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Valued Member
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎11-29-2013
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Blance revoling and installment accounts

Trying to nudge my credit scores up for a mortgage refi.  Currently  I have an Equifax 692 and I would like to have it and TU,EX scores above 700  before I apply.


On equifax I have a HELOC  loan (indicated as an installment loan)  recently paid down from $52k to about $25k. I also have small balances on credit cards with 1% utilization on about $18k available. 


I've been advised that balanceing use of installment and revolving accounts would increase my score, and that balances representing less 10% or less of the total available credit are best.  But, how much of an effect will this have, to say, have a 10% utilization on all accounts, revolving and installment?


I have some funds to make this all happen but it seems ludicrous to pay down the balance on a low interest rate on the HELOC/instalmment acount. 


Will a plan to pay down the the HELOC and borrow an additional amount from credit cards to make them all 10% be worthwhile. I need 8 points,.... will it get me there?



Moderator Emerita
Posts: 27,204
Registered: ‎09-13-2012
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Re: Blance revoling and installment accounts

For maximum FICO scoring, you should have 1cc report a balance.  Too many cc's reporting a balance, no matter how low the util will not give the desired effect.  The HELOC is probably not the issue. 

Valued Member
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎11-29-2013
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Re: Blance revoling and installment accounts

Thanks, Moderator. 


I must have been drunk when I wrote that heading...


You're right.  I paid down my balances to 0 and watched Equifax score through the monitoring service.  Score was 692 when 2 of my 3 cards had  small  balance.  Utilization was very low with less than $260 outstanding on  $17k  limits.  That was December 16th.  Discover card reported  a $163 decrease to $0 on the 16th, and my score went up 4 points  to 696.  A day later USAA MC reported a $97 decrease, also to $0, and my score went down by 2 to 694. 


Is there a sweet spot that anybody knows of?   My limited look and your advice suggests that I should have a small balance on just one card, which gets me a score two points higher than 2 cards with a small balance.   And I understand that less than 10% utilization is best.    But is, say,  5% better than very low usage ,  just the same way that  a balance that demonstrates use is better than haveing things all paid off.   Is there a usage rate that fico scores likes best?


I paid down the installment (HELOC)  to half,  which took $26k in flexibilty out of my finances.  That move yeilded a little less than 10 points.  


As you can guess, I'm  trying to nudge my score up to 700, then start bragging to potential lenders before the mortgage rates get away.   So any advise will help.


Thanks  again 




Epic Contributor
Posts: 22,398
Registered: ‎01-17-2008
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Re: Blance revoling and installment accounts

Each has their own sweet spot.  It will just take some expermenting on % to find where yours is.

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