• I’ve had the same experience. I think the key is that you need to monitor your score to make sure that there isn’t anything inaccurate that is bringing your score down, but you also need to avoid stressing out about short term dips. It’s a tough thing to get used to.

    • So important to make sure the information is accurate and then ignore the vagaries of monthly changes.

  • Emily Nance Jividen

    Mine stays within a few point range. The only thing I don’t get is how my husband’s is consistently higher, since most of our accounts are joint. I guess he has an older account? Since we’re both over 800, it doesn’t really matter too much now. It took a lot of years to get it there, though.

  • Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions

    We just took advantage of 0% offers too and our scores have dropped about 40 points too. No big deal to us and loving the savings too! (We used them to pay off a mortgage on a rental property at 5.89%!)

    • I’m super glad I took advantage of the 0% offer. The savings and the buffer are great. Credit can be “repaired” from the bottom edge of excellent to somewhere a bit more comfortable.

  • Credit scores can make a huge difference. We churn credit cards for graduate degrees (oh joy!). So we do take the occasional hit. That wasn’t always the case for my husband, though. He had awful credit!

    • Luckily I am not in the market for a loan for at least twelve months, but most likely longer. I have so much time to get back up. Maybe I’ll even cross 800 before I get a mortgage.

  • Dollar Engineer

    I think many times the initial ding you see is just from opening a new card or account. You should see a recovery in your score within the next few months. Over the long run your score should continue to increase and hold at an excellent level as long as you have good credit habits (pay off all bills in full and on time). I would say as you begin to enter the market for a house hold off on opening new accounts and have the money for a down payment all in one account. I’ve read that banks like to see that.

    • The ding this time was not for a new account. It was for transferring the balance from one card to the other. It happened the week the transfer went through. An important thing for people to be aware of, because it should impact their planning.

      It is definitely important to not open accounts in the 6-9 months leading up to talking to a lender to get pre-approval for a mortgage at the onset of true house-hunting.

      • Dollar Engineer

        Oh I see. That is strange.
        But yea totally agree on not opening accounts when getting close to mortgage time. Sounds like you’ll be ready though when the time comes.

  • I’m sorry to hear about the setback. I didn’t think a balance transfer from one card to another would trigger a credit score drop. The balance is the same, it’s just on a different card. Maybe because you’re closer to your credit limit on that one card? Anyway, as soon as you start chopping away at that balance and making faster progress than before, I’m sure your score will rebound and move even higher than it was before. Hang in there!

    • Thankfully I am still in the excellent range and I will only improve with all the efforts I will make in the next 12 months.

  • Mr. Groovy

    Hey, ZJ. Great primer on the ins and outs of credit scores. I wish people didn’t have to monitor their credit scores like they have to monitor their cholesterol or blood sugar, but in our hyper-financialized world they do. My company checks the FICO score of every prospective employee. If you’re below a certain threshold, you’re not being hired. My car insurance company also monitors my FICO score. If my FICO score goes down dramatically, my premiums go up. So as you pointed out, it’s important to know what’s going to ding your score.

    • A lot of companies check your FICO score. Supposedly to protect themselves from your stealing out of desperation. I know one friend who was denied a government job because of their credit.

      I’ve never had my credit score impact me, but it has always been good.

  • Financial Slacker

    Credit scores have always baffled me. Probably because I’m an analyst by nature and the idea that your risk profile can be summed up by a single number just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Take your balance transfer as an example. It’s hard for me to believe that transferring a balance from a higher rate card to a lower rate card makes you less likely to repay a loan. Quite frankly, I’m more worried about someone who doesn’t take advantage of those situations.

    But that’s the world we live in. So it’s best to manage and monitor that number.

    • It is very strange to think that protecting yourself from interest with a balance transfer would show one as less credit-worthy.

  • I have no idea what our credit scores are, we don’t have any debt (never have) and don’t have many bills either so we wouldn’t have much of a score. It seems odd that people with no debt would score less well than people with debt. Anyway. it sounds like the points drop was worth it for what you gained.

    Tristan

    • Absolutely worth it, but, yes, they can be rather arbitrary.

  • Tia @ financiallyfitandfab

    Congrats on raising your credit score lately! I noticed a drop in my credit score lately as well – but it was due to my mortgage loan being sold to a new provider. Similar to you, I am not in the market for a new car or anything so I am not worried about the 30-something drop that I received.

    • It is frustrating that someone else selling your mortgage can impact you in this way. I’m glad you are not in the market for credit right now, at least.