Credit Score

How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?

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If you’ve ever had negative information show up on your credit report, you’re probably wondering how much longer it will stay on there — and affect your credit score. Information that can have a negative impact on your score includes hard inquiries, accounts that have gone to collection, bankruptcies, tax liens and judgments.

To start with, inquiries remain on your credit report for 2 years (24 months). The good news is that they can only impact your credit scores for the first 12 months — and only if they are a hard inquiry (like when a lender pulls your report as part of your application for credit, for example). After 12 months, hard inquiries will have no impact on your score.

Most negative information remains on your credit report for 7 years, with a few exceptions:

Credit Accounts

Negative account information remains on a credit report for 7 years from the date it was first reported as late. If the account containing the negative information has been closed, the entire account will be removed after 7 years. If the account remains open, the negative information will be removed, but the account will remain on the credit report past the 7 years.

Positive information can remain on your credit report indefinitely. If the account is closed, it will typically remain on the report for 10 years after closure.

Collection Accounts

A collection account remains for 7 years plus 180 days from the date the account was delinquent leading up to when it was placed for collection. After that time, it must be removed regardless of when it was paid or when it was placed for collection. Watch out for duplicate collection accounts.

Public Records

Chapter 7, 11, and 12 bankruptcies remain for 10 years from the date filed.

While completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies may be reported up to 10 years after the filing date, credit reporting agencies typically remove them 7 years after the date filed.

Tax liens remain for 7 years from the date filed if paid and remain indefinitely if not paid. However, if you qualify for the IRS Fresh Start program you can request a paid or satisfied tax lien be removed from your reports.

Paid judgments remain for 7 years from the date filed, while unpaid judgments remain for seven years or the governing statute of limitations, whichever is longer. Since unpaid judgments can usually be renewed, these may remain on credit reports for a long time.

New York State Residents Only - Satisfied judgments remain for 5 years from the date filed and paid collections remain for 5 years.

Image: Hemera

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  • Joe

    There is a judgment on my credit report/public record that I did not know until now. The filing data: 8/2008. Account status: unknow. when I searched the case index number at, it shows status: disposed.
    What is “disposed” mean? Can I request CRA to remove it? If yes, how?

    Thank you.

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  • eric

    At what point does the late payment nolonger effect my credit score? some places say the full 7 years, others say 12 months, most say 24 months. what would you say?

    • Deanna Templeton

      This is a good question, Eric. Most negative information remains in your credit report for 7 years and as long as it’s in your credit report, it *will* have an impact on your credit scores. (For more on how long negative information remains in your credit report, read: How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?)

      However, the older the information gets the less impact it will have. To give you a little more perspective, credit scoring models place more emphasis on your credit patterns in the most recent 24 months. This means any negative information that’s occurred in the last 2 years will hurt you much more than older information. They key is to offset the negative damage by adding new, positive payment information to your credit reports. If you’d like to learn more about improving your credit scores and rebuilding from past credit problems, here are a few excellent resources to get you started:

       • Rebuilding Your Credit
       • 11 Tips to Rebuild Your Credit

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  • dw

    My son just went to a dealership to buy a car. He had a credit rating of 710 at the time. They claimed they could get me a better rate than he could get himself. He said OK. He ust ran his credit report and found out that they ran 12 hard inquiries. His credit is now ruined….what does he do now?

    • Credit Experts

      It’s unlikely that your son’s has been ruined inquiries at an auto dealer. Here’s why: After 30 days pass, auto inquiries are grouped together in 45-day increments. This means you could have 100 different auto inquiries in a 45-day period, and your credit score would count them as one inquiry. This custom logic only applies to auto, mortgage and student loan inquiries, and was specifically designed to allow consumers to rate-shop for the best deal without being penalized for excessive inquiries.

      If your son’s credit score is now below 710, it might have fallen from the “good” to “fair” range. His best bet now is to work hard to rebuild his credit by repaying debts on time and using 25% or less of his credit limit on credit cards. For more on inquiries and credit scores, see Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your History of Searching for Credit.

  • Credit Experts

    Hard inquiries generally cause a small, temporary drop in credit scores. You’ll find more information here:
    How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

  • ABA

    there are 9 inquiries on my credit card can you please tell me how lont they will be there 5 of them are from tmobile verizon sprint and 2 from sears

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Inquiries are reported for two years and have the most impact on your score in the most recent twelve months. You can find out how these inquiries are impacting your credit scores by getting your free credit score from

  • Gerri Detweiler

    It’s actually Congress that wrote that law, not the FTC. And I imagine trying to get them to change it now would be nearly impossible! The good thing is that older information carries less weight in most scoring models provided current bills are paid on time.

  • Kali Geldis

    Hi Roger —

    Great question.

    It’s all a matter of whether you’ve kept any U.S. accounts open and in good standing.

    Here’s an article that will hopefully answer some of your questions about re-establishing credit in the U.S.:

  • Credit Experts

    Hard credit inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, but most scoring models include only those from the past 12 months. You can see the credit inquiries on your credit reports.
    Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    It means there is one account that is showing a late payment, or a collection account/judgment or something similar. I assume you are looking at your credit score. If you don’t have the underlying report I suggest you get that to see what’s on there. Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • Em

    In late 2006 I had a Citibank card go into default with around $2000 on it. This debt has been sold 2-3 times since then and is now listed with a balance of around $15k and origination date in 2013. Unsurprisingly, my credit union declined my recent auto loan application.

    Experian says this will fall off in March–great–but TransUnion says May and Equifax doesn’t provide a date. Counting 7.5 years from when this card originally went to collections, it should have fallen off July 2014. A guy from my credit union went through and disputed this with Experian and TransUnion (we couldn’t pull up Equifax) online, but didn’t provide a thorough explanation or documentation. The disputes didn’t work. My CU uses Experian, so the guy just told me to not bother anymore and apply in March, but this doesn’t help me shop for the best rate (shopping around with a score in the low- to mid-600s could be the difference between 12% and 5%).

    At this point, I’m wondering if I should wait or try something else to get these off of my reports sooner. The data on the existing Citibank entry proves my claim, I believe. Can I request validation of specific things from the collection agency? Would I be at risk for resetting the clock on the debt? Should I complain to the CFPB?

    I realize May isn’t far off, but I have no idea if Equifax will drop it by then and there’s the principle of the matter. I also just need a new car sooner rather than later as I have a lease ending which has already been extended once. Any advice?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It sounds to me like these should already be off your credit reports. Collection accounts remain for seven years +180 days from the date you fell behind with the original creditor (in this case Citibank), not 7 1/2 years from the date they were placed for collection. So it sounds to me as if the collection agency is not reporting the original date of delinquency to all the credit bureaus correctly. Either that or two of them aren’t picking it up.

      To protect your rights under federal law you should dispute these in writing with the credit reporting agencies that are reporting them. Make sure you keep proof of your dispute; most consumer law attorneys I talk with recommend you do it by certified mail.

      If they are not removed, or if you have already disputed them this way and they have not been removed, you can talk with a consumer law attorney. You may have a case for credit damage given that you are unable to get a car loan at the best rate due to these accounts. Your other option would be to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Will you let us know what happens?

  • stephen

    I recently found that an unpaid deductible charge from an emergency room visit has been on my credit report for a long time. It was my wife that went to the ER, and my insurance that covered it, but there was a deductible that was supposed to be paid. They have put “DM – late pay 120 days” on my report every month for the last 7 years and it is showing up as 45 missed payments. If bill is valid, I’d like to take care of it, but I am worried that paying for it will keep the derogatory remarks on my record for longer. The bill was from November 2008 and was only about $100, but it has taken a hidden toll on my credit that I’ve only just found, since it was only on my Equifax report, and I’ve only been checking my TU report. What is the best way of taking care of something like that with the least amount of continued damage on the credit score?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Stephen – This is a tricky one. Generally, under most current scoring models, paying an old debt isn’t supposed to hurt your credit scores. The date of last activity may be updated but that’s not supposed to lower your scores. But there are many scoring models out there and things aren’t always black and white.

      This debt sounds like it is quite old. It is probably outside the statute of limitations and it sounds like it is scheduled to come off your reports May 2016 anyway and that’s not too far off. (7 years plus 180 days from when it was originally due – check my math but I think that’s right.)

      Have you tried disputing it already with the credit reporting agency AND the collector? What happened?

  • Tanya

    Michigan judgements are enforceable for ten years, but I’ve read that they come off credit reports at seven AND read they come off at ten. Is there somewhere that actually says it is for sure seven, or ten years? (This is in regards to an unpaid judgement.)

    • Credit Experts

      Tanya —
      Our understanding is that judgments in Michigan can be renewed, so it would not be as if after 10 years, they are uncollectable. You can read more here: Michigan Debt Collection

      In addition, the dates for when statutes of limitation and credit reporting expire are often different. This post addresses that:
      Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

  • Kim

    I have a judgement on my credit this April will make 7 yrs .On my credit report it states reporting until April does this mean this is going away?

    • Credit Experts

      Kim —
      You are right about the seven years. It will come off your credit report then, yes. But that doesn’t mean the debt no longer exists, if that was your question. We wrote a post on the differing dates involved that might be useful to you: Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

  • rose k

    There is a negative collection account on my credit report to a company that I never had an account with. Also this account exists in a state that I have never lived. Can I sue for deformation of character?

    • Credit Experts

      Rose —
      It could be a simple mistake. First, why not try disputing the information to have it removed? Here’s how to do that: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes. If the credit bureaus will not remove the information, then you might consider consulting a consumer law attorney.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    First of all, payments may affect the statute of limitations but they shouldn’t affect how long it is reported. If they did falsify the payments in order to report this information longer than it should be then you should absolutely get an attorney involved. In fact, it makes sense anyway since they are continuing to report a debt that isn’t yours on your credit report. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates for help finding an attorney with experience in Fair Credit Reporting Act cases. Please let us know how it turns out!

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