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How to use credit cards without a negative affect on credit score.
After spending a lot of time and money I have rebuilt my credit score to what is considered 'good.' As a result I have qualified for better credit cards (lower interest and better rewards.) I rarely use credit cards but my husband and I had been toying around with the idea of switching to using only credit, one card specifically, for everyday purchases instead of our debit card. The main idea is to rack up the rewards each month and pay the balance in full (since we won't be spending out of our checking.) I know we will be able to pay the card off and not spend in excess just because it's 'credit.' We are both very adamant about not carrying any large amounts of debt because we are currently shopping around for mortgages. So THIS is my question, if I use my credit card up to say, 75% of it's limit will my credit score decrease even if I am paying off the balance in full every month? I know your scores get pulled at different times of the month, I'm not sure how you find out when so you can make sure your balance is paid? HELP :)

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Maybe check your credit reports and see what date your creditor reports to the bureaus, if you find that they report consistently at the same time each month to all 3 bureaus then just make sure your utilization rate is low a couple of days before that date. You would probably have to experiment for a couple months to see how it works while risking a negative impact if you guess wrong. I understand you wanting to use it a lot to gain the rewards and also there is more purchase protection with a credit card than a debit card, but most credit pros advise not taking cards over a 20 or 30% utilization rate. If you would end up not timing it right and ending up with a ding for high utilization as long as you pay it off at the end of the month then the following month your score should go back up I would think.

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What card you have?

From my experience, credit card companies only report to the bureaus once a month, and that's usually on the last day of your billing cycle, or in other words your statement due date. This means you can utilize however much you want on your credit card, as long as you get it low by their report day, aka statement due date, as mentioned above. If you so happen to over utilize, then no worries. Just make sure on the next month, the utilization is low. I had utilization of 73% and score went down about 20 points, but the next month I got about 20 points back up. I advise that you don't keep your balance at 0 or something really low by your statement due date since any slight increase in future balance may slightly decrease your score. My utilization went from 2% to 3% about difference of $4 the month after and score dropped 2 points. However this was when my limit was low at only 300 (my first credit card.)

To check, just go to the my finance tab on this site and go to trans or Equifax under credit reports and drop down your specific credit card for more information including the report date.

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Before the statement closing date (that's the date they send you the bill). You want to make a payment. You don't want them reporting you are using 75% of you available credit. So a few days before the closing date make a payment. But don't pay it all. Leave 10% on the card so they report that you are using 10%. then after you receive the bill with the remaining balance you can pay the rest. Pay it before the due date to avoid paying interest.

Its ok to pay all your bills with a CC. You can earn rewards. Plus get extended warranties. It's safer because if someone gets ahold of your debit card info they can take your money out of your bank account. Then you have to wait to get it back. If someone steals your credit card they are stealing the CC company's money.

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