How Long Does It Take to Build Credit – Tips And Guides To Build Credit

January 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit Report, Resources

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. Aside from your social security number, this is probably the one number you must monitor and protect most rigorously. How long does it take to build credit? That’s a question many young people ask, and it’s very important.

While you might assume that never using credit is the best way to live, you would be incorrect to a certain degree. If you have the cash to pay for a home or a car outright, you don’t need credit. However, did you know that many employers look at your credit score prior to hiring someone for a job? Did you know it’s difficult to rent a car without a credit card in many instances?

Again, how long does it take to build credit? That’s a question without one specific answer. It takes months to build some credit history, but it takes years to build excellent credit. The process and requirements also depend on your age, what resources you’re using to build your credit, and which major credit bureau you’re trying to build credit with.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when working on building your credit score, and that’s why there are so many variables associated with this kind of situation. This article presents basic information you need to know about building credit and how long it may take for you.


Why Should You Build Credit? 

How long does it take to build credit, and why should I even bother? You might be asking yourself both questions right now. Many people have been taught that using credit is a bad, risky decision because credit cards cause debt. Loans cause debt. Buying a car causes debt, and what if you’ll never be able to afford to live with all that debt?

These statements don't reflect most people's experience. It’s not about the card or the loan or the car, but about you and your ability to repay those obligations. If you get a credit card and max it out, get another and max it out, then take out loans to pay off your cards before maxing them out again, and then you buy a car you cannot afford, you’re putting yourself into a disastrous debt position. However, if you use your credit wisely and with intelligence, you won’t fall victim to overwhelming debt.

Why You Need Credit

Here are a few of the most pressing and important reasons many people have to start building credit:

  • To secure a loan
  • To buy a home
  • To buy a car
  • To rent a car or reserve other necessities

There are so many reasons you need credit. Take your pick as to which one is the most important to you. Do you want to buy a car so you can get to and from work when you leave college and get your first real job? You need credit to buy a car. Do you want to buy a home and start your family? You cannot get a loan without building some form and level of credit first.

Travel, Employment, Insurance & More Considerations

If you go on vacation and you want to rent a car, you will be very limited without a major credit card. If a company will rent to you at all, you may be confined to cars of a certain type. You’ll need at least two forms of identification and proof of a round-trip airline ticket, or perhaps two bills or financial documents with your mailing address that are paid and up-to-date. The process is intimidating.

What about that dream job you’re trying to land? Employers don’t know if you might be a risky employee in some respect, so they often look at your credit score to help make a hiring decision. This is especially true of jobs in the financial industry. Employers will not hire someone without evidence that the person is financially responsible.

You have to carry car insurance if you drive. You might not get an affordable rate if you don’t have any credit or an acceptable rating. Better credit scores indicate a less risky driver by insurer standards, which means your insurance company is more likely to offer you more affordable rates.

Can you get through life without credit? Yes, you can, but you should know that you must keep plenty of cash on hand or in an account. You will not receive the best rates on some services and products. It is best to build some credit, and you must learn to use it wisely to prevent yourself from accumulating unaffordable debts.


How Long Does It Take to Build Credit?

Let's return to our original point of inquiry: How long does it take to build credit? The answer depends on whether you are starting with no credit and working your way to having credit or if you have bad credit and you want to increase your rating once again. It’s a frustrating situation to find yourself in because there is no quick fix. You can use credit carefully and with good intentions for months and still not have a credit score that lenders consider high or worthy.

Six Months Minimum

Our general answer to the question "How long does it take to build credit?" is six months. If you are going from no credit to some credit, it could take six months before you’re able to generate a score. You should know this score won’t be good yet, either. By that, we mean that it will not be a high score. It will probably fall into the fair range, but your continued efforts can turn that into a more positive score.

Sometimes It Takes Years

If you have a negative credit history, it might take years to raise your score. The problem is that, whether due to hardship or mismanagement, credit bureaus and lenders view you as an unreliable, risky credit user. If you now have a bad credit score because you missed payments, defaulted on loans or cards, lost a car or home, or anything like that, it can take years to raise your score. Once you make a mistake, it’s there for a long time. Depending on the type of obligations you have been unable to meet, these problems can affect your credit score for 7 to 10 years.

Ways to Build Credit Quickly

So, how long does it take to build credit? It takes months, but you may get results a little faster if you take some of these tips and apply them to your situation. If you are in the market to build your credit score quickly from nothing, you do have some options.

Become An Authorized User

If you have parents or family members with good credit, ask if they are willing to make you an authorized user on their credit cards. This means you get to take advantage of their long credit history. You see, when it comes to credit, history matters. If you have no credit, you aren’t going to build a great score in six months. Credit bureaus need to see longer histories before revising their ratings.

Becoming an authorized user on a parent’s account, however, may allow you to pile up years of good credit, on-time payments, and responsible credit use without opening your own accounts. Consider this sequence of events: You may have been a toddler when your mom applied for her card, but now you can build a better score in a shorter time than someone else if she lets you "borrow" some of her long-term credit history.

Know The Secrets

If you are working to build the best score in the least amount of time, it's critical to know what works. For example, simply having a credit card in your name won’t give you good credit. You need to use it, and you should also try to pay it off in full each month. You also need a diverse array of credit if you hope to build a good score.

The best strategy is to apply for a card, use it, and pay it off in full each month. Next, apply for a small personal loan. Pay off more than the minimum amount due each month so you can pay it off ahead of schedule. These steps can help you build credit faster.

Don’t Apply For Everything

The cautionary element covering this entire situation is that you cannot get credit if you don’t apply for credit, but you can ruin your credit if you apply for too much credit. If you don’t have credit now and must ask how long does it take to build credit, one big mistake to avoid is starting to apply for every card imaginable.

Too many inquiries (reports that you applied for credit) can drag down your score quickly. If you don’t have a score yet, it hinders you even more. Our advice is to apply for one or two cards, secure those, and then don’t apply for anything else for a long time. A hard inquiry can appear for a year or two on your credit report, and it drags your score down significantly.



How long does it take to build credit? It depends on what you’re working with and whether you take this advice. You can spend years working to build your credit, or you can find out what you need to do right now to make your credit score rise quickly.

It might take months to years to build credit, but it takes no time at all to lower your score and make your life more difficult. Please remember to use your credit wisely. Never allow more than 30 percent of your available credit to revolve. Pay off everything you can in full each month and don’t spend anything you cannot afford to pay back in full right away. Set up automatic monthly payments so you never miss a payment or make a late one.

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