What is a Credit Card Utilization? Why Cardholders Should Care About It

Image of a woman holding a credit card and happy

Credit cards can be overwhelming for new cardholders due to the financial lingo and terms involved. But it’s important to approach credit card usage with awareness. Resist the temptation to mindlessly swipe the shiny plastic card, even if your monthly paycheck provides a sense of security.

Knowing your credit limit doesn’t mean you can freely max it out. Your credit card utilization has a significant impact on your financial well-being. Discover why understanding credit utilization ratios matters to both experienced and novice cardholders as we delve into this essential financial concept.

What is credit card utilization in credit card?

Credit card utilization is the proportion of credit you use in relation to your credit limit. If, for instance, you have a ₱20,000 limit and spend ₱10,000 each billing cycle, your utilization rate is 50%.

Your credit card utilization ratio is calculated by dividing your credit card balance by your credit limit. This ratio influences your credit score, with a lower ratio leading to a better score. So, keep it low for an improved credit standing.

What is good credit card utilization?

A good credit card utilization is defined by a credit utilization rate of 30% or lower. Logically, if you have low credit card use, you won’t be burdened by a high credit card bill each month.

Let’s say you have a credit limit of ₱50,000. Good credit card utilization means you shouldn’t use more than ₱15,000 of that limit at any given time. This ensures that you’re not relying too heavily on credit to make ends meet, and it helps keep your credit score healthy.

How does credit card utilization impact credit standing?

Credit cards may be a convenient way to pay for your expenses. But did you know that they also affect your credit standing? Yes, your credit card utilization impacts how lenders and banks view your creditworthiness.

Here are some key facts on how credit card utilization can impact your credit standing:

  • Credit utilization history: Your credit card usage pattern is significant in determining your creditworthiness. Maxing out your credit card or having a high credit utilization ratio can raise concerns for lenders and banks. Conversely, maintaining a low credit utilization ratio and timely bill payments can establish a positive credit history, boosting your credit score and future opportunities.
  • Credit score impact: Your credit score is affected by various factors, and credit card utilization is one of them. A high credit utilization ratio can lower your credit score, whereas a low credit utilization ratio can help increase your credit score.

Maintaining a low credit utilization ratio and timely bill payments positively impact your credit standing. Smart credit card usage builds a strong credit history and improves your score.

What happens if I max out my credit card?

Using up your full credit limit may seem like a quick solution for emergencies or fun shopping, but it can cause significant long-term financial issues.

Here are the consequences of maxing out your credit card:

  • Your credit score may suffer: Maxing out your credit card can harm your credit score. Factors like payment history, credit utilization, and credit history length influence it.
  • You may incur additional fees and charges: Card issuers may impose overlimit fees if you surpass your credit limit. This can exacerbate debt repayment if you overlook them every due date.
  • You may face difficulty obtaining credit in the future: Maxing out a credit card may hinder approval for other credit products like loans, mortgages, and additional credit cards.

Effective budgeting is crucial to avoid such situations. Before swiping your credit card, ensure you can pay your monthly dues on time and in full. Track your expenses and stay within your credit limit.

How to reduce credit card utilization ratio?

Here are some tips on how to lower your credit card utilization ratio:

1. Pay your balances in full

Paying off your credit card balances in full monthly is the easiest way to reduce your utilization ratio and improve your credit score over time. No balance, better score.

2. Ask for a credit limit increase

Boost your credit score by reducing your credit card utilization ratio. One effective way is to request a credit limit increase. When your credit limit is raised, your utilization rate automatically decreases.

3. Pay more than the minimum

Paying only the minimum won’t significantly reduce your credit card balance. Aim higher, or better yet, the total amount due, to make a real dent and pay off faster.

Final thoughts

While credit card utilization is vital for your credit score, it’s not the sole factor. Developing a spending strategy aligned with your financial goals can help you establish long-term success.

Keep track of your spending as well, as using a budget will help keep your spending under control and within limits.

Remember, the goal is to improve and maintain a good credit score over time. As such, it’s important to ask yourself: How much do you spend on your credit cards every month? Are you working towards building a reasonable credit card utilization rate?

Being mindful of how much you use your card and what kind of purchases you make can significantly impact your relationship with money.

With these considerations in mind, you can ensure that you’ll have healthy financial habits.