Are you wondering how long it takes to repair your credit?
There are many factors that affect how long repairing your credit will take. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the process and what is involved to get a better idea of when you can expect results.
You have worked hard on improving your credit score, and you’re wondering when you’ll see the results. If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “I have no idea.” It can be challenging to get an accurate picture of what steps are involved in repairing your credit and how long they take.
The good news is that we’ve put together a complete guide for understanding exactly what goes into improving your score so you can make sure the process moves along as quickly as possible.
Keep reading as we explore how long credit repair takes.
Understand Why Your Credit Scores Are Low
The first step to repairing your credit scores is to understand why they are low in the first place, so you know what needs to be done.
Several important factors go into calculating your FICO score, such as:
Payment History (35%) – This category accounts for roughly one-third of your score. This is determined by whether you pay your bills on time and how often you have been 30 days late or more delinquent in the last seven years.
Amounts Owed (30%) – Although this makes up only 30 percent of your score, it’s still essential that you actively manage the debt you have. Debt ratios and balances play a significant role in this category, as well as how long you’ve had your credit accounts open and whether or not any of those accounts were sent to collection agencies.
Length of Credit History (15%) – Your score can be hurt by having too little available credit, especially if you’re young. You’ll want to check your credit report to make sure you have not applied for new lines of credit lately and that any open accounts are in good standing.
Credit Mix (10%) – Having various types of accounts can boost your score, and having accounts that have been around for many years shows lenders that you’re reliable.
You’ll want to check that you haven’t applied for new accounts in a while and have an active mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, and mortgage loans.
New Credit (10%) – Too much recent activity in your credit file can be bad for your score—this category looks at whether or not you’ve opened new credit accounts recently.
All three major credit bureaus use these factors in determining your credit score.
How Long Do Negative Items Stay on My Credit Report?
Credit reports are like the history of your financial life, and negative items such as missed payments, collections accounts, or bankruptcy can stay on your report for quite some time. Below is a breakdown of the items and how long they stay on your credit report for:
|Hard Inquiries||2 Years|
|Late Payments||7 Years|
|Charge Off/Collections||7 Years|
|Chapter 13 Bankruptcies||7 Years|
|Chapter 7 Bankruptcies||10 Years|
What You Can Do To Improve Your Credit Score
Once you understand why your credit score is low and know to begin the credit repair process, the next step is to learn how to do it.
There are a number of things you can do to help improve your credit score.
Here’s a list of some of the most common ways people have successfully improved their scores:
- Track your credit – Keeping track of your credit report and knowing who is making inquiries on it will let you know if any negative items such as delinquency or new accounts have appeared that you may not be aware of. you can get a copy of your free credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to receive a copy of your credit report at no charge.
- Negotiate terms – If you owe more than one creditor, contact each company to see if they’re willing to negotiate your monthly payments or interest rates. This can help get balances down while still making acceptable payments.
- Reevaluate accounts – Get your bills in order and start paying down the debts with higher interest rates and monthly payments to save on interest fees and pay off your debt faster.
- Build credit history – If you don’t have current accounts or are young, find a secured credit card that will allow you to begin building a positive payment history.
- Manage your debt responsibly – Don’t open any new credit accounts, as this can lower your score. Don’t forget to check your monthly statements and balance information to ensure you’re not being charged for anything you don’t want or your account isn’t being over-drafted by mistake.
- Decrease your utilization– If you have credit cards, do not use more than 30% of the total available credit. This means if you have a $1,000 limit on your card, don’t charge more than $300 to it. Less is better.
- Negotiate with lenders – If you are behind or delinquent on accounts in collection or charged-off, you will want to contact them and try and negotiate payment plans or reduced balances. This can not only help get your credit report up, but it can also improve your cash flow situation if you can get good deals on the interest rate or monthly payments for these accounts.
- Avoid closing accounts – Closing out your credit cards will often lower your available credit, decreasing your score. If you are planning on closing accounts, it’s a good idea to wait until after you have turned the corner and are back to managing your debt responsibly.
- Send dispute letters– After you pulled your credit, if you happen to find inaccurate information or identity theft, you can dispute it. These legal rights are afforded to you under FCRA. If what you are disputing is accurate negative information, it most likely will not be removed from your credit report.
Hire a Credit Repair Company
If you are in the market for a home or auto loan, you may not have the luxury of waiting. If that’s the case, you may want to consider hiring a credit repair company such as Lexington Law or Credit Saint. Both of these organizations are some of the best credit repair companies you can work with.
Some companies offer a free review of your credit report and score and may be able to start working on your credit before you even sign up.
Once you work out the details, they can help improve your score during negotiations by advising you on how best to pay off other accounts or negotiate down the terms for other debts.
Some of the best credit repair services such as Lexington Law and Credit Saint have helped people improve their credit faster to a good credit score if they did it independently.
Both companies charge a fee for their service, but they may save you money by negotiating lower interest rates and monthly payments on your behalf.
If you’re concerned about the trustworthiness of the credit repair industry, the Federal Trade Commission created the Credit Repair Organizations Act, that protects the consumer from being defrauded. Credit repair companies must follow strict guidelines on how they conduct their business. This includes:
- Prohibiting misleading or untrue representation
- Requires to provide the consumer disclosures
- Prohibits advanced payments
- Provides the consumer with cancellation rights
With these policies in place, legitimate credit repair companies have been able to help people improve their credit without having to worry about being duped. That said, it’s important to discuss your particular situation with a service representative to see if a credit repair service is right for you.
Almost all credit repair companies offer free consultation, so it costs you nothing to the service provider.
If you find yourself in a tough spot with credit, there are things that you can do to improve your score.
If the situation is dire and no matter what you try doesn’t work, consider hiring a credit repair agency. They’ll be able to help negotiate lower interest rates for other debts or higher monthly payments on accounts that have been charged-off.
If you can’t afford to hire one, not all is lost. You aren’t doomed to a bad credit score forever. The best way to move forward is to make sure you get a free copy of your credit report and simply follow the steps outlined above.
The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t stop trying new things until your score starts going up. This can be a long process, but the sooner you start, the more likely it will be that you’ll have a higher credit score before applying for any new loans or mortgages.
Credit repair takes time. There is no shortcut to fix credit fast. It usually takes about six months to see your credit score start to go up.
Once you have worked on fixing your credit, it may take another 6+ months before the real estate lender will let you know what they are willing to offer. So really, 12 months in total to see an improvement in your credit score.
Credit Repair companies will tell you that credit repair takes about six months. You need to do your due diligence in checking out their services and pricing before deciding if it is right for you.
If you cannot pay for their service, consider doing things yourself by following the tips above to help improve your credit.
The hardest part is starting the process. However, once you start staying diligent, you’ll start seeing the results before you know it.