How long does it take to improve your credit score? – Forbes Advisor


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If you have bad credit, you may feel like a red mark follows you everywhere you go. Working to improve your credit is a worthy goal because the better your credit, the better the rates you will receive on all your loans like mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. But how long does it take to see a change?

There is no exact answer to this, as each person’s financial situation is unique and complex. Typically, depending on where you start and how you manage your finances, it can take between a month and up to 10 years. Here’s what to consider when it comes to how long it will take to see an improvement in your score.

How fast is your credit score updated?

Unlike many financial metrics, your credit score doesn’t flow silently in the background, changing without your knowledge. Instead, it’s recalculated whenever you or a company requests it. If you request it often, it will be updated more frequently. The most popular free credit score websites request this information monthly; this way you get a new score update every 30 days.

It also depends on how often the companies you do business with share your information. For example, if your credit card company doesn’t report your payments until the end of the month, you won’t see the impact of your payments on your credit score until then, even if you pay it off at the beginning of the month. .

What factors influence how long it takes to improve your credit score?

The time it takes to establish your credit score varies depending on a few factors:

  • Length of time you have had credit. If you’re just starting out, it may be easier to improve your credit score by opening a credit card and paying it off responsibly. These things may have a greater impact if you are new to using credit than if you have a more established credit record.
  • Your current credit score. If you rebuild your credit score after a drop, it will take longer to rebuild a high credit score to its former glory than if you started with a lower credit score.
  • Any negative impact and type. Not all negative ratings are equal. Paying 30 days late will not have as much impact on your credit score as paying 90 days late, for example. Declaring bankruptcy or suffering a foreclosure can also have greater negative impacts on your credit score.

In general, most negative information stays on your credit report for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can even stay on your credit report for 10 years. The good news is that over time, the negative impact of these scores will lessen. It’s possible that by the time the negative scores disappear from your credit report, they will barely have an impact.

How long does it take for your credit score to recover after being hit?

In order to understand how long it will take for you personally to improve your credit, it may be helpful to consult a FICO study on the average time it takes to recover your credit score to its original number after a negative score on your credit report. .

This study was only done for mortgage payments, but it’s likely to be similar for other types of negative ratings, such as paying your student loans late or repossessing a car. if you do not repay your car loan.

In general, the longer you forfeit a payment you owe, the longer it will take to collect it. And the higher your credit score was at the start, the longer it will take to recover. Know that there are things you can do to prevent this from happening and to build up some credit in the meantime.

Best Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

The most important thing you can do to improve your credit score is to make all your payments on time. Keeping balances low against your total limits, especially for credit cards, is another crucial thing you can do to improve your credit score. Together, these two factors (payment history and credit usage) make up 65% of your score.

An easy way to avoid late payments is to sign up for automatic payment of all your bills. It can be difficult to keep track of multiple bills due at different times and pay them manually each month. Autopay can eliminate that friction, and you’ll never have to worry about a late payment. Just make sure you have enough money in your bank account to cover each of the automatic payments; otherwise it will count as a negative rating, which is what you are trying to avoid in the first place.

The fastest ways to improve your credit score

Making all your payments on time is the best way to improve your credit score, but it can take a long time. In the meantime, there are things you can do to increase your score even faster, and it could have an equally big impact depending on your situation:

  • Use a credit score simulator. Some free services such as Chase Credit Journey allow you to see what happens to your credit score in different cases, such as a late payment or the repayment of all your credit cards. This can guide you to the most effective ways to improve your credit score for your individual case.
  • Pay off your credit card balances. If you can, paying off your credit card balances can help boost your credit score as soon as your credit card company reports this data to the credit bureaus.
  • Request a credit limit increase on your credit cards. At the same time, requesting a credit limit increase is an easy way to increase your credit utilization rate. This makes your current debt a smaller part of your available credit, which is an important factor in your credit score. However, be careful not to use more credit due to your increased credit limit. Credit responsibility is essential.
  • Check your report and dispute any errors. You can usually check each of your three credit reports once a year for free at However, due to the pandemic, you can receive free weekly credit reports until April 20, 2022. Review your credit report, and if you find anything wrong, you can dispute it so it doesn’t not penalize you unfairly.
  • Consider linking alternative payments. Programs like Experian Boost allow you to connect payments from your cell phone, utility, and/or video streaming platform to show responsible credit behavior. A program like this is best for someone who is new to credit.


Building a strong credit rating doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does repairing a credit score after making mistakes. There are several proactive steps you can take to help improve your overall credit profile. But at the end of the day, a combination of time and an on-time payment pattern are the best tools to help your credit score climb.

Increase your FICO® score instantly with Experian Boost™

Experian can help you increase your FICO® score based on paying bills like your phone, utilities, and popular streaming services. Results may vary. See website for more details.


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