RobertEG wrote:Late payments stay for 7 years, but slowly drop off in their effect as time wanders on. But 90 and 60 day lates are the absolute killers, and can still hit you for -40 points after almost two years. Monitor reproted collection accounts religiously. I have had two improper collection accounts removed from my report... it seems easy for the collectors to get them on there, and they backed down when challenged. Bankrputicies stay on for 10 years. New credit inquiries are a big hit, but easy to remove in only one year. Inquiries can cost you up to 85 points, with approx. -10 pts for each inquiry within the last six months, and -5 pts for each inquiry withing 6-12 months. So a big boost is to clear all credit inquiries by not having any within the last twelve months, giving you the max in this category or 85 points. Overall strategy is simple: dont cancel existing cards, get % revolving util below 10%, dont apply for new credit in the two year window, DONT have any late payments, and have at least one installment loan to show credit mix, which is another 85 points which can be lost without proper credit mix.. But late payments are the ahcilles heel for most, so make at least the min!