November 7th, 2011

100 Words or Less: 3 Top Credit Score Questions

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credit questions

Have you checked out our Credit Advice Center lately? We get new questions everyday from people just like you wondering what makes credit scores tick. We took three of the most common questions and we’re giving you a quick and succinct answer, in 100 words or less.

How do I improve my credit health?

One of the best ways to improve and maintain your credit health is to keep your credit card utilization under 30% of your available balances. Calculate your credit utilization rate by adding up all of your credit card balances and dividing that number by your credit limits. The higher this rate, the less creditworthy you’ll be in the eyes of lenders. Read more about breaking out of your credit score rut.

Why did my score go down?

There are several reasons why credit scores drop, from closing an old credit card account to making a late payment to having an account in collections. Perhaps the most common is closing old credit card accounts. You may be tempted to close an old credit card account because you no longer plan on using it, but you’ll shorten your credit history and decrease your available credit. Read more about reasons why credit scores drop.

How often does my credit score change?

It can change at any point. For instance, if you apply for an auto loan, the hard inquiry from the credit application should instantly be reflected on your credit report and your credit score will decrease by a few points. As for other activities, creditors typically report new balances, payment activity, credit limit changes and late payment information every 30 days, which means it’s a good idea to update your free credit score on Credit Karma at least once a month.

Have more questions? Head over to our Credit Advice Center or search through our articles for more in-depth explanations.

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. I commented in the past on the ridiculousness of a credit score being devalued because a CC was torn up causing a ‘balance to credit ratio’ increase .
    Out of curiosity (since I intend to let a CC die a normal death, = they asked me to sign an agreement regarding their new credit policies which I refused, thus allowing my CC to expire this year.)
    I put this information in your Credit Karma credit simulator and
    I then added paying off my remaining CC balance and again
    Is this a glitch or the result of “I get just what I paid for “?

    jim cunningham at 6:57 am on November 11, 2011
  2. the problem is there are 3 different bueros and it can vary by a hundred points. and usually prople only run transunion which gives the lowest and usually the wrong info on a credit report to begin with

    jackie at 6:36 am on February 17, 2012
  3. I have monitored with Credit karma for a couple of years and suddenly today my credit score has dropped 50 points and not just the recent month but retroactively. I know what it was but now the whole chart has changed as far back as it shows…..that does not help me to know what has happened recently that changed. The new look of the site has messed thing up. I hope they go back and find the error, because credit scores are not retroactive! I loved Credit Karma… not so much. I can’t trust the information any more.

    kathy at 8:41 pm on February 12, 2015
  4. Mike

    Thanks for your comment, Kathy. Your past scores have changed on your chart because the whole chart has been updated to reflect the VantageScore 3.0 model. You can still see your old New Account scores, and compare that to the progress of your VantageScore 3.0 scores, by checking out your credit score archive. Find that here:

    Hope that helps!

    Mike at 9:44 am on February 13, 2015

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