12-27-2012 09:23 PM
Believe me, if you want an 800 score, all else being equal, you want utilization under 10%. I'm not saying you can't get there with higher utilization than that, but I am saying that putting your utilization under 10% will always get you a score increase. 20% or 40% is a good start, but you HAVE to get lower to get the best impact.
I understand that the question involves other utilization theories, but all of that is going to speculation and subject to individual experiences. The 1% - 9% theory is not subject to individual experiences (except in extreme situations of 400 and 500 credit scores, where utilization is the least of your worries). So that's where my advice ends.
I am a few years of even being able to worry about an 800 credit score! Maybe even 4 years and 11 months! I have read somewhere before that too low is not a good thing either, but I don't remember if that was about utilization or limits. I will say that there does not seem to be much difference in my score when it is 1% or 19%. Before I loaned my sister my card my utilization was almost always lower than 10%. Currently my portion of the debt is 1% and I know that my score is lower from her portion! Since I don't need or want new credit right now I am not too worried. I am in gardening mode anyway! People should understand that gardening is a very useful way to insure they get the best results. I want my AAOA and limits to grow to insure that when I can get that really good card that it comes with a good limit and low interest! (Low interest is important if I get a mortgage or buy a house outright and need to carry a balance for a time period. Also it will mean that with that good card if I later want to use a promotion such as 0% for up to 18 months that I will have no worries about interest!)
Rethink every purchase you make, before you make it. Use the card with the best rewards. Pay in full each month. Redeem rewards often. Use the cards online shopping for more discounts. Smile, knowing that being thrifty allows you to actually get more out of the same amount of money!