How long does it take to repair credit?

Credit repairBad credit can affect every aspect of your life. Bad credit means higher interest rates for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and installment loans. Bad credit can also cost you a job. Federal law permits prospective and current employers to see a customized version of your credit report for employment purposes, including hiring and promoting. Insurance companies are also using credit reports to determine insurance rates. Repairing your credit doesn't have to take a long time. It's really a combination of disputing the derogatory credit items and establishing new and good credit.

The first step in repairing your credit yourself is to obtain a copy of your credit report. You are entitled you to one free credit report every 12 months from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To obtain a copy of your credit report, simply go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. The credit agencies are not required to provide you with your credit score. You're also entitled to a free credit report if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report.

Undoubtedly one of the quickest ways to see an improvement in your credit scores is removing negative, inaccurate information off of your credit reports. The Fair Credit Report Act requires the credit bureaus to respond and resolve a dispute within 30 days, a few exceptions can extend the time period to 45 days. If the error shows up on all three credit reports, dispute the error with all three credit agencies. One credit bureau is not going to correct the mistake with the other bureaus.

The amount of time it takes to repair a credit report depends on the number of derogative credit accounts and establishing new on time credit.

According to a Federal Trade Commission report on credit report accuracy, found that 79% of people who disputed a credit report error, had that error removed. The credit agencies cannot report obsolete negative information. In most cases, the credit agency may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.

How long does it take to repair credit?

It can take a while for the bad credit "to age off". Negative credit can remain on your credit report:

  • Bankruptcies: 10 years from the filing date; 7 years for Chapter 13 cases
  • Charge-Offs: 7 years from the date the account was charged off
  • Collection Accounts: 7 years and 180 days from the date of delinquency on the original debt
  • Foreclosures: 7 years
  • Judgments: If the judgment has been paid, 7 years. If unpaid, potentially longer
  • Late Payments: 7 years from the late payment date
  • Repossessions: 7 years
  • Short Sales: 7 years
  • Tax Liens: 7 years after they are paid

Speak to each creditor and explain to the creditor that you want to improve your credit file and want to reach an agreement with the creditor. You might be surprised to hear that the creditor may offer you acceptable terms to resolve the delinquency. The creditor may accept partial payment or give you easy terms. Any agreement should be in writing and after completing the arrangement, the creditor will remove any derogative information on your credit report.

The credit repair process may only take 3-6 months before you see improvement in your credit score.

Steps To Repair Your Credit


Repairing bad credit takes time but it will be worth the effort. However, be aware that no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. Only the passage of time can assure removal of a negative item. A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for ten years. Other items such as criminal convictions have no time limits.

Once you have found a way to manage your current debt, you can start taking steps to repair your credit.

First: Make timely payments. This will began establishing your new payment history, which a creditor should take into account.

Second: Get a copy of your credit report. Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) consumers are entitled to receive a free credit report each year.

Third: Carefully review your report. Are items in your report accurate? or are they incomplete? Are they untimely [over 7 years for debts, 10 for bankruptcy]?

Fourth: If your answer to any item in step three is yes, dispute it.

Fifth: Even if you find no inaccurate, incomplete or untimely items, order your free credit reports annually to stay on top of any changes that may appear.

Sixth: Whether or not you can or do dispute an item, consider closing unused charge accounts, (starting with the most recent), limit credit inquiries, and rebuild your credit by starting small and building up gradually, making sure to pay on a timely basis. SOURCE: Texas Attorney General