Here’s What Happens When You Go Over Your Credit Limit

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Credit cards have their limits, but it is often possible to exceed them. And is going over your credit limit bad? When you go over your credit card limit, two important things can happen: You pay over-limit fees and you hurt your credit score.

Due to restrictions imposed by the Credit Card Accountability, Disclosure and Liability Act, some issuers have stopped letting cardholders spend beyond their credit limits. Others still have a credit card equivalent to overdraft coverage. This option, however, comes at a price. If you exceed your limit, you will be charged an over limit fee of up to $ 25 for the first instance and up to $ 35 for the second, depending on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Your credit score can also end up taking a hit.

Going up to your credit limit is like being overused

Credit utilization, or credit utilization rate, is the amount of debt you have against the credit you have been granted. The use of credit, also known as the use of debt, is a major component of most credit scoring models. To maximize your score, it’s generally recommended that you keep the amount of debt you owe – collectively and on individual credit cards – below 30% and ideally no more than 10% of your total available credit lines.

Consider a credit card with a credit limit of $ 2,500 that is maximum with a balance of $ 2,500. It’s 100% credit usage. To reach the sweet spot of 10%, you must have a balance of up to $ 250 on this card. No more than $ 750 is the maximum upper limit of 30%.

Maximizing your credit cards lowers your credit score. The amount of impact on your score will vary depending on where your score is when you maximized the account. For example, a person with a good score of 780 would suffer a 25-45 point drop for using up their entire available credit limit, according to a test case conducted by the popular credit scoring model Fico. FICO,
-0.49%

Raising your credit limit is bad news

Going beyond your limits makes things worse.

“The FICO score can be the difference between someone whose credit limit is 100% used on their revolving credit obligations and someone who has exceeded their credit limit more than 100% used,” said Ethan Dornhelm, senior scientist at FICO. in an email. “Our research found that consumers with renewable usage rates greater than 100% have a higher risk of default than consumers with usage less than or equal to 100%. “

VantageScore, another popular credit scoring model, can also penalize consumers for exceeding their limits, although, according to a spokesperson, it caps usage at 110% – meaning if your usage is actually at 120%, it would only be considered 110%. .

That 110% on your credit card with a limit of $ 2,500 would equal a balance of $ 2,750.

“Generally speaking, if someone goes over their limit, it negatively impacts a score,” Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian EXPGY,
+ 0.06%,
said in an email. “The fact that you went over your limit, no matter how much you went over it, is considered negative. “

Keep your credit online

Of course, going over your credit limit only affects your credit score if the issuer reports the misstep to the three major credit bureaus. Some can’t, and in other cases, you can keep it out of your reports by paying off the excess balance before your statement bill date. You can check with your card company to find out exactly how and when to report a balance in excess of the limit to the credit bureaus.

Also see: Are you overestimating the value of your travel rewards?

Regardless of how the credit card companies handle the situation, it’s a good idea to avoid charging over your credit limit. And an even better idea is to avoid charging over 30% of your limit.

If you need to get the most out of your credit card, pay off the excess quickly. In addition to the initial over-limit fee, you may be subject to an APR penalty if you fail to to pay all additional charges by the end of the month.

If you have high credit card debt, there are other ways to improve your credit score than paying off your balance. You can also request a higher credit limit from the card issuer. Or, you can get a second credit card to increase your credit limit. A higher limit, even on two credit cards, reduces your credit card usage.

To see how your credit card balances affect your credit scores, Check your credit score regularly. Your credit report card includes a view of your credit usage. And your score and report card are updated every two weeks.

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