Generally, how long does it take to improve your score? For example, how long would someone have to do everything according to the book (ex. pay everything on time, stay 100% debt free, etc.) to improve one’s credit score?
Also, if someone had bad credit in the past, is it possible to obtain a 700+ score after what was mentioned above? If so, how long would that take on average?
Ok, I’ll give you the exact situation. About 2-3 years ago I was a very neive kid. I would not pay bills on time (i.e, phone, credit card,) there were even a few times when I recieved letters in the mail from bill collectors. I also was paying the minimum balance on the card (which was also maxed out) for about a year.
Now it’s been at least 2 years since anything like that has happened. I still have the same credit card, within the last probably 2.5 years I haven’t let a balance carry over to the next statement, I’m 100% debt free, and haven’t had a late payment on anything for at least 2.5 years.
Have you pulled a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies? If not you should as it is the best place to start, the same detail lenders will see on you. Your past delinquencies will show on your report as will your 2+ years of paying bills on time. Being debt free isn’t exactly a path to an improved credit score, the scoring system looks for patterns of using debt responsibly, not avoiding it. No late payments, a low ratio of outstanding debt to total credit available and long term credit relationships are the basics. As stated it takes time to rebuild your credit worthiness and score, it doesn’t happen overnight as some credit repair shops will have you believe. Visit myfico.com to learn about credit scoring.
If I pull my credit report with say Equifax, does that count as aving a credit check thus lowering my credit score? I’m asking because, I just applied for a credit card about 2 weeks ago because my existing credit card expires in January.
I’ve never known of a credit card co. letting your line of credit “expire” because of a card’s expiration date-they’ll generally just send you a new card right before the expiration date. You have to close the account to terminate the line of credit-the card’s date doesn’t matter in other words, it’s just a tool to access your account.
If you pull your own credit, it’s considered a soft pull vs. a hard pull when a lender does it when you apply for credit, utilities etc… Soft pulls don’t effect your score, but as it was suggested, if you really want to get serious about jacking up your credit, what I would do is go to MYFICO.com, plus get involved over at creditboards.com. On myfico.com you can sign up to monitor your credit score(for a small fee), and it offers features that can let you see “what if…,” plugging in different scenarios and seeing what the best route may be for you.
Also, as stated, not using credit, or not having a balance isn’t going to increase your FICO score. Lenders want to see that you’re capable of handling credit responsibly before they extend credit to you, but the catch 22 is that the way to do that is to get a lot of credit, use it, but keep in in control. That takes time, unfortunately. If you’re young, keep your accounts open-having long-established credit references is valuable. If you just applied for another card, fine-use it, but pay on it and keep the other account open and use it as well-just be sure to pay them on time, and keep your balances under 30% of the limit!