How Long Does It Take To Repair Your Credit?

Updated: December 19, 2023 Author:

Quick answer: The time it takes to repair your credit will depend on your specific financial circumstances. Positive credit building can take one month if you have just started using credit. However, repairing credit due to missed payments may take several months; after bankruptcy, it may take years.

    What Is Credit?

    Credit refers to a contractual agreement between a lender and a borrower. Having credit makes it possible for you to borrow money now and repay it at a later date. Lenders offering your credit typically charge interest, fees and other costs.

    A popular form of credit is a credit card. This enables you to spend up to your monthly credit card limit and pay off your balance monthly. 

    What Is A Credit Score?

    A credit score is a 3-digit sum calculated by a credit reference agency. The UK has three leading credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. To perform the calculation, many factors are considered, and we will explore them in more detail below.

    Each credit reference agency calculates a credit score in its own way, so your credit score will differ from Experience vs. TransUnion. For example, Experian scores from 0-999, whereas TransUnion scores from 0-710. Credit scores within a band are given a credit rating. TransUnion uses the following credit ratings:

    Credit Score RangeCredit Rating
    Below 565Needs Work
    Between 566 and 603Fair
    Between 604 and 627Good
    Above 628Excellent

    Knowing your current credit score and the factors determining it is the first step toward repairing your credit.

    What Factors Influence Your Credit Score?

    Credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) consider many factors when calculating your credit score. If the factors below demonstrate that you manage your finances well, you will gain points, but anything negative will mean you lose points. For example, your credit score can be reduced by:

    • Payment History/ Missed Payments: having a history of missed or late payments
    • Credit Limit/Utilisation: exceeding your credit limit or having a high credit utilisation
    • Financial association: holding joint accounts with someone with a poor credit rating
    • Time on the electoral roll: having recently moved or not being on the electoral roll
    • Derogatory remarks: bankruptcy, home repossessions of County Court Judgements (CCJs)
    • New accounts: applying for credit too often

    The factors in this diagram can improve or harm your credit score. 

    How Long Does Negative Information Stay On Your Credit Report?

    Credit information stays on your report for at least six years in the UK. The table below provides examples of negative information and how long they remain on your credit report.

    Negative InformationTime On Your Credit Report
    Bankruptcy6 – 15 years
    Late payments6 years
    County Court Judgements6 years
    Debt Relief Orders6 years
    Defaulted Debts6 years
    Individual Voluntary Arrangements6 years
    Negative entries with serious implications include CCJs, bankruptcies, IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), and Debt Relief Orders (England and Wales). In Scotland, similar records go by different names. Trust Deeds, Decrees, and a Debt Payment Program (DPP) are negative entries in Scotland. For more information on how CCJs and bankruptcies affect your creditworthiness, see here.

    Other events can negatively impact your credit score. For example, most hard searches remain on your credit report for 12 months. This is why making too many credit applications at once will harm your credit score.

    What Can You Do To Repair Your Credit?

    Start by understanding your current credit score and what factors are impacting it. Bringing your outstanding debts up-to-date is the best way to start repairing your credit.

    Credit Monitoring Apps

    There are many credit monitoring apps to consider, and you can read more about them here. These apps use information from credit reference agencies and provide tips on improving your credit score.

    Demonstrate Payment History

    Your payment history is the most crucial factor in repairing your credit. By making all your debt payments on time going forward, you demonstrate that you manage your finances. Negative information tends to have less impact on your credit score as time passes. 

    You can also request a credit reference to a “notice of correction” against a late payment. This short paragraph, up to 200 words, explains why a payment was late. For example, you may have missed a payment due to redundancy or ill health. Adding a “notice of correction” that explains this can demonstrate to future lenders that this was a one-off occurrence. 

    Reduce Credit Utilisation

    This is calculated by dividing your credit card balances by your credit card limits. For example, let’s say you have two credit cards with the following balances and limits:

    Credit CardBalanceLimit
    Credit Card A£400£500
    Credit Card B£130£250
    Total£530£750

    The credit utilisation is £530 / £750 = 0.71 = 71%

    A credit utilisation below 25% will positively impact your credit score. Try to reduce or pay off any balances to keep your credit utilisation low, or even ask your lender to increase your credit limit. You could see an improvement in your score within one month. We have more information on using a credit card to improve your credit score here.

    Electoral Roll

    Being on the electoral is a simple way to boost your credit score.

    Debt Consolidation

    If outstanding debts harm your credit score, taking out a personal loan for debt consolidation may be beneficial to roll everything into one monthly payment. This monthly payment must be manageable for you to demonstrate consistency in repaying your debts.

    Report Rent Payments

    Rental Exchange is an organisation that has introduced a way of adding your rent payments to your credit report. This means your regular rent payments are recorded and verified, enabling them to update your credit report. This may help with mortgage applications and other tenancy agreements by demonstrating a history of on-time payments.

    Dispute Inaccurate Information

    This could be caused by your credit card company incorrectly reporting that you missed a payment. Start by contacting the credit card company, and if they agree, they should report the update to the credit reference agency. If they do not see an error, you should contact the credit reference agency directly. 

    More Information

    For further tips on improving your credit score, please read How To Improve Your Credit Score Fast.

    What Are The Benefits Of Repairing Your Credit?

    A credit score determines your creditworthiness, and the higher it is, the more favourable a lender will view you. By repairing your credit score, you are more likely to be:

    • Approved for credit via a credit card, loan, mortgage or phone contract
    • Offered a higher credit limit
    • Offered lower interest rates

    Summary

    We have seen that many factors influence the time it takes to repair your credit score. It can take several months to years to significantly improve your credit score. You will improve your score by practising good borrowing habits, like paying your bills on time and reducing your credit utilisation.