I have one credit card. It is currently at 31% utilization. I have no debts or loans. I want to apply for a home loan soon, and via Credit Karma, this is the only bad spot on my credit score.

If I pay off the balance immediately, in what timeframe would I see my credit score improve?

If the timeframe is monthly, then I could wait to apply for the home loan. If it's more like yearly, then there's no point in waiting (need to move soon).


  • 1
    What is your current credit score?
    – Ben Miller
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 22:35
  • Is your utilization 31% this month, or are you carrying a balance of 31%? Commented May 18, 2016 at 22:59
  • One thing I would do is pay as much of the bill if you can before the closing date. Lets say you charge 4k a month like I do. If you can pay 2k before close they will only report 2k as utilization and then you can pay the other 2k before the due date. Commented May 19, 2016 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


As soon as the $0 balance is reported to the bureaus your score will reflect the change. Your creditors will typically report your information monthly around the time your statement is generated.

There is no "memory" related to utilization, only your current utilization is taken in to account. With that said, 31% isn't exactly in the "high utilization" range.

As Joe points out in the comments below, it's actually not beneficial to have an overall utilization of 0%. As far as fully maximizing your possible score goes 1% to 10% utilization seems to be the sweet spot based on data collected by Credit Karma (posted in other credit utilization type questions on this site).

  • It might be useful to point out that usually the updated balance would be reported monthly, since that is the information that is being requested.
    – TTT
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 21:26

It will be about two weeks after the bill closing date. The credit card bank is not too much in a hurry, so they take a week or two to report it; and then the credit score gets updated within some days.

if you have no way to check, I'd give it 3+ weeks to be sure; remember that a request will pull the score down too.

However, if this is your only bad spot, you should be above 800, and that's so great that you can't improve anything. Anything above 750 is top shelf and equal.

  • Yeah the other "ding" is that I don't have much loan history at all (even though I had two student loans I paid off - what the heck) - not much I can do about that now. Commented May 19, 2016 at 3:12

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