It generally takes at least a year to rebuild bad credit, which is usually defined as a credit score below 620. But how long it takes to repair credit score damage really depends on how bad it is and where you expect your score to be once fully rebuilt. Below, we’ll give you an idea of how long you can expect to wait in various situations, as well as what you can do to speed things up.
One wise idea is to sign up for a free WalletHub account. We’ll keep an eye on your credit 24/7 and tell you when we spot opportunities for improvement. Plus, we’ll perform a personalized credit analysis, grading each component of your latest credit score so you know what to fix.
Read on to learn more about standard credit score recovery timeframes, plus the factors that can throw you off schedule.
Timeframes for Rebuilding Credit
Every situation is a bit different, depending on what else you have on your credit report. But we can give you a general idea of how long it will take to recover from some common credit activities, using data from VantageScore. And they should know, considering that VantageScore is one of the two major credit-scoring companies.
Here are the recovery times you can expect:
|Type of Action||Maximum Score Damage||Approximate Recovery Time|
|Getting New Credit||-11%||3+ months|
|Closing an Account||-22%||3+ months|
|Maxing Out a Credit Card||-32%||3+ months|
|Missing/Defaulting on a Payment||-50%||18+ months|
|Declaring Bankruptcy||-90%||7-10 years|
4 Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Rebuild Credit
A whole host of factors can impact your credit score’s recovery timetable. They include:
- Your goals. How soon you’ll finish naturally depends on where you want to finish. If you’re aiming for good credit, it will take less time to get there than it would to reach excellent credit.
- Your starting point. The lower your credit score is, the further you’ll have to climb to rebuild.
- Your credit history. It will take a lot longer to rebuild a track record riddled with mistakes than to overcome a single misstep made when you’re new to credit. Furthermore, some types of negative information stay on your credit report for longer than others.
- Your future performance. Adding positive information to your credit reports is the only way to rebuild from damaged credit. And the best way to add positive info is to use a credit card responsibly. That, by the way, can include simply locking it in a drawer.
How to Fix Your Credit Faster
No one wants to have bad credit for long. And while it may take a while to rebuild your credit completely, there are some steps you can take to see immediate improvement. For the full scoop, you can check out WalletHub’s guide on how to build credit fast.
In the meantime, here are some quick pointers on how to speed things up:
- Pinpoint your problems. In order to fix things quickly, you need to first know what’s wrong. WalletHub’s free personalized credit analysis will tell you exactly what’s bringing you down and how long it will take you to fix it.
- Minimize credit utilization. You should never be using more than 30% of your available credit line, but if you want your score to improve more quickly, you’ll have to limit yourself to 1-10%.
- Dispute mistakes & negative authorized user info. Credit bureaus can slip up, and do so fairly often. If there’s mistaken negative information on your credit report, you can ask the bureau to remove it. If it goes away, your score may have a sudden rise.
Similarly, if an account you are or were an authorized user on is hurting your credit score, you should be able to get it removed from your credit reports by filing disputes with the major credit bureaus.
- Ask for proof of negative items. Sometimes, you can get negative information removed on a technicality. For example, if a collections company does not have paperwork proving you owe a debt, you may be able to successfully dispute a collections account on your credit report.
For even more tips on rebuilding your credit, check out WalletHub’s guide on the subject. Fortunately, bad credit does not have to be a life sentence.