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How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Credit?

Written by Mike Pearson
Updated September 26, 2022

If you’ve been turned down for a loan or credit card because you have bad credit, you probably want to raise your credit score—and fast.

While each person’s credit situation is unique, generally speaking, the credit repair process will take anywhere from two to six months.

To do it, though, you’ve got to commit to putting in the work required to raise your score.

If you have a solid work ethic and a healthy dollop of patience, you should be able to see your score climb within less than a year.  

How Long Will Negative Information Appear on My Credit Report?

If you’ve ever tried to shed a few pounds, you know it’s a lot easier to gain weight than it is to lose it. Credit scores work in a similar fashion. It’s generally a whole lot easier to damage your score than it is to repair it.

For example, if you mismanaged your credit cards in college, you may now find yourself with poor credit utilization or a long list of late payments. When you’re ready to lease a car or buy your first home, mistakes from years ago can come back to haunt you in the form of a bad credit score.  

To make things worse, negative information can stick around on your credit report for a long time. Late payments will stay for three years, while something like a bankruptcy will appear on your report for up to 10 years.

Pay Attention to the 5 Credit Score Factors

As you prepare to roll up your sleeves and get down to the business of repairing your credit, it’s important to understand how the credit bureaus use five scoring factors to calculate your credit score. This will help you learn how the credit scoring game works, as well as identify what’s actually bringing your score down.

While each scoring model varies a bit, your credit score is made up of the following five factors, each of which carries its own specific weight. 

Credit Factor What It MeansHow Important Is It?
Payment HistoryWhether you make your payments on time35% of your score
Credit Utilization The ratio of your credit balance to your available credit limit30%
Credit HistoryHow long you’ve used credit15%
Credit MixThe type of accounts that make up your credit report10%
New CreditHow many new accounts you have10%

As you can see, your payment history is the most heavily weighted scoring factor, accounting for one-third of your total score. The other factors are certainly important, but even a handful of late payments can sink your credit score.  

Credit Repair Timeline

If you’re just starting out in the credit repair process, you might not know where to begin. And if you’re unsure what to do and how to do it, the whole process can feel overwhelming. In some cases, people throw in the towel and give up before they’ve even begun.

But take heart. By breaking down the credit repair process into a manageable timeline, you can tackle one task at a time.

Credit Repair StepsHow Long Will It Take?
Step 1: Order & review your credit reports1-2 days
Step 2: Draft & file dispute letters (with each credit bureau)1-2 days
Step 3: Wait for a response from the credit bureaus30 days

The first step is to order and review your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can get a free report from all three credit bureaus by visiting

If you spot an error or inaccurate item, your next step is to draft and file dispute letters with each credit bureau. Common errors include inaccurate information (such as a wrong address), open accounts that are listed as closed, negative items that should have dropped off, and duplicate accounts.

Sometimes, creditors will also incorrectly list a consumer as a joint borrower with a spouse or child. For example, you might be mistakenly listed as an account holder on your spouse’s credit card or your child’s student loan. If you find these errors, you should dispute them with the credit bureaus. 

The credit repair timeline will vary for each person, and it might be shorter or longer depending on how many negative items you have and how many dispute letters you need to file. Generally, however, you can expect the credit repair process to take anywhere between two and six months.  

Rebuilding Your Credit as Your Repair It

As you repair your credit by fixing inaccurate items and information, it’s equally important to focus on rebuilding your credit. If repairing means cleaning up your credit past, rebuilding involves looking after the present and toward the future.

To rebuild your credit, pay attention to the five credit scoring factors. This means making on-time payments, keeping your credit utilization low, having a good mix of credit types, and avoiding taking on too much new credit.

You can’t do much about your credit history (how long you’ve used credit), but this factor is just 15 percent of your overall credit score. By working hard on the other factors, you can rebuild while you repair.  

When It Makes Sense to Hire a Credit Repair Company

In some cases, people turn to a credit repair company to help them fix a bad credit score. While you’re capable of doing anything a credit repair company can do, it sometimes makes sense to hire a professional. 

Reputable credit repair companies have experience, time, and manpower—three things you might not have in ample supply. If you’re short on time or feeling frustrated by the credit repair process, it might make sense to outsource your efforts.

Just as you have the ability to cut your own lawn or weed your own flower beds, sometimes it’s easier and faster to hire a landscaper. Our top-rated credit repair company is Credit Saint.

On the other hand, credit repair companies don’t work for free. It costs nothing to go through the credit repair steps on your own. The fees for a credit repair service vary, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $100 per month while you use the service. 

Looking Ahead

Repairing your credit takes hard work and patience, but the results are well worth the effort. If you’ve made money mistakes in the past, it can be rewarding to clean up your credit and take charge of your finances.

In addition to snagging better interest rates and more favorable loan terms, you’ll also gain a better understanding of how credit scoring works and what factors affect your credit score.   

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Mike Pearson

Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in Investopedia,, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.