Recently I was checking out my free credit score on CreditKarma.com. It has been a bit lower than I had expected lately and I wasn’t quite sure why – until I noticed that my reported available revolving credit total was much lower than it should have been.
I currently have two active credit cards – a Discover card with a credit limit of $3000 and a Chase Freedom Visa Signature card with a limit of $7500. Both of these limits are well beyond what I really would ever need – but that extra spending room is nice in case of emergency.
CreditKarma as well as Experian report my available credit limit as $3000, not the total of $10500. Because of this, my debt-to-available credit ratio is much higher than it should be, thus causing my credit score to go down significantly. Credit scoring algorithms place a very, very large weighting on this ratio.
Little did I know that this credit access line “feature” was doing more harm than good. I have a suspicious feeling that Chase and Visa are doing this purposefully. It is in their interest for consumers to have a worse credit score. A worse score means they can charge higher interest rates and be less likely to be accepted for other lines of credit.
Honestly, this calls for a class action lawsuit. I can only imagine how much money this has cost the consumer by anybody who was switched to a Visa Signature card with a credit access line and subsequently applied for another line of credit. I certainly hope it did not affect my home refinance rates. Hopefully this sort of thing will be better regulated in any upcoming bank regulation laws.
If you have a similar issue – call your credit card company and ask that you get your credit limit back so that it is reported properly to the credit bureaus. Hopefully after a few months you will see your credit score shoot back up to where it was meant to be.