If a card has a balance, and I am paying down, does that count as use? I have a few with balances and I want to be sure they don't get closed due to inactivity, I am not using them right now because I don't want to drive the balance higher and raise my util %.
I've always considered that as activity but I could be wrong. Any other opinions on this?
IMHO no. You can (I do) pay down your card prior to the reporing date so you can control how much reports. I 've had RBFCU MC for 2 motnhs, and I am earning chahs back and it hasnt reported a balance. CCCs don't care about reporting a balance. They want you to use the card so they can get their mechant fees and they still want you to revolve a balance (open to debate now) to make interest on you as well.
You could be absolutely correct about this. I've never been really sure how that works. All I know is I just did a BT on my Cap One card for 0% for a year and I guarantee there will be NO activity except payments on this account until it is once again at a 0 balance.