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Improving Credit After Becoming Debt Free

I am finally debt free after 5 years of credit counseling. When will my credit rating improve?

When I went through a hard time financially a number of years ago I signed up for credit counseling. I've since paid off my debt - all on time for five years. When will my credit rating improve? Are there any steps I need to take to raise my score. I am debt free other than 150 on a credit card.

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Bill's Answer
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Bills.com | Find Learn Save

Congratulations on becoming debt free. Unfortunately, credit scoring is much too complex a calculation for me to tell you specifically when your credit score should improve without knowing much, much more about your credit history. Even if I had a copy of your credit report, it would be difficult for me to tell you when and if your score would improve. Paying all of your accounts on time should slowly improve your credit profile, but how long it will take for your score to improve really depends on how much damage your credit score suffered due to any previous negative items(if any), such as collection accounts, and how many positive credit listings are now appearing on your credit report.

While I cannot tell you when your credit score will improve, I encourage you to make your monthly payments in a timely manner, as the longer you make payments, the more positive influence your accounts will have on your credit history. I encourage you to regularly obtain copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to verify that all listings appearing on your report are accurate. If you find any inaccurate credit listings, you should dispute the item with the credit bureau reporting the information.

If it would help you for future knowledge, I can help you to understand how your credit score is calculated. Your credit rating is calculated based on several variables, including: your payment history (do you have any late payments, charge-offs, etc.), the amount and type of debt that you owe, if you have maxed out any of your trade lines, and then several other secondary factors like the length of your credit history and how many recent inquiries have been made to look at your credit history.

Generally speaking, all items remain on your credit report for up to 7 years unless you dispute the listing and it is removed as inaccurate by the credit bureaus. A bankruptcy may remain on your credit report for up to 10 years.

Here are some steps you can take to help improve your credit rating:

1. Pay off all debts and keep revolving lines below 25% utilization (and certainly don't 'max out' any loans or cards)

2. Get a small store card or gas card or credit card and make payments every month (this will help you re-establish a track-record of positive payment history)

3. Pull your credit report and contest any inaccurate information so that it can be corrected by the credit bureaus.

To learn more about credit reports and credit scoring, I encourage you to visit the Bills.com Credit Solutions and Resources.

I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

www.bills.com/

4.1
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(7 Votes)

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2 Comments

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  • BA
    Aug, 2009
    Bill
    I think you might be over-simplifying several different concepts. The statute of limitations for collecting a debt is separate from the statutory amount of time a judgment is enforceable. Both of those are independent from the amount of time an item can appear on your credit report. See my answer to another reader, which explains each of these issues: Credit Report Question and Dispute. If a debt is domesticated and a judgment is granted, then the judgment can appear as a new item on a credit report legitimately. The fact that a judgment may no longer appear on a credit report does not mean that the judgment itself has expired or is unenforceable.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2009
    Jim
    I know the normal time limit for a judgment to reduce one's credit score is seven years. What about in the case of a domesticated foreign judgment? If that is filed in, say, Georgia eight years after the original judgment in South Carolina, will it reduce one's credit score for another seven years? Or is it considered simply another part of an ongoing collection process for a written-off debt?
    0 Votes

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