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Credit Repair/Credit Utilization and Credit Score

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Hi Chris,

I'm a recent college graduate, I'm trying to get all my finances in order to best pay off these student loans and set me up for a long-term financial plan. My question is in regard to credit cards and utilization rates. I only have one credit card, but I've always been able to pay it off every week. In November I accidentally allowed a balance of about $300 to carry over, which isn't much, but takes up a lot of my $750 credit limit.

The card is only 2 years old - it's the Journey student card from Capital One from when I was in college. It comes with a credit monitoring service from CreditKarma.com, which I've read isn't a true FICO score, but an estimate. Anyways, that system says that my score has dropped from the 720's to the 690's - what I think is a pretty drastic change, even for an estimator - because my revolving credit utilization went from 8% to 40% that one month. Otherwise, my credit history is unblemished.


Is this something temporary, and my score will bounce back in a few months, or will it have a lasting effect on my credit history and score? I've been considering applying for a new card with a higher limit (Capital One won't raise theirs, I even requested it after reporting a rise in income), but with my short credit history and now this little bump, I'm always afraid that I will get declined but keep that hard inquiry... what do you think?


To give you a better picture of my overall credit situation:
- $3,000 secured loan (listed as "Other"..?)
- $18,000 in student loans (on my report as 4 different accounts)
- $750 limit on one credit card
- 2-year-old history
- No missed or late payments
- 3 inquiries - the Journey card, a car loan (denied, which is why I have a secured loan), and car insurance.



I know this is a long question, and I very much appreciate your taking the time to reading it.

Sincerely,
Lauren

Answer
Lauren,

Stop worrying about your day to day credit score. It is like the stock market. It is going to fluctuate heavily in much part due to credit utilization.

Pay your bills on time and you will be OK.

Finally, credit is only meant for when you need to purchase something big like a car and a home. You do not usually run out and buy one on a whim. Most people plan for this event. Part of the planning should be paying down all the revolving credit they have so their credit utilization is under 20% (best if it is 6-8% of the credit limit). Do this 30-45 days before your major purchase and do not spend on the credit cards again. You will be fine.  

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Chris Ebert

Expertise

I can answer questions for Texas residents concerning issues that involve creditor and debtor rights. Specifically, I can answer questions concerning: FDCPA, FACTA, FCRA, and Texas state collections violations. Further I can guide consumers as how to repair their own credit with out the need for hiring a credit repair company.

Experience

For the last 10 years I have worked as a Sr. Paralegal in a law firm (https://txclf.com) that defends debtors against their creditors. I have reviewed thousands of credit reports and under the supervision of our attorney helped thousands of clients resolve their credit issues.

Organizations
The Ramos Law Firm

Education/Credentials
University of Texas at Austin

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