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My FICO score has been falling ever since the pandemic began. When I did DD for cause, it was suggested I should charge less. What? Huh? I haven't wanted to touch cash if possible so using my credit cards but not even close to limit. I am never late with payment. I have not applied for new accounts. Score is acceptable but fallen quite a bit from previous 815. Just wondering....
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You said you are never late with a payment, but are you carrying a balance or paying it off each month? You do get plus points for making your payments on time, but you also get dinged when you carry a balance.

Fuskie
Who notes many have the mistaken impression that carrying a balance month-to-month improves your credit score, but while paying interest buffers the banks's bottom line, it doesn't benefit your credit score...

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...not even close to limit...

Are the balances close to 30% of the limit? Or over? FICO likes to see utilization under 30%, and dings you on a sliding scale when you go over that. (E.g., if your credit limit is $10,000, then you should keep balances under $3,000.)

Sometimes I'll make multiple payments a month to keep the outstanding balance low. Some credit cards don't allow that, but I've never had a problem doing it.

If utilization is the issue, then 2 to 3 months of low utilization will be enough for your credit score to recover (unlike late payments, which ding you for years).
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You do get plus points for making your payments on time, but you also get dinged when you carry a balance.

Well, this seems to be the opposite of the myth that usually comes up about carrying a balance: That you need to carry a balance to improve your credit score. Neither is true. Carrying a balance, in and of itself, does nothing to impact your credit score. What does matter is that you:
- Make your payments 'on time' (technically, less than 30 days after the payment was due - you will be charged a late fee and interest, but the CC company won't report you until the payment is 30 days late) and
- That you keep your utilization of your credit low - generally, 10% or less, both on individual cards and overall, will get you the highest scores.

AJ
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FICO likes to see utilization under 30%

Under 10% is better, especially for the overall usage.

But yes, I would agree that if the credit card usage has increased the utilization, that's probably the cause for the decreased scores.

Making multiple payments each month is a way to keep the utilization down. Other ways are to ask for higher credit lines on your current cards, or to open more lines of credit. Sometimes it's possible to get a higher credit limit on current cards just by asking. But any credit inquiries will impact credit scores negatively. And a new account has several negative impacts: - the credit inquiry, decreasing your average account age, and just being a new account. Most of those impacts diminish after 6 - 12 months, though.

AJ
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Under 10% is better...

This would explain why my previous above-800 FICO score was less than that last time I checked. I've also closed many old cards, or had them closed for lack of use. I guess I could ask Fidelity to raise my limit. We use that card for essentially all our purchases because of the solid 2% back on everything (which has been funnelled into DD's 529 account since I got the card -- a huge boost to that account).

ThyPeace, recalls with some cheerfulness a mortgage broker calling me up and asking, "How did you get a score over 800 at your age? I usually don't see those until people are 20 years older than you are!" Of course, that was nearly 20 years ago, so it's no longer as nifty. But it made me feel quite grown up at the time.
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When the balance is reported is different from when payment is processed. The balance reported is what is used to calculate your score.
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Thanks for your replies everyone. Lots of food for thought. I am not a perpetrator of any of the mentioned aggravators - don't carry a balance, no where near my limit, pay promptly; I also have quite a long good credit history - just saying, I know it is not relevant. It's a mystery.
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It's a mystery

Have you looked at the reasons given in your score report? They should tell you why that scoring model is taking points off.

Also, you should be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. A score based on the Vantage scoring system can be very different than one based on the FICO system. It's not that one is necessarily better than the other. They're just two different models that look at different aspects of your credit history.

AJ
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If you are not applying for new credit, what is the concern in the first place ?

Check your report for stray credit and call it a day.
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