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#Myth4: Chicago Tribune and Consumer Federation of America

What's so special about a 25 percent so-called credit utilization ratio? Or: I know you are, but what am I?

| By Greg Fisher

Previous correspondence:

From: Karp, Gregory P.
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: Myth in myths article

Thank you for further proving my point. Those sites do not specify an exact utilization percentage.

Who is your boss?

Fact-check; veracity test

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 2:29 PM
To: Gregory Karp, Tribune Newspapers (2)
Subject: RE: Myth(s) in myths article, review before publication, seven of nine

I have no boss.

Fair Isaac spokesmen said, "The lower that utilization number is, the better it is for your score," and "The FICO brain trust says there is no specific number that qualifies as a 'good' ratio, just that lower is always better."

Therefore, something less than 10 percent is ideal.

What point am I proving further?

You also write: "If you're curious to see how you stack up against other people, access a free score online from such sites as, and Be aware that your credit is tied to your Social Security number, so you'll have to provide that number to get reports and scores from these websites."

However, Quizzle states, "Quizzle is the only place to give you a totally free credit report and score - no tricks, no catches, no credit card or social security number needed."

Who reviewed your article before it was published and provided to others to republish?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342

Chapter 2 - Social media first (then email, etc.)

Inclusion of contemporaries

The Credit Score Quiz (at is a collaborative project of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Vantagescore.

Vantagescore (keeper of the secret about its formula) is talking out of both sides of its mouth.

On its page titled, "How to improve your score," Vantagescore nags: "Keep your outstanding balances low. A good rule of thumb? Keep balances below 30 percent of the credit limit on any account."

But, the CFA/Vantagescore quiz states 25 percent, not 30: "Keep credit card balances under 25% of the credit limit" (Question #9).

See Myth 4. It even has a hashtag (#Myth4).

And, to put an even finer point on this, consider the word "Keep" (indeed, the capitalized first word, no less). Let's ask all the big shots about that. It'll be fun! #1506a

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