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Derogatory or negative credit entries will remain visible within your credit history for seven years. This will apply to any late car payments and subsequent repossession.
Fortunately, you do not have to wait seven years to begin improving your credit score.
How A Repo Impacts Your Credit Score
The two primary models used for calculating consumer credit scores are FICO and VantageScore. Credit score statistics reveal that payment history has the single largest influence on your score.
Using the FICO model, payment history equates to 35% of your score. Your payment history has a 41% influence using VantageScore’s 4.0 model.
In the realm of auto loans, lenders can begin the process of repossession once the borrower misses a payment. Thus, late car payments are likely to have a substantially negative impact.
The potential harm to your credit score is further exacerbated by repossession. The exact impact that repossession has on your credit score depends on many factors. For example, the status of your other reported credit accounts.
Yet various financial institutions and credit score apps make estimates. Capital One estimates that repossession will reduce your credit score by 100 points or more. Meanwhile, estimates from Chase range from a decline of between 50 and 150 points.
A repossession lingers in your credit history for seven years. The good news is that the negative impact of derogatory entries diminishes over time. This occurs because the scoring models prioritize newer entries over older ones.
Can You Remove the Repo From The Credit Report?
Those seeking to move forward following a repossession often seek “quick fix” solutions. Unfortunately, accurate and complete credit report entries are not removable.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warns of some credit repair services. Some of these entities make claims that are “confusing or misleading.” In some cases, these companies use tactics that are potentially fraudulent or deceptive.
Both lenders and agencies advocating for consumers strive for accurate credit bureau reporting. They recognize that the data contained in your credit history is the basis for key decisions.
Yet any credit accounts containing inaccurate data are disputable. Consumers should request copies of their credit reports and closely review the details.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the bureaus for credit reporting, now offer simple forms used to file disputes. Be sure you upload any supportive documents with your claim. Another option involves contacting a lender or collection agency directly about any errors.
Consumers should adopt a habit of checking their credit reports each year. In today’s digital online environment, disingenuous individuals conduct acts of identity theft. Thus you might detect potentially fraudulent activity.
How Do I Fix My Credit After a Repo?
A repossession and similar adverse events will hinder your credit score. Lenders will likely be unwilling to extend credit to those with poor credit. Thus, executing a multifaceted credit-building strategy is important. Let’s look at some of the best ways to improve your credit.
Clear All Outstanding Payments
Outstanding debts on your credit report have negative effects on your credit score. And they continue influencing how potential lenders view your creditworthiness.
Even accounts from two or three years earlier might be hindering your credit score. Lenders know that your past credit history may project to future outcomes. Paying off outstanding debts should positively impact your credit score.
On credit reports, collection accounts often have a designation indicating if they are open or closed. Experian states that some new scoring models no longer include paid-off accounts in their calculations.
Another cited reason for paying off old accounts involves rules among certain agencies in the credit market.
For example, The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) or Fannie Mae imposes restrictions. The agency has policies requiring payment of all collection accounts to qualify for home loan approval.
Decrease the Credit Utilization
The FICO and VantageScore models both factor in your credit utilization rate when generating credit scores. With VantageScore 4.0, this variable has an influence of 20%.
FICO acknowledges that the credit utilization rate is a part of their broader amounts owed category which equates to 30%.
Simply having debt does not significantly hinder your credit score. After all, in the absence of any debt, there would be little to no basis for calculating a score.
Viewing your amount of debt relative to your income is more important.
Lenders know that someone devoting 50% of their monthly income to debt payments is likely vulnerable. Here, the remaining income must cover housing, food, transportation, insurance, and more.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%. This is an assessment made across all revolving credit accounts, primarily, credit cards.
The formula for calculating this is:
Credit Utilization Ratio = Total Current Debt / Total Available Credit
Pay Bills on Time
At the core of any strategy for improving credit is maintaining a positive payment history. Making timely payments on all credit accounts is key.
Consumers should adopt technology, when possible, to ensure that payments arrive on time. For example, most credit card accounts or car loans have an “autopay” option. With this tool, the monthly payments are electronically withdrawn from your checking account.
Today, various service providers also will report your monthly rent and utility payments to the major credit bureaus. Be mindful that late payments are usually reported to credit bureaus when they are 30 days past due.
Another increasingly popular tool for improving credit is credit-builder loans. A credit-builder loan is a variation of an installment loan–like student and car loans.
With a credit-builder loan, the funds, in a lump sum amount remain in secured savings or a certificate of deposit account. These loans often have terms ranging from 12 to 36 months.
Over the loan term, the borrower makes an affordable monthly payment toward the balance. During the repayment process, the lending service provider reports all loan activity to the credit bureaus.
After repaying the loan, the borrower has demonstrated a consistent credit history. Meanwhile, the consumer also has access to the loan funds within the savings account.
Opt For a Secured Credit Card
Credit cards are a good tool for boosting your credit score. Yet, lenders often deny applicants with poor credit that apply for traditional unsecured credit cards.
Secured credit cards represent an alternative for improving credit. Here, the applicant makes an initial security deposit when opening the account.
This deposit is typically equal to the account’s credit limit. These funds act as a refundable security deposit. It also minimizes risk for the card issuer.
The usual range for the security deposit is $200 to $300 and a few add an annual fee. The major credit bureaus receive and compile all secured credit card activity.
After showing a pattern of responsible card usage, card issuers usually offer the borrower an unsecured credit card.
Following vehicle possession, consumers will endure a decline in their credit scores. Seeking ways of rebuilding your credit history is critical.
Paying all existing bills on time is a vital first step. Further, tools such as credit builder loans and secured credit cards are both excellent options for improving your credit.
- How Soon Can I Get My Repossessed Car Back?
- My Car Was Repossessed. What Happens Next?
- How To Fix Credit After a Car Repossession
- Writing a Sample Letter to Remove Repossession From Credit Report
Anthony Amodeo is a regular finance writer in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries. Particular areas of focus include personal finance, small business, real estate, and more. He is a graduate of Kent State University. His credit scores are top tier.