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Here's a situation I've always wondered:

Suppose Alice has a $1500 Credit Card and wants to buy a $2000 trinket from Bob. Bob agrees to allow Alice to make 2 $1000 installments on a NET 30 term. Alice buys the trinket, making the first payment. She waits for the transaction to post then pays it immediately. The following week, she makes the second payment, then pays that off immediately. She doesn't pay any of her other expenses on the card until the end of the month when she gets her statement (suppose at the end of the month it's $500)

What is her CC utilization for the month in this scenario?

Is it

  • 33% (500/1500, her unpaid expenses as of the statement date)

or

  • 167% (2500/1500, the total amount she put on her card that month divided by her limit)?
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  • See JoeTaxpayer's answer for a specific note about your question here. Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:47

2 Answers 2

4

The utilization is the balance divided by the limit at the moment the value is reported.

Consider this scenario:

You spend $15 every day at store X. After 30 days you will have charged $450, then the bill closes. You of course keep spending $15 every day. 25 days later when you pay the bill if you want to not have to pay interest you pay $450. If they report your utilization:

  • the day the cycle closes (30 days x $15) $450/$1000 or 45%
  • just before you pay (55 days x $15/day) $825/$1000 or 82.5%
  • just after you pay ($825-$450) $375/$1000 or 37.5%

So yes you can cycle through multiple times during the month but they only look at the balance a that moment of the report.

7

For most credit cards, the amount reported to the credit bureaus is the balance listed on the statement as of the closing date. Some cards use some other time period (like always reporting balance as of the 1st of the month, even though statement closes on the 15th), but in all cases it's only a monthly "snapshot" of the balance at that time.

I think this article from creditcards.com explains things reasonably well: What day is my card balance reported to the credit bureaus?

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