Reset Credit Score: Is It Possible To Get A Fresh Start? (2024)

Having bad credit is, to put it mildly, a nightmare. Poor credit makes it difficult to get affordable loans (or any loans) and even a new apartment or job. When you’re in that situation, wiping your slate clean seems like a great solution.

Unfortunately, it’s also not possible. There’s no way to declare bankruptcy and reset your credit score for good, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with bad credit forever.

Can I start a new credit report?

The short answer is no, there’s no way to restart, reset or clear your credit report.

The purpose of the credit reporting system is to help lenders make informed decisions about potential borrowers. As such, poor credit borrowers restarting their credit anytime would negate the system.

However, that doesn’t stop credit score restoration scammers from trying. Any company that claims to create new credit reports, files or numbers is engaging in fraud and should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately.

Will declaring bankruptcy reset my credit score?

Declaring bankruptcy provides a financial do-over for people who get into debt over their heads. That said, it’s not consequence-free — and it won’t start a new credit file.

On top of likely selling possessions or spending time paying off your debts, bankruptcies sit on your credit report for seven to 10 years. During this time, they tank your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for new loans or credit cards.

Can credit repair companies reset my credit score?

No, credit repair companies can’t reset your credit score or start a new credit file legally, either.

Credit score restoration services work by contacting credit bureaus and objecting to negative marks in your report. They may also contact creditors to double-check the accuracy of their reports. If a bureau finds that a negative mark isn’t accurate, they’ll remove it, and your score may rise.

However, you can do this yourself for free by taking a few minutes to write a letter or fill out a form online. The Federal Trade Commission notes that credit repair companies can’t legally do anything you can’t do for free.

Best ways to repair credit

Repairing a low credit score isn’t always quick, but it’s more than possible. Here’s where to start.

Make payments on time

Your payment history comprises a whopping one-third of your total credit score. If you have bad credit, you can start repairing it by making your payments on time. But don’t expect your score to rise in a hurry — it may take a few months of on-time payments.

Keep balances low

Your credit utilization ratio measures the credit you use versus how much you have available. Keeping your utilization low compared to your limit shows creditors you can handle debt responsibly and reflects well in your credit score.

Pay down existing debt

Even if you can’t wipe your existing credit history clean, you can prevent future damage by building good habits now. Start by paying down existing debts to establish a history of on-time payments and lower your credit use. Plus, if you’ve missed a few payments, getting current shows creditors that you intend to become a model credit user.

Check your credit report for errors

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute and remove inaccurate information from your credit report. Start by requesting a copy of your three credit reports for free at If you find any errors, you can dispute them for free with the bureau in question.

Don’t close old credit accounts

Closing old credit accounts doesn’t eliminate your past, but it does lower the age of your credit score. In turn, this can lower your credit score and make recovering more difficult. Instead of closing old accounts, keep them open to increase your available credit. To prevent your credit from closing them for nonuse, make a small purchase each month and repay it immediately.

Refrain from opening too many new accounts

When you apply for new credit, the lender may pull a hard credit check on your report. These checks temporarily lower your score and stick on your report for about two years.

While the impact of a single check is minimal, a flood of applications adds up quickly. Plus, applying for too much credit shows that you’re desperate for debt, which is a red flag for lenders.

Stick to a budget to avoid overspending

One of the best ways to avoid damaging your credit is to stick to a budget and live within your means. Doing so ensures you don’t need to apply for unnecessary debt that just bites you in the credit score later. Plus, long term, you’ll save thousands in potential interest payments and fees.

How long will it take to restore my credit score?

According to FICO, fixing your credit score can take months or years, depending on where you start and why it’s low. For instance, one missed payment can take anywhere from six months to three years to recover from. But bankruptcy can drag your score down for five to 10 years.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start your credit score restoration journey now. The earlier you build good habits, the more successful you’ll be long term.

You can’t reset a credit score but you can reset your habits

Bad credit doesn’t have to be a lifelong sentence. While you can’t restart your credit score or cleanse your file, you can improve your score with time and dedication. In a few years, your credit score could look good as new.


How can I reset my credit score?

There’s no way to reset your credit score completely. What you can do is build positive credit habits to reestablish a good score over time.

Can I start a new credit file legally?

There’s no way to start a new credit file. Companies that claim to sell new credit files or new credit numbers do so illegally.

Can I pay a company to fix my credit?

Credit score restoration and repair companies do exist. However, the FTC notes that they can’t do anything to boost your score that you can’t do yourself for free.

Reset Credit Score: Is It Possible To Get A Fresh Start? (1)

Anna Yen Anna Yen, CFA, has nearly 2 decades of experience in financial markets, primarily with JPMorgan and UBS. Currently, she manages digital assets and her goal at FamilyFI is to empower families with financial literacy. She’s worked in 5 countries and visited 57.

Reset Credit Score: Is It Possible To Get A Fresh Start? (2024)


Reset Credit Score: Is It Possible To Get A Fresh Start? ›

You can't reset a credit score but you can reset your habits

Is it possible to erase your credit history? ›

Correct information cannot be removed and stays on file for at least seven years. So, if your score is low due to accurate negative information, you'll need to repair your credit over time by making payments on time and decreasing your overall amount of debt.

Is it possible to reset your credit score? ›

There is no quick way to fix a credit score.

In fact, quick-fix efforts are the most likely to backfire, so beware of any advice that claims to improve your credit score fast. The best advice for rebuilding credit is to manage it responsibly over time.

Is it possible to go from poor to excellent credit score? ›

Can you fix bad credit? Absolutely – there are plenty of things you can do to improve your credit score! Each time you apply for credit, a hard credit check will be recorded on your report and your score will dip. So it's wise to spread out your applications and only apply for credit you're likely to get.

How to come back from a 450 credit score? ›

Top ways to raise your credit score
  1. Make credit card payments on time. ...
  2. Remove incorrect or negative information from your credit reports. ...
  3. Hold old credit accounts. ...
  4. Become an authorized user. ...
  5. Use a secured credit card. ...
  6. Report rent and utility payments. ...
  7. Minimize credit inquiries.
Jul 27, 2023

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear? ›

Highlights: Most negative information generally stays on credit reports for 7 years. Bankruptcy stays on your Equifax credit report for 7 to 10 years, depending on the bankruptcy type. Closed accounts paid as agreed stay on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years.

How to fix really bad credit? ›

How to Repair Your Credit in 11 Steps
  1. Check Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Dispute Credit Report Errors. ...
  3. Bring Past-Due Accounts Current. ...
  4. Set Up Autopay. ...
  5. Maintain a Low Credit Utilization Rate. ...
  6. Pay Off Debt. ...
  7. Avoid Applying for New Credit. ...
  8. Keep Unused Credit Accounts Open.
Apr 22, 2023

How long does it take for bad credit to reset? ›

Average score recovery time by type of event
EventAverage credit score recovery time
Hard credit inquiry3 months
Late mortgage payment (30-90 days)9 months
Foreclosure3 years
Bankruptcy6+ years
2 more rows

How do I clean my credit score? ›

How to Improve a Bad Credit Score
  1. Check Your Free Credit Score. First, check your credit score for free to view the factors that are most affecting it. ...
  2. Pay Your Bills on Time. ...
  3. Pay Down Debt. ...
  4. Avoid New Hard Inquiries. ...
  5. Boost Your Credit. ...
  6. Get Help Building Credit.
Aug 22, 2022

What is the lowest credit score to buy a house? ›

You'll typically need a credit score of 620 to finance a home purchase. However, some lenders may offer mortgage loans to borrowers with scores as low as 500. Whether you qualify for a specific loan type also depends on personal factors like your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and income.

Why did my credit score go from 524 to 0? ›

Credit scores can drop due to a variety of reasons, including late or missed payments, changes to your credit utilization rate, a change in your credit mix, closing older accounts (which may shorten your length of credit history overall), or applying for new credit accounts.

How to clear credit history for free? ›

Clearing your credit score
  1. Pay off your accounts.
  2. Pay bills on time.
  3. Check for court orders.
  4. Check for errors.
  5. Don't apply for more than one loan at a time.
  6. Avoid spending up to your credit limit.

How long does it take to build credit from 500 to 700? ›

The time it takes to raise your credit score from 500 to 700 can vary widely depending on your individual financial situation. On average, it may take anywhere from 12 to 24 months of responsible credit management, including timely payments and reducing debt, to see a significant improvement in your credit score.

How long does it take to get your credit from 450 to 700? ›

It can take 12 to 18+ months to build your credit from 500 to 700. The exact timing depends on which types of negative marks are dragging down your score and the steps you take to improve your credit going forward.

How long does it take to get a credit score from 450 to 700? ›

How Long Does It Take to Fix Credit? The good news is that when your score is low, each positive change you make is likely to have a significant impact. For instance, going from a poor credit score of around 500 to a fair credit score (in the 580-669 range) takes around 12 to 18 months of responsible credit use.

Is pay for delete worth it? ›

If you are able to get a pay-for-delete from a collection agency, it may help your credit. But the delinquent account with the original creditor will still remain on your credit report. A collection account paid in full reflects better on your credit report.

How long can it take to erase a poor credit history? ›

Seven years after it was reported, it will be removed from your report, unless it is a bankruptcy as sometimes they take ten years.

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