If your credit is short of where you want it, such as high enough to be qualified for that new mortgage or a new car auto loan, you can get it up. You may be wondering just how long it’s going to take and is it possible to build your credit back up even if you’ve suffered major damage either from debt defaults such as student loans and credit cards, or even had to file for bankruptcy. The answer is yes, you can still rebuild it even from dire situations like those, though it all depends on how badly it’s damaged and how you choose to rebuild it. What you need to remember is that your mistakes won’t disappear from the reports filed with Equifax, Experian, and Transunion for about 7 to 10 years, but if you start taking new approaches, your credit will get better in time. Resolve Any Collections And Creditor Claims Against You First Getting sent to collections by a creditor whether it’s a credit card company, insurance company or your state’s DMV can really hurt your credit score. While legally there are boundaries to how your creditors can attempt to collect a debt that must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you still need to take action to resolve and eliminate these. If possible, you should pursue a repayment option where you can pay all of these outstanding debts off in installments. In some cases where your payments are very high, or where you can’t seem to get a favorable payment plan, you may need to consult a credit counselor or possibly look at a bankruptcy filing that could help you pay off debt without any liens on your property. Start A Plan For Paying Credit Card Bills Down More If you have a credit card, using it properly is the first step to rebuilding credit, but that goes beyond just simply avoiding interest payments on it. What most people don’t realize is that carrying a balance that eats into more than 50℅ of their credit lines will also hurt their credit score. That’s because credit bureaus see a high debt utilization ratio as being problematic in regards to debt management and tend to portray a borrower as following behind in payments. That’s why when you pay your credit card balance, you should pay it twice a month especially if you have a low credit limit, and that way the reports being sent to the credit bureaus indicate you have a lower utilization ratio. Credit utilization actually accounts for about 30℅ of your FICO score. Get A Secured Credit Card If You’ve Had To Close Other Credit Cards In some cases, very bad credit, debt defaults, and bankruptcies will require a borrower to close some traditional credit cards. But that doesn’t mean credit cards aren’t completely off the table; it just means they will come with some extra boundaries. What you can usually open is a secured credit card which requires you to make a deposit in order to open. Usually, that deposit amount will also be your credit limit, and it protects the lender in case you default or decide to close your account early. But it usually only takes months of successfully maintaining a secured credit card account before you receive a refund of the deposit, and as you keep making payments your credit score will gradually improve. Unsecured credit cards are not always the only options for those who are coming out of bankruptcy, but unsecured credit cards could have much higher interest rates, or even annual fees that come with them. Become An Authorized User For A Credit Card Account If you’re still having trouble applying for a loan or credit from which to rebuild your credit score, you may want to see if you can get a friend or family member to help you out by adding you to a credit card account. This should be a person with good credit and is eligible to add you to an existing or new credit card account. What they can do is add a new card that you can use, and they can keep a limit on that so that it doesn’t eat too much into their current credit limit. Whether you pay the bill for your card directly from your bank account or pay the account holder could be up to the credit card provider, but you should make sure if you do agree to pay the account holder that you do so so that you don’t damage your relationship with them. Review And Have Errors Removed From Your Credit Report While most credit problems take years of positive action on your part to fix them, there actually are a few that can be resolved immediately. You can request one copy each year of the credit report that all three credit bureaus have of you by going to AnnualCreditReport.com and ordering it. After that, carefully look it over and make sure every credit or debt charged to you is accurate, and if you see any inaccuracies make sure you find out who the creditor is who reported them and have them edited or removed. In some cases, you may be looking at simple billing errors, but be on the lookout for any debts such as mortgages that you didn’t apply for, or anything that could possibly resemble identity theft. You may need to contact an attorney if your situation is extreme, and possibly notify certain legal authorities such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, and Federal Trade Commission. Also note that you can put a freeze on your credit which will prevent anyone else from using your name to open any more accounts, and you can sign up for credit monitoring. But for more simple problems, getting rid of errors on your credit report can cause your FICO score to bump up immediately.