How long will it take to fix my credit?

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When you start to take repairing your credit seriously, it’s understandable to want quick results. Let’s say you start making responsible financial decisions and taking actions to dispute negative items on your report but don’t see any significant changes to your credit score. You might start asking yourself, “Just how long does it take to fix credit?”

The truth is that there’s no definitive time frame for how long it can take. Ultimately, whether credit repair is a short or long process will depend on a number of factors.

There are credit repair companies out there that are skilled at what they do and can move the process along in a timely manner. However, you’ll want to avoid any company that promises a specific timeline. Guaranteeing credit repair results by a certain date is illegal and can indicate a credit repair scam.

So, how long will credit repair take, and can you make the process go faster? Keep reading to find out.

How long does credit repair take?

You need to set realistic expectations for the credit repair process. Seeing significant results in a matter of weeks is highly unlikely. Still, the exact number of months or years it can take greatly varies from person to person.

Several factors can influence how long an individual’s credit repair process takes. Some of the most common factors include:

  • Inaccurate vs. accurate items: If you have incorrect or unsubstantiated negative items on your credit report, you can file a dispute to have these items removed. The dispute can take several months to process, but if approved, the item should eventually be removed from your credit report. After the removal, your credit score should improve. If you have accurate and substantiated negative items on your report, though, there’s less chance you can get them removed.
  • The severity of negative items: Serious accurate negative items can stay on your credit report for longer periods. For example, late payments and collection accounts can remain for up to seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcies can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. You can take actions during this time to improve your credit score, but tangible results will be harder to achieve as serious negative items keep your score low.
  • Prior credit history: How long it takes to fix your credit partially depends on how poor your credit was to begin with. If you have a decade of poor financial actions stacked up on your report, it will take some time to show new behavior patterns. In comparison, if someone only slipped up for the last six months, they can likely bounce back faster.
  • Your credit goal: Another consideration is what you’re working toward. While reaching a low-700s score is often manageable, someone who wants to achieve a score of 800 will find themselves having to work longer.
  • DIY vs. credit repair services: Most services a credit repair company offer you are things you can technically do on your own. The main difference is that credit repair companies have the time to painstakingly comb through your credit report for inaccuracies and communicate with the credit bureaus.

    Additionally, you only get the opportunity to dispute a negative item once with a credit bureau (unless you uncover new information). This means you’ll want to give your dispute the highest chance of being reviewed and approved. Credit repair companies file hundreds of disputes a month and know how to provide the bureaus with precisely what they need, which increases the chances of a dispute being reviewed.


The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) is a federal law meant to protect consumers by prohibiting credit repair organizations from making false promises. As we already mentioned, organizations can’t make assurances about how quickly they can help you or guarantee they can remove accurate negative items from your report—so keep an eye out for these kinds of promises.

Understand the dispute process

Consumers can, and should, dispute inaccurate and unsubstantiated negative items on their reports. You can have incorrect negative items on your report due to fraud or inaccurate reporting on the lender’s part. Even if just the details of the negative item are incorrect—such as the dates, amounts or lender names—you can dispute it.

Once you submit a dispute to a credit bureau (or a credit repair service does so on your behalf), they have 30 to 45 days to contact the lender and verify the negative item’s information. The credit bureau has 30 to 45 days to respond to you about your dispute. If they require more information, a back-and-forth might begin between yourself, the credit bureaus and the lenders. In these situations, it can take several months to settle the dispute.

How long do accurate negative items stay on a credit report?

You cannot remove accurate and substantiated negative items from your credit report. These actions happened, and the lenders have the data to prove it. When it comes to authentic, proven negative items on your account, you simply have to wait for these items to fall off. In the meantime, you can work hard to establish a more positive credit history.

The following items can stay on your credit report for an extended period:

  • Hard inquiries: 2 years
  • Late payments: 7 years
  • Charge-offs/Collection accounts: 7 years
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcies: 7 years
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcies: 10 years

What can you do to help repair your credit?

While it can be disheartening to know that a past mistake will haunt you for seven years or more, the good news is that items generally have less of an effect on your score the older they are. Additionally, taking positive steps to repair your credit can help you see an improvement on your report.

Know and work on the five credit factors

The first step in improving your credit is understanding what matters to the credit bureaus. Your credit score is based on five credit factors:

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization ratio
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit
  • Types of credit

As you learn about the five credit factors, you’ll begin to understand the “rules” you should be following to score well with credit bureaus. For example, it’s important to keep your credit utilization ratio as low as you can to show you’re not reliant on credit. You’ll also learn other valuable tips, such as how you should avoid opening multiple new accounts all at once.

Regularly check your credit reports

Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually. You should take advantage of this and check your reports every year, reviewing any negative items to ensure they’re correct. Negative items pull your credit score down, so anytime you find an incorrect item, you should dispute it.

Work with credit repair services

DIY credit repair is absolutely an option, but it could be beneficial to work with professionals for multiple reasons. First, it’s likely you don’t have the time or patience to comb through all your credit reports. A credit repair service, such as, can help check your reports and look for items that need to be addressed.

Secondly, since credit repair companies file so many disputes daily, they know how to get your dispute through the system. They have an understanding of what the credit bureaus want to see to move forward with a dispute. This is perhaps the most significant reason so many people choose to work with a credit repair service—after all, you want to have the best chances of your dispute being accepted.

It takes a lot of effort and patience to fix your credit. Still, it’s very much worth it when you see your score increase. Experian’s Director of Public Education Rod Griffin stresses the significance of even a slight jump in your score, stating, “Depending on your credit history, a 15- or 20-point shift could mean the difference between being approved or declined or better terms or higher costs.”

Your low credit score could be preventing you from following through on some exciting opportunities. Take back control today with professional credit repair.

Note: The information provided on does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only.

Written by Anthony Moore

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Anthony Moore started working for November of 2016. Anthony Moore started as a credit advisor, and quickly advanced to to helping members get caught up on their overdue payments. In addition to reviewing and writing content for, Anthony assists other credit advisors with approvals and supports the credit repair process.

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