The right way to pay off debt?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Poochie, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Poochie

    Poochie Well-Known Member

    My husband sold almost all of his employers stock to pay off his credit card debt. This gives us about enough to pay off 80% of his credit card debt, not including a couple relatively small store charge accounts. We were planning on paying off 4 accounts to $0, and leave one at almost 100% utilized. Does it matter if we do it that way, or should we leave a small balance on all of them? We don't want to close the accounts, just stuff 'em in the sock drawer. But we don't want the card companies to drop the credit lines or close them.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. Poochie

    Poochie Well-Known Member

    I don't know if this matters but I forgot to add that one of the accounts witht he highest balances is a closed Citibank acct - husband got in a pissing contest with a rep about APR and closed the account when they wouldn't budge.
  3. IrishEyes

    IrishEyes Well-Known Member

    I would start with the accounts with the highest interest rate first- they are costing you the most money to carry a balance on.

    If you have a card with a good rate or can open a new account with a low rate, do some balance transfers on the rest and get all your debt to the lowest apr you can.

  4. DemPooches

    DemPooches Well-Known Member

    The right approach depends on your goal.

    1. For the biggest impact on your scores, make sure all of the accounts are under 50% utilization. Pay off entirely the closed account that has the balance.

    2. To save the most money, pay off accounts entirely starting with the highest APR account and working your way down.

    Ideally, the best combination is to pay the highest rate accounts all down to zero and end up with a balance on the lowest rate card that is less than 50% utilization. If the money won't stretch that far, I would personally keep a balance of under 50% on the two lowest rate accounts.

  5. DemPooches

    DemPooches Well-Known Member

    With respect to future activity on the accounts, we make a $10 charge once a year on the cards in the sock drawer and have never had one cancelled. The time period for closure from inactivity probably varies by issuer. And BTW, we also pay off that $10 charge BEFORE the statement is generated. That way they still continue to report the zero balances.

    And one other FICO scoring issue. When you are able to pay ALL of the revolving accounts down to zero, don't do it. That is, if you want to maximize your scores. Having ANY balance on one revolving card is enough, but you'll lose FICO points if your revolving balance on all accounts reports as zero.


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