You may be struggling with a poor credit score right now, but no matter the circumstances, you can improve your credit over time. Your situation and credit history will determine how long it’ll take to rebuild your credit.

What Takes More Time?

looking at credit scoreAnything that damages your creditworthiness will take time to repair. The more severe the issues, the bigger the hit your credit will take. Some examples of these types of issues are:

  • Missing one or more payments on an account
  • Declaring bankruptcy
  • Defaulting on a loan
  • Having a loan turned over to a collection agency
  • Having your wages garnished
  • Using a loan consolidation service to negotiate debt reductions with lenders

It can take years before your credit is fully recovered if you struggle with one or more of these issues. Negative information can stay on a credit report for as long as seven or 10 years.

A good tip is to consistently check your credit reports. If you catch any false information that's affecting your score, have it removed. You’re entitled to one free copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). You can request these by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

What Takes Less Time?

On the flip side, if you have no credit history, you can build credit fairly quickly. One of the easiest ways to build credit is to get a credit card. Each month that you responsibly use your card to make purchases, while paying the monthly bill on time, will increase your score.

If you have some credit history, another way to increase your score quickly is to pay down your credit card balances to improve your credit utilization ratio. This is the percentage of available credit that you're using. To calculate this, divide your credit card balances by your credit limits. For example, if your balance is $600 on a card with a $3,000 limit, your utilization ratio is 20 percent. The lower the ratio, the higher your credit score.

Bottom Line

With a little patience and time, you can build your credit score back up so you can qualify for better interest rates. In fact, when you're ready to buy your next car, Auto Credit Express can help you find a dealership even if you’re struggling with bad credit.

We're teamed up with a national network of special finance dealerships that are capable of helping consumers in unique credit situations. We'll work to connect you with one when you begin the process by filling out our free and secure auto loan request form.