Generally, you shouldn't spend more than 30 to 35 percent of the credit you have available, although keeping your credit card balances below 10 percent offers a more secure safety zone.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), experts recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30% of your total available credit. If a high utilization rate is hurting your scores, you may see your scores increase once a lower balance or higher credit limit is reported.
It's Best to Pay Your Credit Card Balance in Full Each Month
Leaving a balance will not help your credit scores—it will just cost you money in the form of interest. Carrying a high balance on your credit cards has a negative impact on scores because it increases your credit utilization ratio.
The short answer is yes, it's okay. A zero balance won't hurt your credit score and can actually help it by lowering your debt-to-credit ratio. Also known as a credit utilization rate, this factor can have a significant impact on your credit score.
For example, if you have a $500 credit limit and spend $50 in a month, your utilization will be 10%. Your goal should be to never exceed 30% of your credit limit. Ideally, it should be even lower than 30%, because the lower your utilization rate, the better your score will be.
Never owe more than 20% or your credit limit. Ex: if you have a card with a $1000 credit limit, you should never owe more than $200 on that card. Charge more than 20% and your credit score can fall, even though the credit compant gave you a bigger credit limit.
To keep your scores healthy, a rule of thumb is to use no more than 30% of your credit card's limit at all times. On a card with a $200 limit, for example, that would mean keeping your balance below $60. The less of your limit you use, the better.
According to FICO, about 98% of “FICO High Achievers” have zero missed payments. And for the small 2% who do, the missed payment happened, on average, approximately four years ago. So while missing a credit card payment can be easy to do, staying on top of your payments is the only way you will one day reach 850.
Credit bureaus suggest that five or more accounts — which can be a mix of cards and loans — is a reasonable number to build toward over time. Having very few accounts can make it hard for scoring models to render a score for you.
Closing a credit card account — whether it's unused or active — can hurt your credit score primarily because it reduces the amount of available credit you have. If the card you close has a small credit limit, you may see little or no effect.
In general, we recommend paying your credit card balance in full every month. When you pay off your card completely with each billing cycle, you never get charged interest. That said, it you do have to carry a balance from month to month, paying early can reduce your interest cost.
Credit card companies love these kinds of cardholders, because people who pay interest increase the credit card companies' profits. When you pay your balance in full each month, the credit card company doesn't make as much money. ... You're not a profitable cardholder, so, to credit card companies you are a deadbeat.
By making an early payment before your billing cycle ends, you can reduce the balance amount the card issuer reports to the credit bureaus. And that means your credit utilization will be lower, as well. This can mean a boost to your credit scores.
Never make a lump-sum credit card payment
The interest rate you pay on your credit card debt could be higher than the interest on your mortgage, student loans and auto loans - combined. Each day you don't make a payment means more interest accrues on your debt balance.
As with almost every question about credit reports and credit scores, the answer depends on your unique credit history and the scoring system your lender is using. "Too many" credit cards for someone else might not be too many for you. There is no specific number of credit cards considered right for all consumers.
I'm guessing you are asking about credit cards. If so, the short answer is usually no, you don't need to close the accounts. Paying down or paying off your credit cards is great for credit scores, but closing those accounts will likely cause your credit scores to dip, at least for a little while.
It's recommended you have a credit score of 620 or higher when you apply for a conventional loan. If your score is below 620, lenders either won't be able to approve your loan or may be required to offer you a higher interest rate, which can result in higher monthly payments.
So, given the fact that the average credit score for people in their 20s is 630 and a “good” credit score is typically around 700, it's safe to say a good credit score in your 20s is in the high 600s or low 700s.
For a score with a range between 300 and 850, a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good. A score of 800 or above on the same range is considered to be excellent. Most consumers have credit scores that fall between 600 and 750.
Give it some time
But it also suggests that building credit takes time and patience, as you need to establish a track record of financial responsibility. In fact, reaching an excellent credit score of 750+ generally takes 5 or more years.
Therefore, if you have a $5,000 credit limit on your card, keep your balance below $2,000 to protect your credit score from being damaged. Financial institutions are more willing to lend to people who have proven that they are able to effectively manage their budgets and debt.
Using credit cards and paying off your balances every month or keeping balances very low shows financial responsibility. ... More, exceeding your credit card's limit can put your account into default. If that happens, it will be noted on your credit report and be negatively factored into your credit score.
Theo Frank, WalletHub Credit Card Analyst
The average credit card limit for a 25-year-old is around $3,000. To get to that number, it's important to know that the average credit score in that age bracket is 650, which is fair credit.