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How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Credit Score?

Finding out you have a damaged credit score isn’t fun. Neither is working hard to repair a bad credit score. Even fixing a credit score in the high 600s can seem like an endless task. But how long does it really take to repair your credit score? Wondering how fast you can improve your credit? Here’s what you need to know.

How Long to Build Credit from Scratch?

In most cases, building credit for the first time is more straightforward than repairing a damaged credit score. Those with no credit history might struggle to get their first credit card – but only because they’re looking in the wrong place.

Most credit cards are unsecured, meaning they don’t require a security deposit as collateral. No deposit, however, means that lenders rely on credit scores to judge applicants – and those with no credit score often find themselves frozen out of credit.

Secured cards are the ideal option for those new to credit. Because secured cards require a cash deposit, even those without a credit history can qualify. All you need to do is fill out an application, make a cash deposit (typically a minimum of $200), and apply.

After making your first payment, you’ll have taken the first step in establishing your credit history. It may take several months before your score starts to climb considerably, but pay your balance every month and your score will soar.

Top Secured Cards for Establishing Credit

There are plenty of great secured credit cards to establish credit. These include cards from major issuers, like Capital One, Discover, and Citibank.

One of the most popular secured cards on the market today is the OpenSky Visa from Capital Bank. The card requires no credit check, meaning it won’t impact your credit score negatively when you apply. By getting the OpenSky and making payments, you will quickly build your credit – without any harm.

Other features of the card include a vast knowledge base designed to help you improve your credit understanding, as well as a competitive APR. This combination of a quality interest rate and in-depth resources make the OpenSky the perfect tool to quickly build a positive credit history.

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

No Credit Check to Apply

OpenSky® Secured Visa®
  • Regular Purchase APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $35
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Build credit with on-time payments
  • Reports to the three leading credit bureaus
  • Credit limist between $200 and $3,000
  • Visa benefits and protections
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $6 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
Credit Card Deals
  • Complimentary EZ Mini Crunchies (60g) when you spend S$120 - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
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Add cards to start comparing.

  

Other popular options for establishing credit include the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard, the Discover It Secured, and the Capital One Secured Platinum Mastercard.

How Long to Repair a Bad Credit Score?

While no one enjoys having a lower credit score, it is easier – and faster – to repair your credit. The best credit scores take years of hard work and dedication to achieve. But having an excellent credit score comes with risks – as well as rewards. Certain credit factors have a larger impact on your score than others, making even careless mistakes can cause your score to plummet.

Payment history is the factor with the largest impact on a person’s FICO credit score (worth about 35% of the total score). Similarly, credit use (or credit utilization) accounts for 30% of a FICO score. Someone with a perfect payment history can see their score fall by as many as 30 points – just for missing a payment. Conversely, someone with bad credit and a bad payment history won’t suffer as badly for the same problem.

Put simply, if your credit score is already bad, you have much less ground to cover before raising it. Missing a payment can take up to 18 months to wash off for those with excellent credit. Maxing out your credit card can add another three months – but fortunately, that is much easier to fix.

According to FICO, recovering from a bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale will take roughly seven years for those with a credit score over 720 – but only five years for someone with a 680 credit score. This example underlines just how badly someone with excellent credit can suffer from one financial misfortune.

The Best Credit Cards for Repairing Credit

Adding a line of credit is one of the best things to do if you want to raise your credit score. Adding another credit line raises the amount of available credit you have – and it lowers your credit utilization.

The perfect credit card for repairing credit, however, depends on your credit score. For those with excellent or good credit, a card like the Upgrade Card is a robust option. The Upgrade Card acts as a hybrid debt-consolidation/balance transfer card. Successful applicants gain access to a line of credit of up to $20,000, an APR as low as 6.99%, and flexible repayment plans of up to 60 months.

Upgrade Card

Credit Line Up to $20,000

Upgrade Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 6.99%-29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good , Fair
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Choose the Upgrade card with a personal credit line instead of a credit card and enjoy predictable payments on lines from $500-$20,000
  • No Fees – No annual fees and no fees to use your card
  • Quick and easy application – find out if you qualify in minutes
  • Checking your line won’t hurt your credit score
  • Free access to credit monitoring, alerts and features to help you understand your credit
  • Use wherever Visa is accepted. (cannot be used at an ATM)
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 6.99%-29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
Credit Card Deals
  • Complimentary EZ Mini Crunchies (60g) when you spend S$120 - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • 10% off museum entry - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save up to 55% on London theater tickets - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 10% on Tower of London access tickets - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
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  • Save 5% with Enterprise Rent-A-Car® at participating locations - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% on The Paris Explorer Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% on The London Explorer Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% when you purchase your Go Barcelona Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% when you purchase your Go Bangkok Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • View All Deals -

Those with a fair credit score have quality credit repair options, as well. These options include the Surge Mastercard, the Reflex Mastercard, the Total Visa, and the First Digital NextGen Mastercard. All these cards provide access to the credit you want, regular reporting to the major credit bureaus you need, and the purchase protection of the Visa and Mastercard payment networks.

Those with bad credit scores may struggle to find additional credit offers. That said, there are still plenty of decent credit cards available -including secured credit cards.

The First Access Solid Black Visa is a popular option for bad credit scores. The card offers fast approval, reasonable credit limits, and regular reporting to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

First Access Solid Black VISA® Credit Card

Raise Credit with Monthly Activity Reporting

First Access Solid Black VISA® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms*
  • Annual Fee See Terms*
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • All credit histories considered for this no security deposit credit card
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won't
  • Easy and secure online application
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-featured, unsecured Visa® credit card - accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Annual Fee: See Terms*
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
Credit Card Deals
  • Complimentary EZ Mini Crunchies (60g) when you spend S$120 - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • 10% off museum entry - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save up to 55% on London theater tickets - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 10% on Tower of London access tickets - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save 5% with Alamo® at participating locations - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save 5% with Enterprise Rent-A-Car® at participating locations - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% on The Paris Explorer Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% on The London Explorer Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% when you purchase your Go Barcelona Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • Save an extra 5% when you purchase your Go Bangkok Pass - Offer Expires on December 31, 2020 - See Details
  • View All Deals -

Other popular options include the Milestone Gold MasterCard and the Indigo Platinum Mastercard.

Conclusion

Repairing bad credit takes time and effort. It takes even more time for those with excellent credit that hit a few bumps in the road. For more information on repairing bad credit, check out our dedicated bad credit resources.

Related Article:  What’s the Fastest Way to Repair Bad Credit?

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.