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Help! Which to pay down first?

Your FICO® Scores can impact your loan interest rates, terms, approvals and more.

Help! Which to pay down first?


In the context of improving credit score for mortage application in next 3 months, should I focus on paying down my 3 cards with above 50% credit utilization or pay off 3 other low balance cards to Zero balance? My FICO 8 scores are




 and Experian FICO score 2 is 731. I have a total of 10 revolving credit accounts of which 2 cards are at 70% utilization, 1 at 63%, 3 at 50%, 3 at 35% and 1 at 0%. I know that credit utilization has great impact on credit score and DTI is of significance when mortage application is considered. Do I pay down heavily used cards to under 50% thereby lowering minimum payments on them(DTI in focus) or pay off 3 low balance cards to limit number of open accounts with balance? I don't have enough money to pay down all cards at the same time. In my situation which strategy will improve my stand in front of a lender to secure best rate? 

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

Hi @creditscorequestion, and welcome to myFICO! welcome.gif


I've removed your duplicate thread.  Please avoid cross-posting in the future; it's confusing to follow and is against the guidelines here.



Message 2 of 10
Regular Contributor

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

If it were me, I would work like all get out to pay down those with the high utilization. I have a personal rule - I never, ever use more than 10% of my credit limit. That is just destructive to your credit. That is just my of luck!

Message 3 of 10

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

I would drop the utilization on the highest ones first, then the highest apr balances, and overall total utilization on your available credit should still go down.
Gardening till 12/2019!

Message 4 of 10
Valued Contributor

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

If you have a mortgage broker you are working with, give them a call

3/2016 EX 644 CK-TU 642 CK-EQ 660 WalMart- 671.
>06/2019 CCT EX 829 TU 848 EQ 837
Thus will it come to pass. The Dying Leader will know the truth of the Opera House. The missing Three will give you the Five, who've come from the Home of the Thirteenth. You are the Harbinger of Death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their End. End of line.
Message 5 of 10

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

No mortgage broker yet. Trying to improve score as much as I can befor going for preapproval. Thanks!

Message 6 of 10

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

@Thank You!

Message 7 of 10

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?


Message 8 of 10
New Contributor

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

Dave Ramsey's approach: Pay off your debt from smallest to largest irrespective of interest rates.


Suggestions from other financial guru's: Pay off your debt with the highest % interest rate, then work your way down (regardless of actual debt amounts).

Message 9 of 10
Valued Contributor

Re: Help! Which to pay down first?

I read here that we should consider the following in no specific order: 


  • UTIL thresholds - 88.9, 68.9, 48.9, 28.9 and 8.9 (does these go for both individual AND overall UTIL?) 
  • # of accounts with balances vs # of accounts 
  •  # of Inquiries 
  • DTI (less accounts with balances help this?) 

Depends on how much money you have, how much your balances are, and how long before you app.

I would PIF the smallest ones first (2nd bullet), then use what's left to get the larger ones to the next lower threshold (1st bullet) your 50% balances, just need to get under 48.9%. I think if you follow adhere to the first two bullets, the last two aren't worries. 


Best of luck!! 

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Message 10 of 10