If you’ve had trouble paying bills in the past, a credit score drop might have hurt your ability to secure affordable loans in the future.
But that’s not necessarily a permanent problem. If you keep pace with the goals you’ve set to rebuild your credit, you can return to a positive financial future sooner than you might think.
Keep reading to learn more about how long it takes to rebuild your credit and what your first steps should be.
What Is Rebuilding Credit?
Credit scores, or credit reports, are used as a way to assess your ability to repay a loan. The higher a credit score is, the more likely it will be that potential lenders will approve your loan application.
Negative payment information on your credit profile, like bankruptcy, late payments, and collections, will remain on your credit report for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain for up to 10 years.
A low credit score can prevent you from getting a loan at all. If you’ve had a significant credit score drop, and you’re looking to rebuild your credit, you may be wondering what you can do to get things back on track.
The process of getting your credit score back on track is different for everyone, so it’s important to keep in mind that your path will be unique.
However, there are some general areas that you’ll want to focus on.
How to Rebuild Your Credit
Keep Your Accounts Current
If you have past due or open accounts on your credit report, a low credit score can negatively impact your credit. The best way to tackle this is to make sure that you don’t miss any payments.
Pay Off Your Debt
Pay off any debt that you can both afford to pay off and that is currently impacting your credit.
Open New Account
If you have a history of having relatively few accounts open, this can impact your credit score. Opening new accounts, or at least new types of accounts, can help increase your overall credit score.
Reduce/Close Old Accounts
If you have an old account that you haven’t used in a while, you can close it to reduce the amount of your overall outstanding debt.
Closing an account “de-activates” it, so no more new purchases can be made with the account.
Keep Your Credit Utilization Low
Keep your credit utilization as low as possible to help boost your credit score.
Optimize Your Credit Report
If you think that any of the information listed on your credit report is incorrect or outdated, you can request an updated report from the credit bureau responsible for it.
Keep Your Score High
The last thing you want to do is hurt your credit score by taking unnecessary actions.
How Long Does It Take?
It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to rebuild your credit, depending on how bad your credit is, to begin with.
If you have a lot of debt and/or late payments, it will take longer to rebuild your credit than if you have just a few negative items on your report.
The best way to rebuild your credit is to make all of your payments on time, every time. You should also try to pay down your debts as much as possible.
If you can show that you’re responsible with your finances, your credit score will slowly start to improve.
It’s important to be patient when rebuilding your credit. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you’ll eventually see the results you’re looking for.
Strategies To Speed Up Rebuilding Your Credit
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to rebuilding your credit. It will take time, effort, and a little luck to see results.
That being said, there are a few strategies that can drastically speed up the process.
- Avoid impulsive credit purchases. Impulsive purchases can hurt your credit score, so avoid making them whenever possible.
- Keep credit use low. The best way to avoid impulsive credit purchases is to keep your credit use as low as possible.
- Keep debt to income ratio low. To help keep your credit utilization as low as possible, don’t let your debt-to-income ratio get too high.
- Don’t apply for new credit cards. Every time you do, it triggers a hard inquiry on your report, which can temporarily lower your score.
There’s no doubt that rebuilding your credit will take time and effort. But, remember that this is a process that anyone can do.
And, it’s important to remember that anyone can see positive results with a little hard work. With a little patience and perseverance, you can see your credit score return to a healthy level.
And, when that happens, you’ll be one step closer to securing those loans, mortgages, and other forms of credit that you need to reach your financial goals.