I recently read that your credit card balance should not exceed 30 percent of the card’s limit. Mine is at 100 percent. How much impact will this have on our credit score, and how quickly would you recommend paying it down? – Browning


In many cases, 100 percent is a great number, score or measure of success – but not, however, when it comes to the available credit on your credit card. I would recommend you pay your card down as quickly as possible. Maxing out your cards and late payments are two of the biggest violations that count against your score. Fair Isaac, the company that created the widely-used FICO credit scores, list “amounts owed” as a 30-percent contributor to your overall credit-score calculation. In fact, a balance owed of no more than 30 percent of the maximum allowable balance is one of the keys to a good score (for example, if your limit is $10,000, you shouldn’t ever owe more than $3,000). A good credit score will reduce the interest you pay on auto, mortgage and personal loans – as well as credit cards – and, over time, will save you tons of hard-earned cash. Learn more here (