What is Revolving Credit?
Revolving credit is one that allows multiple disbursements and repayments on the account, much like an overdraft. It has a payment plan attached to it, in which some amount of principal and interest may be paid. Revolving credit loans products are designed the same way as other loan products, with some differences.
How Does Revolving Credit Work?
How and when you draw money from your revolving credit account may differ based on the type of credit account you have. There are different possible mediums of drawing money from an account’s credit line, an example is transferring to your checking account or a purchase.
Immediately your account balance hits the credit limit, you will be required to pay down the balance before you can borrow against the credit line again. Thus you’ll have to pay attention to how you’re charging to the card.
The account balance is the total amount you have borrowed, which may include a number of charges like:
- Balance transfers
- Interest charges
With revolving credit, even if you already have a balance, you can keep borrowing till your balance reaches your credit limit, then repay the amount you borrowed (plus any interest you owe) and borrow again.
When it comes to making payments, your account balance is reduced by any payments you make to the account.
On the whole, you only need to make at least a minimum payment each month. However, repaying more can save you money, because you’ll likely be charged interest on the money you borrow. Where you can’t pay your entire bill on time each month, the remaining balance typically carries over to the next billing cycle. You’ll be building up interest charges on the portion of your balance that is not paid on time.
The interest rate you get charged is based on a number of factors, like your credit history, the type of account you have as well as the type of transaction you are making.
Understand that accounts typically charge fees, thus watch out for the following fees:
- Credit cards charge a number of fees like annual fee and transaction-related fees (foreign transaction fees, cash advance fee)
- Lines of credit can also charge fees like an annual fee or origination fees.
- A HELOC can come with various fees on top of an annual fee (like closing costs)
Revolving Credit vs. Non-Revolving
Non-revolving is one that has a lower interest rate and a predictable payment schedule. But does not have the flexibility of revolving. As opposed to non-revolving credit, revolving credit can be used for a variety of purchases as long as you stick to the card terms.
However, non-revolving credit has more purchasing power since it can be approved for higher amounts, based on your income, history, as well as other factors. Owing to the risk involved, banks often limit the amount you can borrow on revolving.
Both revolving credit and non-revolving credit accounts are useful in various situations. Thus you have to be sure you are choosing the option that’s best for the purchase you’re making. Be it a revolving or non-revolving credit product, you must consider carefully the terms as well as the borrowing cost and stick to the repayment agreement so you don’t impact your card negatively.
How Does Revolving Credit Impacts Your Credit?
Revolving credit can impact your credit in various ways:
- Opening a new account can lower your average age of accounts, which may lower your scores.
- After applying for a new account, the creditor may likely review your credit history, typically resulting in a hard inquiry (which may lower your credit scores by a few points or have a negligible effect on them).
- You may be adding to your mix of credit, which may improve your credit health.
However, the biggest impact on your credit may come from how you use the account:
- If you are prompt in making the minimum required payments, you can build a history of on-time payments. This can be a very important factor for your credit scores and overall credit health. Thus missing payments can negatively impact your credit.
- Secondly, it is how much of your credit limit you are currently using. A lower utilization rate may be of benefit to your credit. Most experts recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30% for credit cards.