Monday, October 16, 2006

Effect of Balance Transfer on my FICO score

About 6 months ago, I completed a zero percent balance transfer from my MBNA credit card (now it is owned by Bank of America. I previously posted my experience with this. The credit limit on this particular card is unusually high compared to my other credit card balances. I did a zero percent balance transfer of $32000 with a credit limit of $34000 on my card. So essentially, I maxed out 94% of my credit limit on this card.... undoubtedly dinging my FICO score. Apparently, the debt:credit ratio accounts for 30% of your overall FICO score. How did this affect my score numerically?

My pre-balance transfer FICO score was 780-790.

My post balance transfer FICO score was 687, sending me to just about average for the average amercan consumer. A sub 700 score does not provide you the opportunities for the best rates for mortgages, auto loans, APRs.

I was able to check my Fico score by joining "score watch" from Equifax for a 30-day free trial.

An interesting experiment...however, I am going to be in the market for a new car soon and will need to definitely boost my score to have access to better loan rates. I just don't know what the lag time is between paying off my credit balance and the FICO score changing back to my pre-balance transfer level.
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