Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card links and products that appear on this website are from companies which AskSebby may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do! View our Advertising Policy .The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

We've talked about how to increase your credit score in the short-term, and one of those methods is by keeping credit card utilization low.

What is credit card utilization?

Credit utilization is the ratio of your credit card limits to your balances. It's a percentage that reflects how much credit limit you use.

For example, if your credit limit is $1,000 and your balance is $100, then your credit utilization for that card is 10%.

Major credit issuers that report utilization using the statement date:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Discover
  • Wells Fargo

Depending on the credit issuer, most banks report credit utilization to the credit bureaus when the card statement closes. The only exception is U.S. Bank, who reports utilization on the first of each month.

If you want to keep it simple, you can call or secure message each credit issuer you have to adjust your statement date.

For example, if you want all of your credit card statements to close on the last day of the month, you can request it by calling the number on the back of your card.

Credit card utilization

Credit card utilization is one of the biggest factors impacting your credit score that you can control. By keeping utilization low, you can increase your score quickly.

How to keep card utilization low:

  1. Know when your card statement closing date is
  2. Pre-pay 99% of the balance before the statement closing date
  3. Wait for the statement to close, so it reports a 1% utilization
  4. Pay off the remaining balance

For most people, staying below 10% utilization is ideal.

0% vs. 1% Credit card utilization

I've seen arguments for keeping card utilization at 0% and 1%, and it depends on your situation.

If you have a thick credit profile with several years of credit history and more than five cards, then it's fine to keep utilization at 0%.

On the other hand, if you're new to credit or you have a thin credit profile, then stick to 1%. Some credit issuers won't report payment history if your statement balance is $0.

If you're someone who has missed a card payment in the past, then I recommend sticking with 1% so that credit issuers will report on-time payments.

Payment history

Payment history is calculated by on-time payments divided by total payments.

If you're new to credit and you miss a payment, then this will negatively impact your credit score.

  • 1 on-time payment / 2 total payments = 50%
  • 999 on-time payments / 1,000 total payments = 99.9%

Be sure to stick to the 1% credit utilization strategy if you've missed a payment in the past.

To avoid missing payments in the future, you can always setup auto-pay (if it makes sense for you).

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Ask Sebby’s Picks
Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure:
Some of the card links and other products that appear on this website are from companies which AskSebby will earn an affiliate commission or referral bonus. AskSebby is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.

Editorial Note:
Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.