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Paid off cards, credit score crashed

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I'm confused. My husband and I got some extra money last month (around $10K) and used all of it to pay off credit card debt. I paid off all of our cards with the exception of one low interest card, which I plan to pay down using the money we're saving from not having to make minimum payments on our other cards.

With two of the three credit reporting companies, my score went up and is now "excellent." With Equifax, my score declined 44 points, then seven days later it declined another 54. I now have "fair" credit with Equifax.

Nothing else has changed. No late payments, I haven't applied for any new cards or accounts, and I didn't close any of those credit cards. The only thing derogatory that's showing up on Equifax is an account from 2016 that went into collections. That was there back when my score was 98 points better, too, so I don't see how that could have caused the decline. Everything else is "balance decreased." The mortgage went up, but it always does whenever they add interest ... then when you make a payment it goes back down again.

What's going on? How could paying off credit cards make me go from good to fair credit so quickly?

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There are a bazillion different credit scoring algorithms.  The score consumers are allowed to see is the "sucker score".  It predicts whether or not a lender will make money off you by charging late fees and interest.  Don't sweat it.  You did the right thing.  Monitor your reports for inaccurate info.  Ignore the scores.

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