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How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Credit?

Dear Experian,

How can I remove collections and late payments and repair my credit report? How long does it take? I would like to buy a house in four months.

– PSO

Dear PSO,

There is no quick and easy way to “repair” or “fix” your credit. The length of time it takes to rebuild your credit history depends on how serious the financial difficulties were and how severely they affected your credit history. It could take just a few months, or it could require several years of commitment.

How Long Will Negative Information Appear on My Credit Report?

Negative payment information, such as collections and late payments, will remain on your credit report for seven years, while certain public record information, such as Chapter 7 bankruptcies and unpaid tax liens, remains for up to 10 years.

Negative information tends to affect you less and less as time goes on, but serious delinquencies such as charge offs or collections are harder to recover from than one or two missed payments. However, there are ways to begin the process of improving your credit history as soon as possible and as quickly as possible.

What Can I Do to Repair My Credit?

  1. The single most important factor in determining your credit worthiness is your payment history.
    If you haven’t already, you should begin by paying off any outstanding debts and bringing any accounts that are currently past due up to date.
  2. The second most important factor is your utilization rate.
    Your utilization rate is calculated by adding up the total of all your credit card balances and dividing them by the total of all your credit card limits. The lower your utilization rate, the better, so reducing or paying off any balances you are carrying on your credit cards will positively impact your credit report and scores.

Pay Attention to the Factors Affecting Your Credit Score

Aside from paying down balances and making sure all your accounts are kept current, you may want to consider ordering a copy of your credit score. When you order a copy of your credit score from Experian, you will receive with it a list of the top factors that are currently affecting the number.

Since everyone’s credit history is unique, paying attention to the score factors will help you gain a clearer understanding of what you can do to improve your credit over time.

Because your credit report reflects serious delinquencies, such as collection accounts, it may be difficult to see significant improvement in just four months. But, if you keep your balances low and make all your payments on time going forward, your credit score should continue to improve and you will eventually be able to get that house.

Thanks for asking,
The “Ask Experian” Team

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