Credit Utilisation Rate

What is a Credit Utilisation Rate (or Ratio)?

Credit Utilisation (also referred to as your Credit Utilisation Rate or Ratio) is the percentage of a credit facility you are currently using compared to what you have available. For example, if you have a credit card with a limit of £1,000 and you have borrowed £100, your Credit Utilisation Ratio would be 10%.

Your utilisation rate factors in all credit available to you across all of your current credit facilities.

Typically if your credit utilisation is high, it could be seen by lenders as a sign that you may be experiencing financial difficulty and as such you may pose a higher risk of defaulting to lenders, potentially making it more difficult to obtain further credit.

It is generally recommended to keep your credit utilisation at around 30%-40% as this shows lenders you have an ‘appetite’ for credit and would be likely to use any new credit agreements applied for, but do not rely on them excessively.


Q: How often is this updated?

A: Your credit utilisation is updated along with the rest of the information on your checkmyfile Credit Report. New reports are generated monthly however, it can take 4-6 weeks for new information to show on your credit report so your balances can be out of date by up to 2 months.

Q: Why is this relevant?

A: Prospective lenders will look at this information when assessing your creditworthiness and based on your available credit it will assist them in determining if you would be eligible for further credit.

If your credit utilisation rate is low, existing card providers may take this into account and adjust your credit limits accordingly if they feel that your current usage may indicate a risk of spending a large amount in one quick burst and then vanishing.

Q: Where can I see this information on my report?

A: You will be able to find this information for each relevant account on your checkmyfile Credit Report by clicking ‘View’ for the account in question.

The headroom for an account is the available balance after your spending has been accounted for.

To see how your credit agreements are being reported by three Credit Reference Agencies, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month which you can cancel online, by phone or by email.

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Jargon Buster

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