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Which impacts my credit score more,subsequent debt settlement thru a 3rd party or > 30% debt ratio?
To use a debt settlement program, the payments have to fall behind -- which I am advising to quit making the payments so a settlement can be negotiated.

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Easy choice.

The worst thing you can do is start missing payments!!  The downward spiral of that will effect your credit for 7 years.  Even if you go that route, and are able to negotiate some form of "settlement", these missed payments and closed accounts will still hurt you.  

Ideally, you want to keep credit utilization below 20%.  The key being "IDEALLY".  Your score will suffer when you start to exceed that limit, but will IMMEDIATELY recover when you bring it back down to that 20% range.  

Top Contributor
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Your better off paying the debt.

1) you'll have to fall behind for at least 6 months. That will hurt your score for 7 years

2) The creditor may not agree to a setrtlement until the account is over a year old.  6 more months added to the reporting.

3)the 3rd party will charge you to negotiate the deal,  So how much will you really save?

Having a debt ratio above 30% only hurts as long as it stays up there.  Pay down your balances and your score will go up right away. 

Why ruin your credit for the next 7 years to save a couple of bucks? 

It not worth it.  Pay your bills on time. Pay as much as you can and your score will go up. 

Good luck

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