Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,067
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
Re: To Pay or Not to Pay, that is the Question..

daybreakgonesXe wrote:

VikingsLoyalFan wrote:

Ok, so I imagine this question has been asked over a 1,000 times but I keep reading something different. Can someone please explain to me the difference of paying a cc completely to 0 or leaving 9% utilization on it? I have never let the balance go to 0 in fear of not having reoccurring account (OK) on my credit. Do I pay them completely off or leave them with a really low balance? Thanks in advance!  

That depends what you want to do! If you have multiple cards, many people like to pay off the accounts to 0 while leaving one account with a 1-9% utilization amount over their total credit lines, in order to really maximize their scores.


If you're not planning on apping for anything anytime soon, this really isn't necessary. Feel free to have a small balances on whatever you want!

This is slightly incorrect.  The general rule of thumb for optimal scoring is to have only one card report a balance with that balance being 9% or less of that card's individual credit limit.  This makes sense if you think about it.  If you have $50K in total available credit, 9% would be $4500.  You don't want to let a $4500 balance report on a card with a $5K CL. 

Starting Score: ~500 (12/01/2008)
Current Score: EQ 681 (04/05/13); TU 98 728 (01/06/12), TU 08? 760 (provided by Barclay 1/2/14), TU 04 728 (lender pull 01/12/12); EX 742 (lender pull 01/12/12)
Goal Score: 720

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