How long do negative items stay on your credit report?

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How long will late payments, collections, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and other negative items remain on your credit history?

So you slipped up and missed a credit card payment once, or the dog ate the bill for your last car loan payment so it wasn’t paid on time. Inevitably, life will throw some circumstances at us that end up as negative items on our credit report. But the question we set out to answer today is, “How long will negative information STAY on our credit reports?”

The good news is that the majority of these common hits to our credit won’t last forever, and we even known the exact timeline when they will “fall off” or not be reported anymore. In fact, the Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act of 2014 specifically defines the timelines for how long negative information can remain on your credit file.

So here is a lineup of different types of credit and how long it will stay on your report:

Credit Accounts:
(Credit cards, auto loans, etc.)
Accounts that are paid on time usually keep report on your credit file for up to ten years from the date of last activity.

But accounts that were not paid as agreed remain on your credit file for seven years, starting from the date the account was first past due.

Late payments typically remain on your credit history for seven years. However, if you have revolving or installment loans that are now current, but show late or missed payments in the past, that late payment will remain on your credit for up to ten years since the fate of last activity, even though the late payment history is removed after seven years.

Collections:
Collection accounts typically remain on your credit report for seven years after the date the account first became past due (not the date it was sent to a collection agency.)

Bankruptcies:
A chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy, or a non-discharged or dismissed chapter 13 bankruptcy, usually stays on your credit for ten years from the date it was first filed.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies that have been discharged typically remain on your credit file for seven years from the date it was first filed.

Public Records:
Tax liens that have been paid usually remain on your credit file for seven years from the date they were satisfied (paid.)

Unpaid tax liens could stay on your credit report indefinitely.

Judgments typically remain on your credit for seven years after they date they were filed, whether you have satisfied them or not.

Credit Inquiries:
When a company, lender, or employer requests and obtains a copy of your credit file, these inquiries can possibly alter your score. Typically, credit reporting agencies only retain these records on your file for one or two 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 twelve months.  When one of your current creditors performs a review of your account, it also does not affect your score and remains for twelve 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 twenty-four months.

Note: There are some slight variations on these timelines depending on state law.

In California, paid or released tax liens will stay on your credit file for seven 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 five years, and paid collections only reporting for five years from the date of last activity.

Here is another way to easily categorize how long a negative item may remain on your credit report:

Two Years or Less:
Credit Inquiries

No More Than Seven Years:
(Beginning from the date of default OR 180 days after the date of the first delinquency that eventually went to collection)

Late payments
Collections
Judgments
Settlements
Foreclosures
Repossessions
Released tax liens
Charged off accounts.

No More Than Ten 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.

Indefinitely (No Time Limit):
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.

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