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How long will negative information stay on our credit reports?
Did you miss a credit card payment, have a bill go to collections, or even had to file bankruptcy recently? If so, your credit score has probably taken a pretty big hit. You’re also probably wondering when it will stop showing up on your credit report so you can move on.
Luckily, negative information that’s reported on your credit doesn’t last forever. In fact, we know the timeline when they will “fall off” and not be reported anymore thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act of 2014, which defines the timelines for how long negative information can remain on your credit file.
Here’s a rundown of how long common items will remain on your credit report, where they very well could be hurting your score:
Credit cards, store cards, retail accounts, auto loans, and other credit accounts that are paid on time can keep reporting on your credit for up to 10 years from the date of last activity.
Late payments for credit accounts
However, if you missed payments or failed to pay on time, that negative data will also be reported, but for a period of 7 years (starting from the exact date the account was first past due.)
Late payments for other debts
While late payments on common credit accounts will show up for 7 years, those same rules don’t apply for revolving or installment loans. In fact, if you have a revolving or installment debt that is now current but does have a late payment some time in the past, that negative item (late payment) will appear on your credit report for 10 years past the date of last activity.
While it may get a little confusing, the late payment history will be removed for these installment and revolving debts after 7 years, but the reporting for accounts that are current will show up for 10 years.
Collection accounts usually will show up on your credit report for a full 7 years after the date the account first became past due. Remember that the date it was past due will be earlier than the date it was sent to collections, which could be 90 days or more after that.
If you’ve been through a chapter 7 bankruptcy (most common for consumers), a chapter 11 bankruptcy, or a non-discharged or dismissed chapter 13 bankruptcy, that will typically keep reporting for 10 years from the date the bankruptcy was first filed (not the date they were discharged).
However, chapter 13 bankruptcies that have been discharged can only stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date they were first filed.
Judgments usually stay on your credit report for 7 years after the date they were filed, whether you have satisfied (paid) them or not.
If you have a tax lien and then pay it off in full, the lien will still report on your credit for 7 years from the day it was satisfied.
However, tax liens that go unpaid (unsatisfied) will stay on your credit report indefinitely – which means that you’re stuck with them until they’re paid off.
When a third-party requests a copy of your credit report (usually a lender, retailer, or employer), that activity shows up on your credit report, and can possibly impact your score. But the good news is that there’s usually not a big hit, and the credit bureaus only keep this on your report for 1 or 2 years.
But there are different types of credit inquiries that might have different reporting timelines. For instance, promotional inquiries (when you received a pre-vetted offer for credit) don’t affect your score and generally remain on your credit for only 12 months. When one of your current creditors performs a review of your account, it also does not affect your score and remains for 12 months. Finally, when you request a copy of your own credit report, it does not affect your score and will remain on your credit file for up to 24 months.
However, there are some slight variations on these timelines depending on state law:
For instance, in California, paid or released tax liens will stay on your credit file for 7 years from the date released, or ten years from the date filed. And unpaid tax liens remain on your credit file for only ten years from the date they were filed – not indefinitely.
New York State residents see their satisfied (paid) judgments only remain on their credit file for 5 years and paid collections only reporting for five years from the date of last activity.
I know – that’s a lot to remember. So we’ve put together this easy list so you can quickly see how long a certain negative item will stay on your credit report:
The item remains two years (or less);
The item remains no more than 7 years:
Released tax liens
Charged off accounts.
Note: the timeline begins from the date of default OR 180 days after the date of the first delinquency that eventually went to collection.
The item remains no more than 10 years:
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on a credit report for up to 10 years from the date it was first filed.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also remain on a credit report for up to 10 years.
The item will remain indefinitely (until paid):
Federally guaranteed student loans that are unpaid and in default can remain on a credit file indefinitely until such time as they are paid.
Unpaid tax liens may report on a credit file indefinitely.
Remember – there’s another way to get rid of negative items that are reporting on your credit BEFORE they naturally fall off after all of these years! Contact us for more information!