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Question about what order to pay cards in


Question about what order to pay cards in

This is my first post here, hardcore Googling over the questions I'm asking led me to discovering these forums. As such, I do apologize if this is something that's been covered frequently - I'm just having a very difficult time finding answers.


I'm in the process of paying off my balances and will be going thermonuclear on them once I receive my next check, depleting the cash I have saved and hanging onto my check. I'm curious about how the credit card utilization percentage is calculated. I've always heard to keep at under 20%, but is that 20% of total balances or 20% on each individual card?


Also, I have a credit card that was closed by the lender about a year ago while I was still in college. Does the balance/limit that's left on that get weighted as part of my credit card utilization? I ask because on Credit Karma (not the most reliable source, I know) it lists as an installment account. Knowing one way or the other would help me decide which order to attack the cards.


Lastly, I tried to do the trial here to see my FICO score and see if the subscription was worth it, but it gave me an error. When I called, I was told to contact Equifax because they were apparently reporting no credit history for me, but when I called Equifax they had no problem pulling up my information. Has anyone been in a similar situation, and if so is there any advice for getting the situation resolved? Right now I can't even buy the subscription-based FICO products.


Thanks for any help!

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Established Contributor

Re: Question about what order to pay cards in

Closed accounts factor into utilization only if the credit limit and balance are both still being reported.  If one is missing then it doesn't count.  I would definitely recommend paying your cards off in order of highest interest rate to lowest, saving money is almost always more important than a temporary score bump.  If they're all the same rate, then getting them all below 20% is good, then pay them off one by one.  Actually, anymore than 10% utilization on a card can hurt your score, so you could get them all below 10%, then pay them off one by one.

FICOs (2/24/12): EX 752, EQ 740
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