The smaller that percentage is, the better it is for your credit rating. To boost your score, “pay down your balances, and keep those balances low,” says Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.
This is also a good reason not to close old accounts where you’ve had a solid repayment record.
Trying to get rid of old good debt “is like making straight A’s in high school and trying to expunge the record 20 years later,” Ulzheimer says.
The length of that shopping period depends on the credit score used.
If lenders are using the newest forms of scoring software, then you have 45 days, says Ulzheimer. Older forms of the software won’t count multiple student loan inquiries as one, no matter how close together you make applications, he says.
The reason this strategy can boost your score: One of the items your score considers is just how many of your cards have balances, Ulzheimer says.