How To Repair Credit in 6 Steps

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 18, 2023

Did you know that a good credit score is a powerful tool to help you get ahead financially? Repairing credit is necessary to take control of your finances and access better financial products. Whether you’re preparing for a mortgage or an auto loan or want to take advantage of the best credit card deals, building a good credit score can offer greater financial opportunities. Read on to learn how to repair credit to start seeing progress within months.

What is Credit Repairing? 

Credit repair is the process of working to remove any negative marks on your credit history. Credit repair involves disputing incorrect information with credit agencies. You might need to repair your credit if you were the victim of identity theft or if you were dealing with other financial issues. 

You’ll need to address concerns and correct information while also working to build the fundamentals of financial health. Establishing good financial habits like budgeting and paying bills on time will make building and maintaining a good credit score easier. The pros of credit repair include greater financial freedom and better financial opportunities. There are no cons to credit repair, although it takes patience and persistence.  

How Does Credit Repair Work? 

When you start credit repair, first check your credit report and dispute any misrepresented or inaccurate information. Then you’ll need to negotiate payment timelines and build a positive credit history.

You can hire a reputable credit repair company to help you with credit restoration. But you don’t have to. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you have the tools to repair your credit. You must contact each of the three credit bureaus and then follow up as required. This can take time, effort and persistence. 

In addition, you’ll need to negotiate with creditors to secure repayment terms you can manage. Finally, you’ll need to build good financial habits and establish a routine to build and maintain a good credit history over time.

Key Steps For Most Effective Credit Repair

Individuals looking to improve their creditworthiness need to work toward effective credit repair. This includes removing, renegotiating and re-establishing good habits. 

  • Remove negative or incorrect information. 
  • Negotiate repayment terms with creditors for repayment of all outstanding debts. 
  • Establish good financial habits, including on-time payments on all debts and paying off existing debt.

Here are the steps in detail: 

Step 1: Dispute Credit Report Errors

The first step to repairing credit is to access your credit report from the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. You have the right to access a credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year at

Errors on your credit report can include incorrect personal information or debts that weren’t yours. To dispute credit report errors, you’ll need to contact both the credit reporting company and the company that provided the information. You’ll need to provide as much documentation as possible. If the credit report contains significant errors, including a wrong name, address or Social Security number, you’ll need to provide documentation of correct information.

Step 2: Negotiate Payment Plans with Creditors

Next, you’ll need to communicate with creditors to discuss outstanding debts and negotiate feasible payment plans or settlements to address financial obligations. 

In many cases, negotiating with creditors to lower your monthly payments will require you to demonstrate why you can't afford the current payments. They'll ask for a household budget showing your income and living costs to estimate how much you can afford.

Step 3: Manage Credit Card Balances Effectively

Managing credit card balances is essential to building credit long-term. You’ll want to focus on paying off debt and maintaining a low credit utilization rate. 

In addition, ensuring you make all payments on time can positively impact your credit score. Establishing the habit of on-time payments while working to eliminate debt will improve your credit score in the long term. 

You can use the snowball or avalanche methods of credit card debt repayment. Both are ways to build motivation to eliminate debt over time. 

With the snowball method, you pay off the smallest debt first and then pay off successively larger debts. With the avalanche method, you’ll first pay off the card with the highest interest rate, working toward the card with the smallest interest rate. You can also consolidate debt onto a single card or loan and work to pay that off over time. 

Step 4: Establish Positive Credit History

While paying off debt and disputing incorrect information, you’ll also want to build positive credit history through responsible credit usage and timely payments. Try to keep your debt ratio below 30% of the total credit available. In addition, you can consider options like secured credit cards to build positive credit history.

Other options to build positive credit history include: 

  • Using a rent reporting company to report on-time rental and utilities payments 
  • Becoming an authorized user on the credit card of a friend or family member with a good credit score
  • Setting up automatic payments for the minimum due on all credit cards to avoid late payments 

Step 5: Monitor Credit Score and Reports

It’s important to monitor your credit score and reports to stay informed about changes, detect potential fraud and track your progress in credit repair. Your credit score is updated at least once a month. Make a habit of checking the score monthly to see progress and quickly dispute any incorrect charges. 

Many credit cards from major banks like Bank of America, American Express, Citibank, Capital One Bank and Chase Bank also come with free credit score monitoring to make it easier to check your credit score regularly. 

Step 6: Stay Committed to Responsible Financial Habits

Credit repair is a long-term process. You’ll need to maintain good financial habits to build on initial momentum. These include:

  • Paying all bills on time
  • Managing debts responsibly
  • Reducing or eliminating credit card debt
  • Maintaining a budget that fits your income and savings goals
  • Avoiding unnecessary expenses to rebuild for long-term credit health

How Can Credit Repair Improve Your Financial Outlook?

Significant advantages are associated with repaired credit and your long-term financial outlook. These include:

Improved Credit Score and Borrowing Power

A higher credit score will increase your borrowing power and financial opportunities. You may be able to qualify for larger loans with more favorable interest rates on mortgages, business loans, personal loans and credit cards.  

Access to Better Financial Opportunities

With a high credit score, you can access better financial opportunities, including low-interest loans or mortgages and credit cards with high signup bonuses. On a mortgage alone, a better credit score could save you more than $100,000 in interest, depending on the size of the loan and the interest rate.  

Enhanced Eligibility for Credit Products

Enhanced credibility means you’ll be accepted for more loans and credit offers, from credit cards and auto loans to mortgages and insurance. 

Reduction in Fees 

A higher credit score can also mean lower fees on all types of loans and credit. This is one more way building your credit score can help you save more money. 

Potential Challenges of Repairing Credit 

Repairing credit is an essential step in long-term financial health, but it’s not without a few potential drawbacks. The challenges you may face while repairing credit include:  

Temporary Decrease in Credit Score

In some cases, you may see a temporary decrease in your credit score while you’re building credit. Don’t be discouraged. Instead, continue to work to correct your credit report and build strong financial habits. Credit building is a long-term process. 

Lengthy and Time-Consuming Process

Credit building can be time-consuming and could take three months to a year or more. Don’t be discouraged. Commit to your financial habits and set a goal of taking a few steps each week to rebuild your credit. While you won’t get instant results, it’s worth it in the long term. 

Potential Costs and Fees

Using a credit repair company comes with potential costs and fees. But using a credit repair company has advantages, specifically in saving you time. If you don’t want to have to follow up regularly with creditors and credit bureaus, the costs of a credit repair company can be more than worth the positive impact on your long-term financial health. 

Limited Guarantee of Results

Credit repair doesn’t come with guarantees. Specific actions won’t necessarily result in a credit score of 700 or 740. Don’t believe credit repair companies that guarantee a certain result. 

Instead, you have to work long-term to pay bills on time, pay off debt and remove incorrect information from your credit score to see consistent results. Be sure to check your credit reports and monitor results regularly. 

Final Tips for Credit Repairing

A good credit score can make it easier to get a loan or mortgage and can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments and fees. You could even get better insurance plans or job opportunities with a higher credit score. The key to credit repair comes down to consistency and focus. Check your score regularly, dispute any inaccuracies, and implement systems so you never miss a payment while consistently paying off debt. If you prioritize credit-building now, you’ll reap the rewards of a good credit score for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does credit repair affect my credit score?


Credit repair should lead to an improved credit score over time.


Will repairing my credit remove all negative information from my credit report?


Repairing your credit may not remove all the negative information from your credit report right away, but over time, most of the negative information will be removed from your credit report. For example, late payments will stay on your credit report for seven years.


How long does it take to repair credit?


Typically, you’ll see significant results in credit repair within three to six months. You can repair credit on your own or by working with a reputable credit repair company.

Alison Plaut

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.