Re: Closed accounts vs.. Open accounts - Which to pay down first?[ Edited ]
01-19-2013 11:38 AM - edited 01-19-2013 11:43 AM
Closed cards shouldn't "chase" the balance, that's what happens when a lender wants to close the card but thinks you might be more likely to pay if you keep it open. I would consider closing any balance chasing card, it doesn't eliminate the need to pay but should prevent them raising interest rates or cutting the CL further. Since you need to pay at least the minimum on all cards because going delinquent will hurt your score, you can tell whether the reported limits are reduced by your payments.
I agree with tackling highest util cards first, then high interest cards. But once you get below 30% on a closed card keep making minimum payments and work on the others to keep the benefit of the credit line. Once you pay off a closed card the credit limit falls out of the util calculation.
Based on what I've seen here and elsewhere I would:
1. Meet all minimum payments on time.
2. Pay highest util cards to below 80% util.
3. Use the "snowball" approach on the highest interest card - put all additional money on that one until paid off (or to 30% if closed).
4. Repeat #3 until all open cards are paid, then start snowballing closed cards.
You want to wind up with less than 10% total utilization, and "less than half" your cards reporting a balance.
Starting Score:11/16/2009 EQ 566 11/16/2009 TU 538
Interim Score: 12/27/2012 EQ 683 09/17/2012 EX (lender) 670 1/01/2013 TU 701
Current Score: 11/06/2013 EQ 708 11/06/2013 EX 702 11/16/2013 702 11/06/2013 TU 729
Goal Score: EQ 740 EX 740 TU 740
Take the FICO Fitness Challenge