Credit is that ever-dreaded, ever-sought-after thing that can greatly affect your ability to make important financial decisions. We tip-toe around things that could have a negative effect on our credit, but sometimes we’re forced to make decisions that harm our credit score.
Some situations may warrant excessive credit card use. For example, Maybe our jobs fall through and we’re forced to miss a rent payment or something similar. It happens.
Those things adversely affect our credit scores, and it can seem like the end of the world. But how long do credit problem lasts? Do you have to live your entire life with bad credit if you forget to pay the balance on a credit card or two? Keep reading to find out.
How Long Do Credit Problems Last?
If you’ve had a few slip-ups, you aren’t doomed to an eternity of bad credit. Your credit will improve over time if you let it, but the amount of time it takes depends on the kind of penalties you had.
We’ll cover a few of the different penalties you may have experienced and how long it takes for them to be taken off of your credit score.
When You Miss a Payment
Things like car, rent, and mortgage payments are all going to leave a dent in your credit score if you miss them.
From the date of the missed payment, seven years will go by until that blemish is removed from your score. Even if you pay the balance right away, your credit score will still reflect that you missed a payment.
That being said, you should still pay the balance as soon as you can to prevent further penalties.
You may miss enough payments to have your account “charged off” and sent to a collection agency. The reflection on your credit score will, again, stay for seven years.
Usually, your account gets sold to a collections agency roughly three months after your first missed payment. They could come from overdue credit card payments, medical payments, even utility payments.
You should do your best to pay those fees as soon as possible though. Because, in addition to charges piling up, you’ll be liable to receive additional charges and even face legal action if you don’t get square with the collections agency. The seven years, though, starts on the date of your first missed payment.
Paying off the debt sooner than later can have a benefit to your credit score, too. While the issue will still appear on your credit score, it may be less significant if you can show that you paid it off quickly. Additionally, some late payments will have harsher consequences than others.
Late medical bills, for example, will be a little more forgiving than late credit card payments.
Bankruptcies are likely to stay on your report for seven to ten years. The length of time depends on the type of bankruptcy that you went through.
The longest lasting hit to your credit will come from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, staying for ten years, while a Chapter 13 will only last for seven years. The harm of your bankruptcy will diminish slightly two years after it happens.
The trick is to be careful with your credit and give it time to improve as you make wise financial decisions.
You get hard inquiries from businesses that are considering the option of giving you a line of credit. The hit isn’t too bad, but it does last on your score for a year.
The inquiry will show on your credit report for a couple of years, but your score will only be affected for the first year. These inquiries account for only 10 percent of your score, and an inquiry will only drop your score by a few points.
What Can You Do to Boost Credit?
In the face of damages to your credit, it can seem like a lost cause to even try to improve it. Don’t get too down on yourself, you will have great credit after your damages are crossed off of your report.
Seven years down the line, you’ll thank yourself for having done the following things:
1. Making Timely Payments
Whatever the issue was that caused you to miss payments before, do whatever you can to solve it. If it was a fluke from the universe and a squirrel stole your wallet and emptied your credit accounts, so be it. But if the issue had to do with money management or something personal, do your best to work on solving the issue.
Additionally, keep all of your financial information organized. Late payments are often just a result of sloppy bookkeeping and forgetfulness– we’ve all been there. Keep a folder with all of your bills and records.
If physical documents aren’t your thing, find one of the many sites online that will help you organize your finances.
2. Get a Credit Card, Don’t Use it Much
You can build credit by successfully making payments on time. Open a credit card and use it once a month for gas. Fill up your tank, then pay off the balance right away.
Doing this will slowly build your credit and show that you’re a reliable person. If you have to use your credit card more often than that, do your best to keep the balances low.
3. Talk to a Financial Advisor
Financial advisors can help you make realistic plans to knock out your debts and build credit. They can also inform you as to which debts to cover first, and which ones you can put off.
Need Help Improving Your Credit?
It’s not easy to solve credit problems all by yourself. Sometimes you need to use outside resources to inform how you’ll move forward.
If you’re in a situation where you need assistance with your credit report, we’ve got the information you need. Please comment below with any questions you might have or get in touch with us today.