Credit card utilization calculator
Credit cards provide a lot of shopping convenience. They also offer great opportunities to improve or build a credit score when used responsibly.
One of the top factors that credit scoring models consider when calculating your creditworthiness is your credit utilization rate. Depending on the scoring model used, your credit utilization ratio should account for less than 30% of your credit score.
Since it's an important factor in determining your credit score, you need to understand how your credit card utilization works, and how a credit card utilization calculator can help you determine your utilization rate in seconds.
What is Credit Utilization?
Credit card utilization is the proportion of balances to credit limits. In other words, it’s the ratio of your credit card balances to your total available credit.
If you've got a high balance or are just about to max out your credit limit, your credit utilization will be high. Credit models understand that as a sign of overspending, which means you are not managing your credit well and are more likely to fail on your credit obligations. Thus, your credit score dips.
On the other hand, a lower credit utilization ratio is interpreted as responsible use of credit, which means you are keeping your spending habits in check. Thus, you get a higher score because you're less likely to lag or default on your credit obligations.
How to Calculate Credit Utilization?
Calculating your credit utilization is a straightforward process. Simply divide your credit card balance with your credit limit, and multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.
You can find utilization for a single card, commonly referred to as per card rate, or calculate an overall credit utilization rate for all of your credit accounts if you have more than one credit card.
For example, assume you’ve got a balance of $3000 and a credit card limit of $9000. Here’s the formula to calculate your credit utilization (per card ratio):
Step 1: Take the balance and divide it by your limit
Step 2: Multiply the result by 100% to express it as a percentage
0.3 x 100=33%
If you have several cards, the procedure is the same. However, you'll have to find the totals first before finding your credit card utilization rate. Here’s an example:
Card A credit balance is $400 and credit limit of $800
Card B credit balance is $500 and credit limit of $2000
Card C credit balance is $500 and credit limit of $1000
Step 1: Check and sum up the credit card balances
Step 2: Get the total credit card limits
Step 3: Divide the total credit balances by the total credit limit
Step 4: Multiply the figure by 100% to find your credit card utilization rate
Using a Credit Card Utilization Calculator
Now that you understand how your credit utilization is calculated, should you dive and start crunching these numbers manually?
Not really. You can quickly and easily compute your credit utilization using a credit card utilization calculator, regardless of the number of credit cards you have.
All you need to do is input the credit card balance and credit limit for each of your cards and hit the calculate button to determine your credit utilization rate.
What Is a 30 Percent Rule?
The 30% rule requires that you keep your credit utilization at, or below 30%. That’s because the major scoring models interpret a credit utilization of 30% and below as good, which means you’ll get a higher score if your utilization rate falls within that range. Your score will begin to take a hit if your credit utilization goes beyond 30%.
Thus, the rule of the thumb is that you keep your credit score at or below 30% to increase your credit score and get more favorable credit terms. That’s why it is called the 30% rule.
How Much Should You Spend on a Credit Card?
Experts recommend a credit utilization of 1% as perfect, and less than 10% as healthy. However, it may be challenging to achieve such a low ratio. Since your credit utilization is critical in determining your credit score, consider sticking to the 30% rule.
That means you only spend up to 30% of your available credit at any given time. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for a poor credit rating.
It then follows that how much you spend on a credit card comes down to your credit limit.
If you max out your credit limit or charge a higher balance on your cards, your credit score will dip, making it hard to qualify for new credit at the best terms.
You may also sink into credit card debt and find it hard to meet your monthly payments. This may attract unwanted fees and penalties and strain your finances in the long run.
Is credit utilization based on all cards or calculated per each card?
Credit scoring models base your credit utilization on all cards. However, you can compute credit utilization for each of your credit accounts, which is known as per card ratio.
How much of a credit limit to use?
Best credit utilization practices require that you use only up to 30% of your available credit to avoid impacting your credit score negatively.
Thus, you should avoid carrying higher balances on your credit cards and by all means, avoid maxing out your credit cards. The lower your credit utilization, the better for you.
What is a good credit utilization ratio?
A good credit utilization ratio is at or below 30%. The lower the figure, the better. If you exceed the 30% rule, your credit score may start to dip.