Have you succumbed to the countless requests from your Facebook friends inviting you to play them on Candy Crush? Or worse yet – Farmville?
If you have, you certainly have experienced the pain of alllllllmost clearing a level, and you totally would have cleared it, if you just had one or two more lives left to play. Instead, the app is forcing you to agonize for 30 painful minutes before you can play again.
Or, for just a little bit of money, you can continue playing where you left off, right now.
And why wouldn’t you? For less than a dollar, it’s immediately ‘Game On!” again and you can achieve victory and glory over those colorful jelly-bean figures.
But can purchasing apps or in-app purchases impact your credit score? The short answer is: Maybe.
If you’re using a credit card to make these purchases, your card company is tracking your spending. Using too much of your credit each month, even for something as fun as Candy Crush, can lower your credit score.
Apps have become an omnipresent feature on smartphones. Candy Crush is one of more than 1 million apps available. More than 90 percent of those downloads are free, but many of them, especially games like Candy Crush, come with an option to spend a little money somewhere along the way to get maximum use out of the app.
Total revenue for all apps in 2013 was $26 billion, an astounding jump of 44.4 percent, according to Gartner, an information technology research company. Apple generated $10 billion in revenue with its apps last year.
Those numbers could triple in three years as more and more users get addicted to the games and incentives offered by the apps. The average smartphone user spends two hours a day with apps, double what it was just two years ago. Almost half (43 percent) of users’ time is used playing games.
Candy Crush is a favorite pastime with 93 million daily users playing more than a billion times a day. The app generated $568 million in profit in 2013, despite being offered to users for free.
That is where Candy Crush and credit score could collide.
Using your credit card to satisfy an immediate need for more lives playing Candy Crush, could put a little more strain on your credit score than you realize, even at just 99 cents a shot.
One of the key components credit bureaus examine is how much of your available credit you’re using. It counts for 30 percent of your credit score and could easily get lost while you’re purchasing another new set of lives or downloading more apps for fun and entertainment.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $500 maximum and you’re up to $400 on it this month, you’ve already used up 80 percent of your available credit. That is not good for your credit score.
Credit experts recommend using 30 percent of your available credit or less. That keeps your monthly card bill low – and thus affordable – while also giving you plenty of room if an emergency situation pops up.
That’s worth remembering as you run up the in-app fees for Candy Crush and other apps. They may seem cheap now, but they can add up to big bucks if you’re not careful.
The number one way to keep your credit score in the good zone is to pay your credit card on time (and any other debts) every month. Limiting the amount of available credit you use is right there behind it.
Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Austin, S. (2013, March 11) The Surprising Numbers Behind Apps. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/03/11/the-surprising-numbers-behind-apps/
- Lunden, I. (2013, September 19) Gartner: 102B App Store Downloads Globally In 2013, 26B In sales, 17% From In-App Purchases. Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/19/gartner-102b-app-store-downloads-globally-in-2013-26b-in-sales-17-from-in-app-purchases/
- NA, ND. Number of apps available in leading app stores as of July 2014. Retrieved from http://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/
- Spence, E. (2014, July 8) Smartphone App Revenue Dominated By A Handful Of Games and Developers. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2014/07/08/smartphone-app-revenue-dominated-by-a-handful-of-games-and-developers/