How Long Does it Take to Repair Your Credit?

Repairing your credit history is a process that takes years. The following information will help you understand what your credit history is, what "repairing" it means and what short- and long-term actions you can take to make a difference.

What Is Your Credit History?

Anyone who borrows from a lender has a credit history. The existence of your loans is reported to the three primary credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This credit history also includes negatives such as late payments or legal actions.

Using your credit history, the Fair Isaac Corp. calculates a credit score for you between 300 and 800. The median U.S. score in 723. An excellent score is 760, and a poor score is 620 or below. Lenders, insurers and landlords with a legitimate business relationship with you can look at your FICO score, and the score, in part, determines interest rates on your borrowing or whether you can borrow at all.

What Does 'Repair My Credit' Mean?

If a history of late payments or legal action has lowered your credit score, to repair your credit history means improving that score by removing the negative information.

It's important to note that your credit score derives from more than just negatives on your history. Your score can be lowered by having frequent and multiple loan applications, so you can't "borrow your way" to a better score in the short term. The new borrowing, even if it reduces your total monthly payments, can lower your score.

Quick Fix

Many companies advertise that for a fee they will repair your credit history and score quickly. There is only one "quick fix" to repair your credit history, and that is if there are mistakes on your credit report.

You are entitled to a free credit report each year from one of the three credit reporting bureaus. A report costs about $30 otherwise. The first step to repair your credit is to check your report for errors. If there are mistakes, such as a late payment that you made on time,  write the credit bureau with a copy of supporting documentation. They must acknowledge receipt of your claim in 30 days, and, if it is not a frivolous claim, they must send it to the lender in question. If you are found to be correct, the negative information will be removed. This is the only quick fix to repair your credit history.

Long-Term Steps

Most of the information on your credit history has a seven-year life span. A bankruptcy can stay on for 10 years, which is why it is such a drastic step. You can repair your credit history in seven years by maintaining sound debt-repayment habits and allowing the bad information to fall off.

Steps to Take Now

Most likely, poor financial habits made it necessary to repair your credit history and got you behind in payments. Talk to your lenders for a solution to current problems. Debt consolidation might lower payments and let you keep up with them. Even though you will owe more over time, you won't further damage your credit. Streamline your budget or reduce your lifestyle so that you can afford to pay your debt, pay your living expenses and build for the future.

Improve Your Credit Score - Free Consultation