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What should I pay first? High Balance, or Low Balance?

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I have 5 credit cards, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 in credit limits.  I'm currently using 88% of my available limit (according to Credit Karma).  I recently got a loan from a relative in the amount of $10,000 to get my score a little higher while I apply for a mortgage.  My total credit card debt is just over $20,000.  What should I pay first?  Should I pay off the lower balance cards, or get the higher balance cards closer to the suggested 30% balance?

 

Thanks!

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welcome to CB!

 

can you list the balance/limit/ and APR of each card? What is your timeline for the mortgage? The loan to a relative may have to be disclosed as a debt when you apply.

 

remember you can ask for a CLI which will help with utilization.

 

As a general rule I recommend paying all your revolving debt in full before applying for a mortgage. Moreover, be sure you have a solid financial footing before committing to a mortgage and home ownership. There is a lot more, expense/finance wise, to owning a home that just making payments. The fact you are carrying credit card suggests you may not have a great position in terms of reserves should you need to do major repairs, etc.

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Paying down highly utilized lines will almost always yield be strong FICO score benefit than paying off low balances.  Biggest bang for the buck is to get all lines under 50% of the respective limits; pushing them under 30% will yield a significant added score boost.

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So many missing variables...

 

At the moment, score be damned.  You need to be paying down the balances that are costing you the most money right now.  Focusing on a low-APR balance while a high-APR is out there racking up large sums is the height of stupid decisions. 

 

Once you have gotten the high-APR accounts to a low level, THEN worry about utilization ratios...

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