Q: Can you please tell us how general credit balances affect the scores?
A: General credit balance to limit ratios, including student loans, mortgages, and car loans do not affect the scores as much as revolving credit. Since mortgage and installment credit have pre-arranged payment amounts consumers are only making the decision to pay on time. Since this type of credit does not reflect a deeper view into the management skill of the borrower the balances have a minimal effect.
Revolving credit balance to limit ratios, including credit cards, overdraft on a checking account, and in many cases home equity lines have a greater affect on scores. Revolving credit is the only type that consumers decide how little they will pay (no lower than the minimum) and how much they will charge (up to the limit). Since this credit reflects a deeper view into the borrowers management skills it can drop scores more when balances are high. To have the best score, balances on this type of credit should be at 7-10% of limits. The higher the balance inches up to the limit the lower the score can drop.
There are also many other factors such as payment history, age of credit, type of credit, that affect scores.