You can build credit with a secured credit card in as little as 1 month, but it will take many months or even years to build a consistently good or excellent credit score. The length of time also depends on whether you’re building credit from nothing or rebuilding damaged credit. If you have no credit, you could see a good score after just a few months of paying on time. You’ll have a VantageScore after 1 month and a FICO Score after 6. With bad credit, though, it will probably take 12-18 months of responsible use for you to move up to the fair credit range. Secured credit cards are great for building credit because they are easy to get and report to the credit bureaus just like unsecured cards.
But it's hard to give you an accurate estimate of how long it will take to build credit with a secured credit card without knowing the details of your situation. That’s where WalletHub can help. Just sign up for a free account, and we’ll give you a personalized credit analysis that will tell you what to improve and give you a better sense of how long it will take.
Here’s how long it takes to build credit with a secured credit card:
- If you have no credit, it will take 1 month to get a VantageScore and 6 to get a FICO score. Depending on how responsibly you use your card, your first score could be anywhere from bad to good.
- If you pay your bill on time and otherwise manage your finances responsibly, you can rebuild from a bad credit score (300-639) to a fair credit score (640-699) in approximately 12-18 months.
- A good credit score based on limited information could easily fall due to an increase in credit utilization or a single missed payment. Building and then keeping a good or excellent credit score requires consistency over time. This is a project measured in years.
- For people rebuilding credit, it will take 7-10 years for some negative information, like bankruptcies and late payments, to disappear from your credit report. But the older they are, the less impact they will have on your score.
If you’re looking to rebuild your credit, secured credit cards are the best way to do it. They’re easy to get and are indistinguishable from unsecured cards aside from the deposit requirement.
Rebuilding credit will take a while, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Some good behaviors to practice are always paying on time and using less than 30% of your available credit.
Checking your credit reports regularly for errors and disputing any you find is also important.