How Long Does it Take to Improve Credit?

Anyone who lives in the United States knows how important it is to have a good credit score. So, whether you’re just starting to build your credit or your credit is not so good, there are a variety of ways that you can improve your credit. So, how long does it take to improve your credit and credit score? We will discuss the answer to this question in much detail below.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Credit?

The answer to this question depends on how much you want to improve your credit score by and where you’re starting off from. That said, there is no way to precisely predict how long it will take to improve your credit.

If you have good credit to start with and want a small improvement, such as 20 or 30 points, you can improve your credit fairly quickly (3 to 4 months) by simply paying down balances and refraining from applying for too much new credit. Do this and you’ll see an improvement within just a few months.

However, if you want to make a significant improvement, such as 50 or 100 points and you have a less than ideal credit history because you have missed payments or you’ve filed for bankruptcy, it may take you 18 to 36 months to improve your credit.

When measuring the amount of time it takes to improve your credit score, it’s necessary to look at what’s already in your credit report.

For example, if you’re just starting off with building your credit because you just turned 18 or you have simply never applied for credit, you’re in luck as it only takes opening a credit card and making timely payments for a few months for you to have a score in the 700s.

However, if you previous bad credit history and are wondering how long it takes to improve your existing credit history, you need to look at your credit report to determine what’s pulling your score down.

Here is a list of items that can appear on your credit report and a detailed explanation as to how long it takes to improve your credit score after such an item is added to your credit report.

Action
Impact on Credit in Years
Impact on Credit Score
Collection Account
7 years
Severe
Missed Payment
7 years
Severe
Repossession
7 years
Severe
Maxing Out Credit Card
Credit begins to improve within 3 months of paying down balances.
Moderate
Bankruptcy
7 to 10 years
Severe

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit After a Collection Account?

After a collection account has been added to your account, you will begin to see an improvement in your credit score as the collection account ages. That said, for the biggest improvement to your credit and credit score, you will have to wait for seven years until the collection account is completely removed from your credit report.

Some people mistakenly believe that paying off a collection account will increase their credit score. The reality, however, is that a paid and unpaid collection account will have the same affect on your credit score. The only way to improve your credit score after a collection is to have the collection account removed from your credit report.

If you believe that the collection account is inaccurate and should not be on your credit report, you can contact the collection agency directly and ask them to remove it or dispute it through the credit reporting bureau displaying the collection account.

For example, if your Experian Credit Report shows that you have a collection account that does not belong to you or is inaccurate, you can dispute by filing a dispute through Experian.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit After Missing a Payment?

If you missed a payment and the missed payment was reported to the credit reporting bureaus, you probably noticed a significant drop in your credit score. This is so because a missed payment is a serious event that can have a severe negative impact on your credit score.

So, how long does it take your credit to improve after a missed payment is reported on your credit? Usually, as the missed payment ages, the negative impact it will have on your credit score will begin to fade away. Usually, you will begin to see an improvement in your credit score within 18 months. However, the biggest improvement in your score will result after the missed payment is removed from your credit report, which takes seven (7) years. After seven years, the missed payment mark will be automatically removed. If it is not automatically removed with the seven-year period, you can file a dispute to have it removed from your credit report.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit After a Repossession?

If your credit score took a hit due to repossession of your car for nonpayment, you should begin to see an improvement within 18 months to 24 months, however, the repossession will continue to affect your credit score negatively so long as it remains on your credit report. A repossession will stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date that you first missed a payment on your auto loan. Once the repossession falls off, it should significantly improve your credit score, assuming nothing else is dragging down your score.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit After Maxing Out Your Credit Card?

Maxing out your credit is bad for your credit score, but it’s something that can be fixed fairly quickly. If you’ve maxed out your credit card, you can improve your credit score within approximately 3 months by simply paying down the balance on your credit card.

As a rule of thumb, you should always try to keep your credit utilization below 30%. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit, you should always aim to keep your credit card balance below $3,000. If you exceed 30% utilization of your credit, you will hurt your credit score.

That said, if you have exceeded 30% of your available credit, you can improve your credit and credit score by paying down the balance so that you’re not utilizing more than 30% of your available credit.

After you’ve paid down your credit card balance and after the lender has reported your account status to the credit reporting agencies, you should see an increase in your credit score provided that nothing else is dragging your score down.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit After a Bankruptcy?

A bankruptcy is a serious event that will destroy almost any person’s credit. If you filed for bankruptcy and had your debt discharged, how long will it take you to improve your credit score? A bankruptcy has the potential to drop your credit score by as much as 150 to 200 points. The impacts of a bankruptcy will begin to lessen as the bankruptcy ages. You should begin to see an improvement within 18 to 24 months after filing for bankruptcy.

However, you will not see the biggest improvement to your credit score until the bankruptcy is removed from your credit report. Bankruptcies can take 7 to 10 years to be removed from your credit report, depending on the type of bankruptcy that you filed. Once removed, you will see a significant increase in your credit score provided that nothing else is negatively impacting your credit score.

How to Improve Your Credit?

This is one of the most often questions that we get asked alongside how long does it take improve credit? There are a variety of things that you can do to improve your credit score, here are some of those things:

  • Pay all of your bills on time – This may be a simple piece of advice, but nothing can drop your credit score faster than missing credit card payments and loan payments. Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, so to improve your credit score, you should make all of your payments on time. Don’t take on more debt than you can afford to handle so that you’ll stay current on your payments.

  • Keep Your Balances Low – You should not accumulate too much debt on your credit cards. Paying down your balances on time can do wonders for your credit. As a rule of thumb, you should always keep your credit utilization below 30%. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit, you should keep your credit card balance below $3,000. Keeping your credit utilization below this threshold will improve your credit score.

  • Don’t Apply for Too Many New Credit Cards and Loans – You should not apply for too many credit cards and/or loans within a short period of time. Every time you apply for a credit card or loan, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report. Although a single hard inquiry may drop your credit score by 5-10 points, the points can add up and hurt your credit if you submit too many applications within a short period of time.

  • Keep Old Accounts Open – You should keep your old accounts open, especially if you have had them for a long period of time. We know it may be tempting for you to close an old account that you barely use, but leaving the account open can improve your credit score. This is so because the average age of all of your account influence your credit score. So, keeping an old account open will help your credit score.

  • Dispute Any Inaccurate Information – To improve your credit, you should pull a copy of your credit report and check it for any inaccuracies. If you find any derogatory information on your credit report that does not belong to you or is inaccurate, you should dispute the information with the credit reporting bureau that’s displaying the inaccurate information. Removal of derogatory items can significantly improve your credit and credit score.

Credit Score Planet Frequently Asked Questions

1) How long does it take to improve your credit score by 100 points?

The answer to this question depends on the information in your credit file. If you have a single derogatory item, addressing it may increase your credit score by 100 points. However, if you have several derogatory items lowering your credit score, it may be difficult to improve your credit score by 100 points quickly.

For example, if you have a single collection account on your credit report, negotiating with the collection agency to remove it and actually getting the collection account removed may boost your credit by as much as 100 points. However, if you have several collection accounts or missed payments, it will take a long time to improve your credit score by 100 points.

2) How long does it take to get a 700 credit score?

The answer to this questions depends on where you stand in terms of credit history. If you’re just starting off, opening a credit card and making a few points on it may be enough to get you a 700 credit score. However, if you have a bad credit history, it may take years of good financial behavior to get you to a 700 credit score. We have listed some of the most important things to do to improve your credit score above.

3) How long does it take to build credit from a 500 credit score?

It all depends on where you’re starting from. If you just opened your first credit card, it will be fairly easy to build credit from a 500 credit score. However, if you have bad credit history, it may take years for you to build your credit from a 500 credit score. You may want to contact a reputable credit repair service to assist you with fixing your credit.

4) How can I raise my credit score?

You can raise your credit score by making timely payments, keeping balances low, not applying for too much credit within a short period of time, keeping old accounts, and paying other bills, such as your phone bill and medical bills on time so that they’re not sent to collections.