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Need guidance on rebuilding my credit from high util and a few late payments.
I have a long credit history of on time payments, but through business endeavors and job changes over the last few years, have gotten a high utilization rate that I couldn't start seriously paying off until now. Since my payments were on time, my credit score was still ok, but I recently had some trouble with a job switch which led to late payments, and that led my credit score to drop. Here's where I'm at now:

Credit Karma score: 664
myFICO score (derived from equifax): 579

Current open accounts:
1 - Car lease
--- 30 days late 3 times (all this summer, ending in September)

2 - Credit Card 1
--- 30 days late 2 times (this summer, ending in August)
--- 60 days late 2 times (just before the 30 day lates)
--- $10k limit @ 94% utilization
--- Age: ~10 years

3 - Credit Card 2
--- 30 days late 3 times (summer, ending in August)
--- 60 days late 1 time (early summer)
--- $3k limit @ 95% utilization
--- Age: ~3 years

So overall, my biggest issues are that I've recently had late payments, and the credit card utilization is near maxed. I've never had late payments until now, so the rest of the credit history is good, no collections. The utilization was actually at 99% 2 months ago, I've gotten it down to 94% and am on track to bring it down at least 5% each month until it's where it should be. But I'd like to speed things up. I'm thinking once I'm 6 months away from the last late payment, I can try asking for a credit limit increase and reduce the utilization. I'd also like to do a balance transfer, but I don't want to end up with a bunch of cards I won't use. In the future I'd like to add Discover IT and AMEX BCE cards to my collection. The former I may be able to do within a year, the latter will have to wait until my credit score is up there.

I'm hesitant to get another card which I can be approved for easily, only to end up not using it after the balance transfer is paid off. I'd rather inch my score towards being good enough for the Discover IT card and then do a balance transfer, paying off as much as possible in the meantime to get myself there. Lastly, in a year from now or whenever possible, I'll contact the companies and ask them to remove the late payments from my record.

Does that sound like a good plan? What else could or should I do differently?

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Since these aren't 0% APR cards I would suggest whichever card has the highest APR you pay that off first so you spend less in interest.....unless you can pay off the 3k card quick within 4-5 months but your plan is pretty solid because regardless those negative missed payment will drop off in 7 years

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Both credit card APR's are around 14-15%.  The $3k card actually has a slightly higher APR, but since they're almost identical in APR I'm going to try to get them both to 30% utilization as soon as I can.  I can't pay it off in 4-5 months unfortunately.  

When do you think would be a good time to apply for another card to try and do a balance transfer?

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