How long does it take for a credit score to go up after paying off debt?

how long after paying off debt does credit improve

Usually, debt payments will take two months to improve a bad credit score. However, in certain circumstances it may actually hurt your finances. 

The average American has $7,951 in credit card debt.1 If you have been working on repaying outstanding debt, you may ask, “How long does it take for credit score to go up after paying off debt?” 

Keep reading for more information on paying off personal debt and how it can impact your credit scores. 

Why Does It Take a Few Months for Your Credit Score To Change After You Pay Off Debt?

Once you pay off your debt, your lender will report that last payment to all three credit bureaus. This information can take some time to be reported so, you may have to wait to see it on a statement. As most borrowers know, each month you have a billing statement that shows balances for that billing cycle. It will take an average of two billing cycles (about two months) for your payments to show up on your credit reports. 

Different Debt and More Precise Approximates of How Long It Takes to Impact Your Credit Score

Generally speaking, two types of credit accounts exist; revolving credit and installment loan options. Revolving credit accounts include credit card debt, which you can borrow from multiple times as long as you haven’t reached your credit limit. If you do get to your limit, you can make payments to use the account again. 

With installment accounts you can only borrow from once, the funds will be repaid in monthly payments. A few examples include personal installment loans, secured loans, and payday loans. If you want to borrow more money, you will have to apply for another loan.

Feature/AspectRevolving Credit AccountsInstallment Loans
DefinitionCredit accounts from which you can borrow multiple times as long as you haven’t reached your credit limit.Loans that you can borrow from once and are repaid in monthly payments.
ExamplesCredit cards.Personal loans, auto loans, payday loans.
Reporting Time on Credit Report30-45 days after payment.Similar to revolving accounts (30-45 days).
Impact on Credit ScorePaying off even a small amount can positively impact the credit score by decreasing debt and increasing available credit.May have little to no impact on credit score, depending on the amount repaid.
Re-borrowingCan borrow multiple times as long as the credit limit isn’t reached. Once the limit is reached, you can make payments to use the account again.Can only borrow once. To borrow more money, a new loan application is required.

When Can Paying Off Debt Hurt Your Credit Score?

There are some instances where paying debt may negatively affect your credit score. Here is more information on how that can happen: 

Closing Certain Account Types

Having a diverse mix of credit is one factor that will impact your credit score. And so, closing a credit account that is unique to your credit history can harm your score. For example, paying off your only installment loan can reduce the diversity in your credit history/credit mix. 

The Age of Accounts

Another factor that will impact your credit is how old your accounts are. The older your accounts, the more positive their impact on your credit score. And so, if you close a credit account that is one of your oldest, it can bring down your score. 

Closing Revolving Accounts Can Impact Credit Utilization Ratio

Your credit utilization ratio measures the debt you have against available credit balances. If you have a revolving debt paid off and close your account, it can decrease available credit balances, negatively impacting your credit score. Although there are ways to cancel a credit card without hurting your score

Other Ways To Improve Your Credit Scores

Although paying your debt can definitely improve your credit score, there are other things you can do that will improve it! Here are some ways you can positively impact your score: 

Make Your Debt Payments on Time To Build Positive Payment History

On-time payments are the most effective way to improve your credit score or build one when starting from scratch. Several strategies can help make paying bills on time more manageable. For example, automating payments is a great way to ensure that your bills are paid on time. 

Keep Your Credit Utilization Below 30%

Another way to improve your credit score is to keep your credit utilization under 30%; going over that can hurt your credit. You don’t have to do this right away if it’s not possible. However, paying even a little more than the minimum due can really help pay off debt faster. 

Avoid Multiple Credit Checks 

A hard credit check on your credit reports will negatively affect your credit score. And so, you should try and avoid having multiple credit inquiries in a short period. One exception is with mortgage applications, where borrowers have a 45-day period to shop around for lenders. Each credit inquiry within this window will show up as a single one. 

Correct Credit Report Mistakes

Your credit report will have all your financial history, which directly impacts your credit score. And so it is essential to ensure everything is accurate and up to date. If there are any mistakes, you need to correct them with the credit bureaus. You should also let your lender know about any inconsistencies and errors. 

What Makes up a Credit Score?

It will be helpful to understand what factors determine your credit score when you are trying to improve it. Below are all the different variables that make up your credit history that determines your credit score. In this scenario, a FICO score—the most commonly used scoring model—will be looked at:

Payment History

Payment history makes up the most considerable portion, 35%, of your FICO score. This includes the history of all the payments you have made or missed. With such a significant portion of your score based on this factor, it’s crucial to make payments on time.

Accounts Owed

This makes up 30% of your credit score and includes all the debt accounts you have to pay back. It will consist of both revolving credit and installment accounts. 

Length of Credit History

The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your credit score. As mentioned above, the older your accounts, the better. The age of the oldest credit account on your credit report will determine how mature your credit history is. 

New Credit

New credit will count towards 10% of your credit score. Having many new accounts may not be the best look when applying for credit. And so, keep new accounts spaced out if possible. 

Credit Mix

Your credit mix also makes up 10% of your credit score. This variable looks at the different types of credit accounts that you have. For example, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages all show a good amount of variety with credit.

FAQs About Credit Score Improvement 

How often do credit bureaus update my FICO score?

Credit bureaus typically update your FICO score every 30 to 45 days, based on the information they receive from your credit card issuer and other lenders.

If I have multiple missed payments, how long will they impact my credit?

Missed payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. It’s essential to address these with your credit card company or lender as soon as possible to mitigate their impact.

How can I ensure that my credit card balances are accurately reported to the credit bureaus?

Regularly review your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies. If you notice discrepancies in your credit card balances, contact the respective credit bureau and your lender to rectify the errors.

Does closing a credit card account improve my credit?

Closing a credit card account can sometimes lower your credit, especially if it’s one of your older accounts. It’s crucial to consider the impact on your credit history and credit utilization ratio before making such decisions.

How can I get in touch with the major credit bureaus if I have concerns about my credit report?

Each of the credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—has contact information on their websites. It’s a good practice to reach out to them directly if you have questions or concerns about your report.

What should I do if my credit card issuer doesn’t report my payments to the credit reporting agencies?

If you believe your credit card lender isn’t reporting your payments, first contact the issuer to clarify. If the issue persists, you can raise a dispute with the credit bureau that hasn’t received the updated information.

Are there any services or professionals who can help me improve my credit score?

Yes, there are credit counseling agencies and professionals who specialize in helping individuals improve their credit scores. However, always research and choose a reputable service to ensure you’re getting genuine assistance.

A Final Summary From CreditNinja 

Paying off credit card debt and other types of personal debt can improve your credit rating. A good credit score can help you obtain better interest rates, higher loan amounts, and other perks. 

But if you need financial relief now, know that CreditNinja works with all types of credit scores. We offer competitive rates, flexible repayment schedules, and great customer service! Our loans are meant for all types of emergencies, so you don’t have to worry about finding the best reason to give for a personal loan

Apply for an online personal loan today to see if you qualify for affordable emergency cash!


  1. Average Credit Card Debt in the U.S.: Statistics for 2023 │ Annuity 
Read More
how to get rid of late payments on credit report
You can only get rid of late payments on a credit report if there was a credit reporting error or fraud—which can be done through…
missed payment for car repo
While missing just one payment may not do severe damage to you as long as you are able to contact your lender and cover the…
struggle meals
Looking for the best struggle meals available? Sometimes eating healthy when you are on a budget seems like an impossible task. Instead of getting extra…
Credit Score Simulator Paying off Debt
A credit score simulator is a tool that can show you an estimate of the impact of your actions on your credit, actions such as…

Quick And Easy Personal Loans Up To $2500*