How long does it take to improve your credit score?

How long does it take to improve your credit score?

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

Don’t bury your head in the sand if you’ve damaged your credit score. Instead, follow these tips and start turning things around.

When it comes to improving your credit score, consistency and commitment are what you need. The length of time it takes to put right any wrongs largely depends on these two factors though:

1. How severe your damage is. For example, four missed payments will affect your score for longer than just the one, and a CCJ even more than that.

2. The speed in which lenders and credit reference agencies update your file with any positive changes you’re making.

 How fast can you raise your credit score?

There’s no such thing as a magic number for this one, we’re afraid. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, so everyone’s timeframe will vary.

If you’re staring at a blank canvas (i.e. you have no credit history at all) you could start building your score in as little as a month.

The recovery process is usually a bit longer if you’re trying to undo some damage though - like a default of CCJ, for example. In this case, it could take several months, or even years, until you see any improvements to your score.

How can I get a higher credit score in 30 days?

If your credit score’s looking a little lower than you’d like, the good news is you’ve lots of options to quickly give it a boost:

1. Take out some type of credit. If you have a thin or non-existent credit history, making payments towards a credit builder credit card, loan or mobile phone contract will instantly give your numbers a nudge in the right direction - providing you make your repayments on time and in full every month, of course. 

2. Register to vote. By signing up to the electoral roll, lenders will be able to easily and quickly verify your identity, which can, in turn, improve your credit score.

Although the process of signing up itself only takes a few minutes, it can take up to eight weeks for it to come full circle and reflect in your score.

3. Reduce your debt. Having lots of debt to your name can make you look too dependent on credit which can turn some lenders off. If you’ve maxed out your cards, try clearing some of your credit; ideally, you should aim for your credit utilisation to be below the 30% mark.

speed in which this comes into effect depends on how much credit you can clear and how quickly you can do it, along with how speedy lenders and credit reference agencies are to update their records.

4. Stop making repeated applications. Lots of rejected applications in a short space of time can make you look desperate to access cash. The sooner you stop, the sooner it will help prevent further damage to your limit – and if you are applying for credit, always see if you can check your eligibility before you apply as this will have less of an impact on your credit rating.

5. Disassociate your finances. If you’ve taken out any type of joint credit with someone who has a bad credit history their details will be tied to yours. As soon as you dissolve your connection their track record will stop holding your score back.

How long does it take to clear a bad credit history?

As we mentioned earlier, this really does depend on just how bad your credit history is.

If you’ve years of bad money management habits behind you it’ll probably take a year or two to fully undo. If you’ve just slipped up the once though, odds are, you’ll be able to redeem yourself within a few months.

The seriousness of your blunders will factor into the equation too. As a general rule of thumb, the more serious your mistake the longer it takes to clear. Hopefully, this will give you a rough idea:


Credit mistake

Average recovery time

Impact on your credit score

Applying for credit

3 months


Closing an account

3 months


Maxing out a credit card

3 months


Missed payments/default

18 months



6+ years


*Estimates taken via VantageScore

How long does it take for credit scores to go up after paying off debt?

Lenders typically report any instalment loan activity to credit reference agencies once a month, so it’ll usually take around one or two billing cycles.

Can I raise my credit score overnight?

Because you’re relying on lenders and/or credit reference agencies relaying and acting on your information, unfortunately, there isn’t really any such thing as improving your credit score overnight.

You can, however, act on the below yourself overnight, and then it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for the other parties involved to do their bit:

  • Check your credit report for any mistakes,
  • Sign up to the electoral roll,
  • Clear some of your outstanding debt, and
  • Detach your finances from anyone with a bad credit history.

Why has my credit score dropped for no reason?

Your credit score won’t drop for no reason. Although you might not be aware of it yet, your number slump will probably be down to one or more of these reasons ClearScore list:

1. You missed or made a late payment
2. One of your accounts has gone into arrears
3. There’s been a spike in how much credit you’re using
4. You’ve opened a new line of credit
5. You’ve declared yourself bankrupt or been issued with a CCJ
6. You closed down an old account
7. You’re regularly moving address.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

How long does it take to improve your credit score? How long does it take to improve your credit score?