What is Credit Utilization?

Your credit utilization rate, sometimes called your credit utilization ratio, is the amount of revolving credit you’re currently using divided by the total amount of revolving credit you have available. In other words, it’s how much you currently owe divided by your credit limit. It is generally expressed as a percent. For example, if you have a total of $10,000 in credit available on two credit cards, and a balance of $5,000 on one, your credit utilization rate is 50% — you’re using half of the total credit you have available. You can calculate an overall credit utilization rate as well as a rate for each of your credit accounts (called your per-card ratio).

Credit scoring models often consider your credit utilization rate when calculating a credit score for you. They can impact up to 30% of a credit score (which makes them among the more influential factors), depending on the scoring model being used.

A low credit utilization rate shows you’re using less of your available credit. Credit scoring models generally interpret this as an indication you’re doing a good job managing credit by not overspending, and keeping your spending in check can help you reach higher credit scores. Having higher credit scores can make it easier to secure additional credit when you need it.

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