Couples need good credit scores to qualify for mortgages and car loans. One way to keep your credit score high is to maintain a low credit-utilization ratio, which is responsible for 30 percent of your score -- second only to on-time payments. A once-a-month snapshot of your account indicates how much of your available credit you use -- less than 30 percent is good but 10 percent or less is best. To time your credit utilization, it helps to know when your credit card company reports your card balance. Unfortunately, credit card companies report at different times of the month depending on company policy.
You need to understand three dates when it comes to your credit cards: the statement date, payment date and reporting date. The statement date is the day your credit card company issues your statement showing your charges for the billing cycle. The payment date is the day by which you must pay your bill to avoid interest charges on your transactions. The reporting date is the date the credit card company reports your balance to the three major credit-reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Credit Card Reporting
Many credit card companies report your balance to the credit-reporting agencies on your statement date. However, your credit card company may report later or earlier depending on its policies. Check with your credit card company to ask when it reports to the credit-reporting agencies to get a definitive answer.
You can also sign up for a credit-monitoring service to monitor your credit report. Sites such as Quizzle, Credit Sesame and Credit Karma offer limited free credit-monitoring services. Sign up for an account and receive notification when your credit company reports your balance. If you want full coverage, you can purchase credit-monitoring services directly from the major credit-reporting bureaus. You typically receive a free credit report and score with your purchase.
Your credit utilization ratio changes from month to month. If you ended up with a high utilization ratio this month, you can fix it next month by paying down your balances. You'll also experience a bump up in your credit score by dramatically lowering your utilization ratio.
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