How Long Does It Take To Improve Your Credit Score?
Your credit score is that little three-digit number (FICO score or VantageScore) that translates your credit history into your creditworthiness. It is used as an indication of how likely you are to make on-time payments based on past history. Your credit score determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay.
Credit history and your credit score are important because they determine whether or not you will be able to get a home, business, or auto loan. In some states, employers are permitted to do a credit check as part of a background inquiry.
While keeping an excellent credit score is always a good goal, sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you couldn't pay your student loans for a few months or perhaps you had an emergency medical procedure and became delinquent on your credit card account. Whatever the reason, it can happen to the best of us.
If you are now looking to improve your credit score, you may be wondering how long it takes. That will depend on a number of factors, such as your length of credit history, or whether you've had a bankruptcy or foreclosure. Sometimes repairing bad credit can take months or years, but don't let the process intimidate you. There are several things you can do to improve your credit score.
What Affects Your Credit Score?
There are a number of factors that affect your credit score including:
- Length of your credit history
- Payment history
- Credit utilization
- The amount owed on each line of credit
- Late payments or missed payments
- How many new credit inquiries appear on your credit history
- The different types of credit you have such as student loans, car loans, or credit card debt.
How Long Is It Really Going To Take To Improve My Credit Score?
There isn't a hard and fast rule or magic formula concerning how long it will take to raise your credit score. While some experts such as personal finance columnist and author Liz Weston argue that it can happen in as little as 30 to 60 days, it is oftentimes much longer. Improving poor credit will require an action plan and possibly a consultation with a financial adviser or attorney.
Ways To Accelerate an Improvement to Your Credit Score
As stated above, every case is different. The exact time needed to raise your credit score will vary, but there are things you can do now, according to the Federal Reserve Board, to help improve your situation.
The first step is to have current copies of your credit report. Under federal law, you are entitled to a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) every year. You can go to annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit report.
Second, always pay your bills on time. One key way to do this is to set up automatic payments so the money comes directly out of your checking or savings account without having to remember to pay the bill. Be sure to pay down your credit card debt, if you have the means available to you, and dispute any errors on your credit report as soon as possible.
Third, it's good to have different types of credit accounts to give you a healthier credit mix and a more robust credit file. A varied credit portfolio not only showcases your ability to lenders to handle diverse financial responsibilities but also enhances your creditworthiness by demonstrating a balanced approach to managing various credit types.
Boosting your credit limit can boost your credit score by changing something called the credit utilization ratio. This ratio is just a fancy way of saying how much of your credit you're using. When a borrower's credit limit goes up, it means they have more available credit. Even if they spend the same amount, the ratio of what they've spent compared to their total credit goes down. This is good because a lower ratio is better for your credit score. It shows creditors that you're handling your credit well.
How Long Does It Take for a Bankruptcy To Be Removed?
One major way to improve your credit score is to not have bankruptcy on your credit report. If you have declared bankruptcy, you will have to wait a while for it to disappear from your credit report, hence improving your total credit score. Chapter 13 bankruptcies take seven years to disappear, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies take 10 years. That's a long time to wait, but it is the law. In the meantime, it is important to keep building credit.
How Long Does It Take To Improve Your Credit Score: Related Resources
- Avoiding Credit Repair and Credit Counseling Scams
- Consumer Credit and Debt Counseling
- Credit Score Information: How to Manage Your Credit Score
- Sample Request For Credit Report If You Have Recently Been Denied Credit
Need Help With Your Credit Score? Get a Free Attorney Match
A good credit score is important as you move through different stages of your life. Whether buying a home, trying to take out a personal loan, or paying for college, your credit score matters. If you have questions about how to repair your credit score and what the law says, you should speak with a consumer law attorney who specializes in credit repair to learn more about your options.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.