How Long Will It Take Me to Fix My Credit? Does It Really Take 7 Years?

As a culmination of all your years of loans, credit card statements and other records of your finances, a credit report contains the good, bad and ugly of your credit history. In this time, you might have accrued negative items on your credit report, which often include debts in collection or even bankruptcies and lawsuits. Some of these claims might be made in error, which is why it's important to regularly check your credit report requested from one of the three main credit reporting bureaus. While it takes time to repair your credit, there are often questions about exactly how long it takes. You might have heard you can correct errors quickly, while others may have said it takes seven years.

There are certain items that will remain on your credit report for several years, which could bring down your credit score. After a period of time, most negative information will no longer be reported on your history. However, the number of years and how it will affect your credit worthiness depends on the item.

Inquiries: 2 Years
While inquiries have a small impact on your credit report, an accumulation of inquires could factor more into dropping your credit score. Soft inquiries do not affect your score while hard inquires do. Hard inquiries usually occur when you give permission for an organization to check your credit, such as when a mortgage lender pulls your credit report to approve you for a home loan. Inquiries will stay on a credit report for up to two years before they are no longer reported.

Late Payments and Collections: 7 Years
It's common for consumers to make late payments, but when it has been a long time since you've paid outstanding debts, they might end up in collections. Late payments will usually stay on a report for seven years after you are first considered delinquent on your payments. The same also applies for accounts in collections, as these will be reported for up to seven years.

Adverse Public Records: 7 Years to Indefinitely
When the court rules against you during a lawsuit or other legal procedure and you sustain a negative mark on your record, it could be on your credit report for seven years or more. Adverse public records such as court judgments and foreclosures have the potential to stay on your credit report for seven years. Other more severe cases such as tax liens will remain on your report indefinitely. After it is paid, however, it could disappear within seven years after the payment was completed.

Bankruptcies: 7 to 10 Years
When you file a bankruptcy to be discharged of your debts because of an inability to pay, this will still show up on your credit history. The length of time on your report depends on the type of bankruptcy filing. Bankruptcy listings can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years.

In the event you find negative items on your credit report and need to get your credit fixed before the time they take to drop off, you should account for the span it takes to finally resolve disputes. Some consumers might also find that items that are old enough to no longer be reported are still listed on their report, which should be corrected. Typically, credit reporting companies say they must investigate a claim within 30 days and verify an item was inaccurate or reported in error. It might also take time to send confirmation to you saying that the problem has been resolved and the negative item is marked off your credit report.