If you are wondering how long it takes to build up your credit score, the answer is “it depends”. We will give you all of the information you need to apply your current financial situation to the factors that go into building up your credit score and getting you on the path to an excellent credit score. Allowing you access to all of the financial options you may need in the future while saving you money in the process.
Aspects of a Credit Score
To start off we will cover what goes into a credit score and how you maximize each part so you can start building up your credit score.
Your credit score is a 3 digit number that gives financial institutions an instant grade of your creditworthiness. Which is basically a view of how likely you are to pay back money that you borrow. There are six main factors that go into determining what your credit score is. While each of these factors are viewed differently by varying credit bureaus, if you maximize each one, you will be on your way to building up your credit faster.
1. Credit Utilization
Credit utilization is the percentage of available credit that you are using. To keep it simple, lets say that you have 1 credit card that has a limit of $1,000 and you currently have a balance of $500 on it. You would be using 50% of your available credit, resulting in a 50% credit utilization factor. Your credit utilization is taken at the time that your credit card company reports your credit to the credit bureaus. So by maintaining a healthy credit utilization factor you will be working to improve your credit score. A great number to keep in mind is 30%. By using less than 30% of your available credit you will be working to improve your credit score over time.
2. Age of Open Credit Accounts
The longer that you have had an open line of credit the more information credit bureaus have to determine your score. This is why it is important to start establishing credit sooner than later. Also, try no to close out credit accounts that you no longer use if possible. For a credit card, as long as there is no annual fee, you can pay off any balance that you have, cut up your card and leave the account open. Always make sure that you do not have any reoccurring charges going to that card that you may forget about.
3. Negative Marks on Your Credit Report
This could include late payments, outstanding balances, bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens, and more. Whenever you do something negative that forces your creditors to note it on your credit report is can stay on there for 7 to 10 years. Be sure to check your credit report frequently to can find any of these notes and work to correct them. Also, make sure that there are not any negative mistakes on your credit report and have them corrected as soon as possible if you find any. By getting them removed you will see your credit score improve a lot faster than leaving them there.
4. On-time Payments
The one thing that you have 100% control over is making payments that you owe on time. Even if you can only afford to make just the minimum payment, make sure to pay on time. Otherwise it will end up costing you more money in the long run by lowering your credit score. If you already have late payments noted on your credit report, make sure to make all future payments on time and you will see your score start to improve.
5. Types of Credit Accounts Open
There are two types of credit accounts you can have, revolving and installment. Revolving credit accounts are things like credit cards. You can have a different balance and different payment to make each month. Installment loans are things like mortgages and auto loans. You have the same payment each month until it is paid off. By having both kinds of credit accounts open you will be able to improve your credit score faster. But don’t open new credit accounts just to raise your credit score. Use them if you need them, and make sure to always make your payments on time and in full if possible.
6. Number of Hard Credit Inquires
When you apply for credit the lender will do a hard check on your credit report to see if you qualify. One check every so often will not have an effect on your credit score that you can’t recover from. But many hard inquires in a short period of time will have a larger negative effect on your score and make you look desperate for credit.
Now that you know the factors that go into your credit score we go back to the original question “How long does it take to build credit?”
No Credit History
If you have no credit history to go off of to get your credit score then it can be easy to establish it. The easiest, and most cost effective, way to start building your credit is with a credit card. As long as you keep in mind the factors above and use it correctly and responsibly. With this being said it brings up another question “How can I qualify for a credit card with no credit history?”
A great tool, created by Creditcards.com, is the CardMatch Tool. All you do is enter some simple information and it will give you credit card offers targeted to your credit profile. It will even show you credit card offers for instant approval, if there are any available. What makes this tool even better is that it only does a soft credit check. Which means you can check back as often as you want with no effect on your credit score.
Secured Credit Card
Another option is to get a secured credit card. There is no approval process because you have to put down a deposit up front to get a secured credit card. Your deposit will be used in the case that you fail to make any of your payments. If you stay on top of your account, when you are ready to close your secured credit card you will get your initial deposit back. One of the best options available for secured credit cards is the OpenSky Secured Credit Card.
Utilize Your Credit Card Responsibly to Build Your Credit Score Faster
After you get a credit card you can start to use it to build up your credit score. Remember the factors listed above and you will be on your way to a great credit score.
1. Always pay your bill on time, and hopefully in full to avoid interest.
2. Try and stay below 30% of your credit limit to maximize how much your score can increase.
3. Don’t close out your credit card account before trying to open other credit accounts to maintain the length of your credit history.
If you are in the market for an installment loan, mortgage, auto loan, etc, then you can use that to build up your credit score. These loans are pretty straight forward and you will have the same due date and same payment to make every month. Make sure to always make your payments on time and in full and you will see your credit score start to increase over time.
What About Already Having a Bad Credit Score?
If you already have established credit and it is in the “bad” range, then you should work to correct the blemishes that are already on your credit report. If you have missed payments on a credit card then you should work to pay off the entire balance you owe and maybe start fresh with a new card. If you have bankruptcies or other defaults on your credit report, then utilize the available credit you currently have to reestablish your trustworthiness by making all of your payments on time and staying well below your credit limit. Remember a credit card is a great way to get your credit back on track as long as you use it responsibly.
So How Much Time Does It Take To Build Credit?
Now that you know all of the factors that go into your credit score, along with the ways that you can use to build it up, how long should it take? Unfortunately the answer is still the same, it depends. Just be sure to utilize one of the options that were mentioned above and follow the guidelines to get the most out of them and work towards building your credit score up. Many credit card companies today allow you to view your credit score as often as you want with no effect on your credit score. Making it easy to stay up to date with your progress and to keep working towards your goal.
Benefits of Having a Good Credit Score
Clearly you want to know the reason why you should even work towards building up your credit score in the first place. The best answer to this is that an excellent credit score will save you a lot of time and money.
You already know that trying to apply for a mortgage or a auto loan can be hard with no credit or bad credit. But the interest rate you will get, if you are approved, is also determined by your credit score. The better your credit score the lower the interest rate will be that you have to pay. Therefore a excellent credit score will save you money in the long run.
There is also rewarding credit cards available that literally reward you for spending money you were going to spend anyways. Getting approved for one of these requires a good to excellent credit score. By being able to utilize a rewards credit card you can take advantage of the things they have to offer, such as cash back, free or discounted travel, and more. Again, saving you money in the long run.
Here at Casavvy we want to help get you to the best credit score possible. Please feel free to contact us at info(at)casavvy.com with any questions.