I know it's best to keep utilization below 9%...does that mean for each account or overall? Right now I have about 11k in available credit with 1500 on a card with a 2500 limit with the others at 0. I'm doing this because it was interest free financing. Right now it's reporting at 0 but when the statement cuts am I going to get nailed? Will it look like 60%? Thanks in advance for the info.
It will hurt your utilization to have something reporting a balance and will lower your FICO score. I will also soon have a Best Buy card reporting about a 90% utilization that is also interest free. The key is to make sure you pay it down before you plan to apply for credit. There is no memory in utilization, so it doesn't much matter unless you are applying for credit now.
As for amount to keep, most people say you want to keep a 0 balance on all but 1 card. On that last card, you should keep anywhere from 1-9% of your total available credit across all cards. Ie, you want your total utilization to be 1-9%, but that utilization should only come from one card. FICO scores total utilization and also scores what % of accounts have any utilization.