Build Credit: Debunking the Lower Credit Limits Myth

Similar to the belief that no credit equals good credit, having lower limits can actually be extremely harmful to your credit score. To understand how this works you need to understand utilization rates, or what we call the 30% rule. Credit bureaus look to see that you are maintaining less than 30% of your credit limit at all times. If you go over the 30% marker, you are considered to be living above your means and this will be reflected in your credit score.
The problem with lower limit credit cards is that it is far too easy to go over the 30% rule. If you only have a $250 credit limit, you can never have a balance of over $75 without creating a negative reaction to your credit score. In addition, many credit card companies report your credit limit lower erroneously. Meaning you may be right under $75 each month, but your credit limit is being reported at $200 instead, putting you over the 30% limit.
In some cases, when you’re rebuilding your credit you may have to work with these lower balances. This will take careful planning to avoid any issues with errors. However, if you have higher balances, you do not want to ask for your rates to be lowered. You can never have “too much available credit.”
The best way to make sure you don’t go over the 30% rule is to use auto payments. You’ll want to schedule a monthly payment for a bill such as a gym membership or other monthly payment you need to make to be taken directly from your credit card. Then, from your bank account, schedule another auto payment to pay the credit card for the same amount.
This may sound like taking a few extra steps, but it keeps your accounts active and you can control exactly what spending is happening on your cards so you don’t go over the 30% limit.
To learn all all the facts on your credit score, get the book that will walk you through the 7 steps to a 720 credit score.