How Long Does it Take to Build Credit?

How Long Does it Take to Build Credit?

A good to excellent credit score can open up many great opportunities, from the best rewards credit cards to the best mortgage interest rates. Getting a great credit score is a lot easier than many people realize, but it does take some time.

If you were wondering “how long does it take to build credit,” you’ve come to the right place. Follow along with this guide to learn how to build credit and how long it takes to build credit.

How long does it take to build credit from 0?

There are several situations where you may need to build credit, but also common is starting from scratch and building credit from nothing. Whether you are a young person new to credit or an immigrant new to the United States with no credit history, you are not alone and have several good options to build credit.

According to credit bureau Experian, it takes at least three to six months of credit account activity before a score can be calculated at all. From there, it can still take about a year before you’ll be in the territory of good to excellent credit scores.

Tricks to build credit from zero:

  • Get added as an authorized user - If your parents have a long history with a specific credit card, ask them to add you as an authorized user so you can piggyback on their credit card. Only do this if they keep the card paid off and always pay on-time.
  • Open a credit card - Always pay your balance off in full every month to avoid interest fees and increase your credit score.
  • Never ever make a late payment - Once you do have a credit account open, always pay on-time. Each on-time payment helps your credit score, while late payments hurt your score for seven years.

How long does it take to build credit back up?

If you have credit, but it isn’t very good, you’re in for a tougher road to good credit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. The most challenging part of fixing bad credit is paying off outstanding debts and collections.

Once those negative outstanding items are wrapped up, most of the credit building process is waiting. It takes seven to ten years for most negative information to fall off of your credit report.

As late and missed payments age on your credit report, their impact lessens over time until it ages off of your credit report completely after seven years. This is why it is so important to pay on-time consistently.

One late payment isn’t going to cause a lot of damage, but a series of late and missed payments can cause serious harm to your credit score for a very long time.

Tips to build credit back up:

  • Review and clean up your credit report - Your first step in fixing up your credit score is to review your credit report so you know what you are dealing with. Also look for any errors and file a dispute to have them removed.
  • Pay off revolving credit accounts  - If you have any credit card balances or line-of-credit balances, pay them off. This is the fastest way to quickly improve a credit score.
  • Add automatic payments - Because late payments have such a big impact and take so long to fix, set up automatic payments so you never make a late payment again.

You can also establish a positive account, perhaps with a secured credit card, just beware of the fees before signing up for any secured card.

How long does it take to build credit to buy a house?

Buying a home is a massive expense, so most home buyers need a mortgage loan to help cover the cost. In almost all cases, you’ll need at least a certain credit score or above to qualify for a loan. The better your credit, the better your approval odds.

According to LendingTree, these are the minimum credit scores needed for some of the most popular types of loans:

Home loan type

Minimum credit score

Conventional mortgage


FHA loan


VA loan

Full credit report review

USDA loan


Do keep in mind that when it comes to mortgages, some banks may require higher scores than those listed above and the credit score is just one factor of many reviewed before making a mortgage decision.

If you want to buy a home in the near future, you will want to avoid signing up for lots of new loans and credit cards, as each new application and account slightly lowers your credit for a short period of time. The less you tinker, the better.

Turning around bad credit to buy a home can take some time, so plan far ahead if possible to begin fixing up your credit so you can buy the right home when you’re ready. If you have a bankruptcy on your credit report, it may take a decade to build credit to buy a house.

How long does it take to build credit up: it depends

Building credit can take anywhere from a few months to years depending on your credit history. The concepts behind building credit are easy, but following through may be easier said than done. Do your best to always pay on time and keep balances low, and the rest should fall into place over time.

You have the power to build credit. If you stay true to some basic principles, you’ll have excellent credit in no time!

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated April 24, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommmend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Article Staff

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full-time.

Eric has written for sites such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Kiplinger, Mint, and Money.

Eric has two finance degrees (BSBA from the University of Colorado and MBA from the University of Denver) and has professional work experience as a bank manager and in corporate finance and accounting in the telecom and payments industries.

He has in-depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing, and other financial topics, and is an avid travel hacker.

When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and little girls. You can connect with him at Personal Profitability or

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