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How long does it take to build credit?

It takes about six months to establish a FICO credit score but two to three years to build an excellent one.

Building a credit score usually takes six months, but it can take a few years to get an excellent score. Your payment history, your credit utilization, the types of credit you take on and your available credit all work toward determining your creditworthiness.

Those with few and younger accounts or a history of missed payments may see hurdles when trying to secure competitive terms and rates. Slowly increasing your credit accounts and making payments on time can help you raise your credit score.

How long does it take to build good credit?

A good credit score is generally 660 and above when you consider both the FICO and VantageScore models. Building good credit depends on your starting point and the factors impacting your score. If you have poor credit, it may take more time to improve your credit.

How long it can take depends on what’s hurting your credit score, such as late payments or high credit utilization, and how quickly you can remedy them.

Several variables are factored into your FICO credit score, such as:

  • Payment history. Paying your loans on time is crucial as it has the largest impact, accounting for 35% of your total score.
  • Amounts owed. How much you owe makes up for 30% of your score.
  • Length of credit history. A longer credit history can help your score, and FICO weighs the length of your credit history at 15%.
  • Credit mix. The types or mix of credit accounts you have makes up 10% of your score.
  • New credit. Opening several new accounts in a short period can hurt your score, and it makes up 10% of your score.

How long does it take to establish credit?

Establishing credit, especially when starting from zero, usually takes about six months of credit activity with FICO and three to six months with VantageScore before your credit score can be calculated.

To build your credit score, you can:

  • Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. Becoming an authorized user allows you to benefit from their payment history. However, if payments are made on time, your credit score can also be negatively affected.
  • Apply for a secured credit card. A secured card requires a deposit that serves as your credit limit.
  • Make small purchases. Make small purchases on your credit lines that you can quickly pay off on time to demonstrate responsible credit use.
  • Report your monthly rent. If you report your rent payments to credit bureaus, your credit score may improve as long as you meet payments.
  • Consider a credit-builder loan. A credit-builder loan acts like a savings account of sorts. The lender sets aside their own money in a savings account, and you make payments toward that account in monthly installments and receive the balance at the term’s end.

Bottom line

Building credit, especially from scratch, requires keeping up with payments and having patience. You need to make your payments on time, keep your credit utilization low and have a healthy credit mix. While much of credit building can take time, there are still steps you can take to build your credit fast.

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Megan B. Shepherd as part of our fact-checking process.
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Dhara Singh was a freelance personal finance writer at Finder specializing in loans. Formerly she was a top 10 journalist at Yahoo Finance with more than 38+ million content views where she covered retirement and mortgages. She has also written for Bankrate, and CNET and continues to write for a variety of outlets, such as Investopedia and Worth magazine. Her articles focus on equipping readers with the right information and data so they can make the most informed decisions related to their finances. Dhara previously worked as an insights analyst for Finder’s PR team, where she started the Deadliest Cities to Drive series in 2018, connecting interesting data analysis to a suite of car insurance products. When she’s not writing, Dhara coaches small business owners through her Stories to Sales programs and empowers them to use their life experiences to help other people. She has also self-published a poetry book on Amazon called Tell her She’s Lovely. Dhara holds a B.S. in Finance and Supply Chain Management from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. See full bio

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