Credit score drops 12 points after increase in credit card balance

I don’t usually keep a close eye on this, but Credit Karma sent a message that my score dropped. It says,

CAPITAL ONE account balance increased
Between Sep 9, 2023 and Oct 10, 2023, your CAPITAL ONE credit card balance increased by $4,463 from $1,620 to $6,083.

It’s because I put a few property tax bills on the card at the end of September. I always pay off the card by the due date anyway, so will the score go back up 12 points after I pay the bill Nov. 4th?

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I used to believe only the “balance” from the monthly statement was reported to the credit bureaus. Are credit card companies reporting balances in the middle of a monthly cycle?

There’s a little more fluidity to it, but in general, yes. It may be 10 points, or it may be 15 points, but there should be an opposite effect from removing the balance, as there was when adding the balance.

It’s probably as much due to your credit utilization percentage as it is the balance itself.


Ok, interesting stuff.

That’s not what is happening here. OP wrote that he pays off the card by the due date, he didn’t say that he pre-pays before the statement date.

I regularly have mid-cycle balances on multiple cards from different issuers and I have not noticed anything of the sort. Only the statement balances are reported. I think one exception may be Amex – they used to report beginning of the month balance, not statement balance. I don’t use my amex cards enough to be sure.


I thought Amex has/use to have a lag in reporting, so the reported balance is the statement balance but was a month behind? I forget exactly what the anomaly was.

Elan (I think still?) reports balances on the first of the month, regardless of the statement cycle. They issue the Fidelity 2% card, which I know does not report the statement balance.

Other issuers have has instances where a mid-cycle balance is reported, but it’s generally attributed to some other account activity that triggers an update, and the balance updating is coincidental. Potentially as simple as a new large balance triggering an account review that includes a credit report pull, and the balance is updated in conjunction with that pull.

Yes, your score will go up if the balance reported is reduced.

Pay off the card before the statement date so it’s zero and the score will go much higher. Most cards report the balance on the statement date. I’ve been doing this for years. My cards usually show zero or small balances, even when using the cards for thousands per month.


Why would you pay it off BEFORE it’s due when that money could be earning over 5% in the bank?

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It will boost your credit score and enable you to get better cards, higher credit limits and increases, better rates on cards, loans, auto insurance, home, renters, and health insurance. Some of the benefits besides these I have received include unrequested CLI’s, rate reductions and repeat 0% balance transfers on the same card.


Credit score already over 800 so no benefit there. Rarely have I reached 1/4 the $22,000 limit of my main credit card so no benefit with a higher limit. Don’t care about the rates on credit cards since I pay them off each month so no benefit there. I don’t need or expect to get a loan so no benefit there. On an Obamacare health insurance plan with the max subsidy so no benefit there either.

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Ok. It sounds like it’s not for you.

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*Except in states which prohibit using one’s credit to determine insurance rates.

I have 8 cards I use regularly. Having one doesnt matter much, but having 8 cycle and report 30-50% balances does pose a meaningful risk of adverse action. And without a pre-statement payment, most would be maxed out and needing a payment long before the due date anyways. So there’s very little to gain from waiting, and pre-paying them all means that when I do forget one it doesnt matter.

Remember, while it can also help people with weak credit profiles, the strategy came about mostly for credit gamers, not basic day-to-day users. I want to avoid every possible blip on card issuer’s radar, no matter how insignificant it may be in the grand scheme of things. A lot of opportunity can go away with just one credit limit decrease or closed account.


Insurance companies in California don’t use credit-based scores or your credit history for underwriting or rating auto policies, or setting rates for homeowners insurance. As a result, your credit won’t impact your ability to get or renew a policy, or how much you pay in premiums.


Hawaii bans the use of credit ratings when setting standards, including underwriting standards and rating plans, which determine your premiums.


In Maryland, homeowners insurance companies can’t refuse you coverage, cancel a policy, refuse to renew your policy or base your insurance rates on your credit history—or lack thereof.


Massachusetts law forbids auto insurance companies from using credit information or credit-based insurance scores when setting rates, underwriting a new policy or renewing an auto policy


Insurance companies in Michigan can’t use your credit or a credit-based insurance score as part of their decision-making process

“Bans” and “forbids” are pretty clear prohibitions…


…except in states where it is prohibited. What you declared is that they are not prohibited from using it, then cited a link that clearly says that in some places they are prohibited.

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Yeah I could be wrong. Found an old (2015) post about this:

Looks like you’re right about Elan. USBank is another weird one.


I received a requested credit limit increase from Citibank with no hard pull. I’m not sure if this is standard policy now. It may have something to do with the higher credit score from low balances on credit reports. I’ve kept a balance on the Citibank card for a year because 0% APR for 15 months. I invested the money and have been lowering the Citibank balance over time. This card has 5% rewards for $500 groceries per month.


Automatic CLI is never a hard pull.


It was not automatic. I requested it. That’s why I posted.