • On a few occasions I overpaid a credit card bill (due to returning an item), the card was not used very often, so after 90 days they sent me a check. – mhoran_psprep Apr 27 '15 at 20:28
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    @Superbest: that loan from you becomes a liability on their accounts, which can look bad even if they have a corresponding asset in the form of your cash – Jacob Krall Apr 27 '15 at 21:16
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There are two separate cases here that people are not separating.

Any card will allow you to pay an amount not exceeding the actually posted charges. Some cards will allow you to pay more than this, some will not. My parents have deliberately overpaid as a means of having a higher credit limit, I've been denied (different card) when trying to do the same thing and the website wouldn't even allow me to pay temporary charges that hadn't yet become real. (A human operator would allow paying those, though.)

  • I think that's simply a bug in their website. – keshlam Apr 27 '15 at 20:23
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    @keshlam Temp authorizations sometimes aren't real or are for more than your actual bill. It's understandable the website didn't count them. – Loren Pechtel Apr 27 '15 at 21:31
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Yes. You can pay towards your credit card before the actual bill becomes due every month. However, your credit usage ratio does not get sent to credit reporting agencies exactly on the day of your bill; this data can be sent to the agencies any day of the month. So, keep your balance low at all times throughout the month, not just right before your statement closing date.

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I actually did this once. I wrote a large check along with a letter indicating that I would not be around to receive the next bill so I was prepaying. Not only did they credit the entire check, they didn't send that bill and listed the charges on the next month's bill. They must have done that by hand because there's no way the machines would have understood.

protected by Chris W. Rea Dec 23 '16 at 13:25

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