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FICO Score Weirdness
Old 05-29-2017, 09:55 AM   #1
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FICO Score Weirdness

Out of curiosity, I checked my FICO scores from Amex and Citibank, where I have credit cards. I don't have much debt, but the Amex balance can be high since we average $25K per month on it-all paid every month. No car loans, no student loans, etc.

Amex: 839: "Your FICO® Score considers the number of accounts where you are paying your bills as agreed. In your case this number is too low because you have very few accounts or because you've missed payments recently on some of your accounts." (I haven't missed any payments, ever.)

Citibank: 849: "FICO® Scores consider the total number of accounts a consumer holds with balances, including credit card balance amounts that appear from the most recent account statements—even if that balance was paid off. Your score was impacted by having too many accounts with balances."

Too many accounts or too few? The only other factor both mentioned was the low average age of the accounts.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:02 AM   #2
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This is standard jargon used. I get it too even though I pay my accounts as the amounts appear in the apps on my iPhone. Don't sweat it.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:23 AM   #3
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You have too few accounts.

You have too many accounts with balances.

Notice the "with balances" difference between the first two sentences of this post.

These are two different factors that you are conflating.

If you want to improve your scores, you could get more accounts and carry balances on fewer of them.

That being said, your credit scores are quite high so I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:33 AM   #4
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I don't know how many accounts you have, but I doubt it is "too many". I have a half dozen credit cards (all of them with balances, but paid off each month) and 10 mortgages, and my score seems to bounce between 810 and 840 for no readily apparent reason. I don't worry about it, I just happen to know the number because Discover Card prints it on the statement each month.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:38 AM   #5
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When I've checked, we're "only" in the 820 range because we use too much of our available credit - even though we pay off balances in full each month. Not too worried about it, but I could tweak it if it were important to me. I'm guessing that slowly upping my limits (or prepaying my balance) would get me to a higher number. Just no value in doing either that I can see. My gut tells me that at this score, big changes in the factors they value would make only small changes in the score. Tying to figure out just how to maximize score is probably (forgive the term) a "fools errand." I won't play the "fool" to "win" their game. YMMV
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:49 PM   #6
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I'd been above 800 for years, as reported on my Discover statement. Then one of my credit cards somehow got switched to email only (no paper statement) and I was a few days late with a payment. It dropped to the 730 - 750 range for 6 months, then 750 - 790 for 9 months, then to higher than it has ever been 845 to 849 for two months. Then, inexplicably, it's back to between 790 and 800 for the last nine months.

I don't really care since it's high enough to get me a good rate on my auto and home insurance, but it's weird that if bounces around like it does. I never carry a balance on my cards, but I use the heck out of them.
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
I'd been above 800 for years, as reported on my Discover statement. Then one of my credit cards somehow got switched to email only (no paper statement) and I was a few days late with a payment. It dropped to the 730 - 750 range for 6 months, then 750 - 790 for 9 months, then to higher than it has ever been 845 to 849 for two months. Then, inexplicably, it's back to between 790 and 800 for the last nine months.

I don't really care since it's high enough to get me a good rate on my auto and home insurance, but it's weird that if bounces around like it does. I never carry a balance on my cards, but I use the heck out of them.
So, for credit reporting purposes, you actually DO carry a balance (whatever is not actually paid at the time they report your data is shown as balance). This is one of the reasons why the number bounces. If say, you bought a new car and used your credit card to pay for it, then the company reports the balance, then you pay the full amount before the due date - the credit report will show that balance unless your timing of charge/report/payment happens to be perfect.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:15 PM   #8
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FICO and other credit scores are just a way for the credit bureaus to generate more income from the trove of data they've accumulated, so I expect weirdness. I have a report that says my credit history of 30 yrs is too short and holding my score down. IMHO it's a scam.
Especially inaccurate for ER types.
I do consider reporting errors to be significant but as long as the score is high enough I don't worry about the number.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
Out of curiosity, I checked my FICO scores from Amex and Citibank, where I have credit cards. I don't have much debt, but the Amex balance can be high since we average $25K per month on it-all paid every month. No car loans, no student loans, etc.
I'm having a hard time getting past that figure. You're in a different world than me. We average $2500/month on the primary card... which includes everything (groceries, health insurance for self and kids, all autopay bills, etc.) But if you've got the nest egg to put $300k/year on credit cards... good on ya.

FWIW - I've got a similar credit score - and have seen the similar notes about number of accounts.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:41 PM   #10
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It's all a bunch of nonsense. They find reason to deny you.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:45 PM   #11
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FICO and other credit scores are just a way for the credit bureaus to generate more income from the trove of data they've accumulated. IMHO it's a scam.
No need to be humble, when you're absolutely right.
It's a scam & nothing more.

Like the time in 2007 ? when I got a letter from my Insurance agent, stating that because my FICO score wasn't perfect, they couldn't give me the best rate.

I went right down to the office & almost tore his head off.
I told him straight up, listen up *******, I've had a home, at least one car, & a motorcycle insured for over 30 years without a claim, never paid late, & you're going to use some BS like this!

I'm not really a confrontational type, but this pissed me off so bad, I just totally went off on the guy.
Because many others responded the same way, they dropped that asinine practice shortly thereafter.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:58 AM   #12
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I maintain a good credit score for insurance purposes. Recently it went to 833.
Sometimes I wonder about the factors and process used to develop the score.
I like it when they tell me I could improve my score with a mortgage. The fact that I had mortgages for over 30 years and never missed a payment doesn't do much. You don't get any points for "not" having a mortgage. They indicate there is no history of mortgages; however, there is really a big history of our mortgages but they aren't going to look it up.

Every once in a while I call me credit card companies and request a credit increase just to improve my credit score. I can play their game too.
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:30 AM   #13
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I think there is way too much emphasis in FICO scores. Being debt free is much more important in my view. Getting a mortgage to improve your score, you gotta be kiddding right?

I checked my score off my US Amex card once. Was shocked it wasn't perfect. Tried to discuss this with my house insurance company but they were vague and tried to suggest it doesn't matter. So in the end who cares?
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:51 AM   #14
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well credit scores 750+ are just a game, those under that make a huge difference in people's lives. The credit companies tricked everyone including employers that it matters. So you end up denying qualified people jobs because of low credit scores. If you got low credit every time you move you need to lay out hundreds for deposits on everything from rent to utilities. When the gas company wants $100 deposit they keep for a year or last months rent deposit that hurts peoples ability to move for better opportunities. Most would be shocked at how much credit score is used to upcharge people who can often least afford it.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:08 AM   #15
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I once asked one of my lenders, and they said that they have to list 3 things that could be affecting your score. With a score that high, nothing is really affecting it, so they default to the standard 3 most used reasons. It doesn't mean anything at that high a score.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:09 AM   #16
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With no debt and enough cash to live on, I hope to not have any reason to ever borrow any money again. Therefore, my FICO score is of diminished importance to me.

What always gets me is that my wife always had ultra high FICO scores despite not having very little income--with me the main breadwinner.

But FICO is important if you ever need to change insurance companies, etc.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:29 AM   #17
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well credit scores 750+ are just a game, those under that make a huge difference in people's lives. The credit companies tricked everyone including employers that it matters. So you end up denying qualified people jobs because of low credit scores. If you got low credit every time you move you need to lay out hundreds for deposits on everything from rent to utilities. When the gas company wants $100 deposit they keep for a year or last months rent deposit that hurts peoples ability to move for better opportunities. Most would be shocked at how much credit score is used to upcharge people who can often least afford it.
Great points Karen.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:35 AM   #18
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It's all a bunch of nonsense. They find reason to deny you.
I agree that it's all a bunch of nonsense, but I believe it's most often used as an excuse to charge a higher rate, rather than deny anyone.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:36 AM   #19
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There are something like 31 different FICO® scores. My credit cards report a FICO and my mortgage lender used a different FICO. I would not be surprised if my auto finance used a different one from those 2.

But places the give you your score have to list the "worst" reasons why your score is what it is. For folks with great scores, the reasons are always petty. And that's the way it should be.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:29 PM   #20
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the reporters of credit are consuming vastly different amounts of data which is then transformed to produce "weird" numbers with no representation of what is actually happening IMHO.

At the end of the day the guy that makes the decision on what numbers get which credit bands has to slice and dice this bad data regardless.
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