Your credit report offers valuable insight into your financial history and affects most of your financial future: everything from whether you get approved for a mortgage or other loan to what your credit card interest rate will be.
Negative information on your credit report can be detrimental for years, but it’s not always clear how long those inquiries and other negative information will stay on your credit report—and affect your score. The length and severity vary, but here are four common types of inquiries and how long they affect your credit score.
1. How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on My Credit Report?
What is a hard inquiry?
Hard inquiries are created every time your credit report is accessed by a business when you apply for a line of credit. For example, your credit would receive a hard inquiry when you apply for a car loan, mortgage, student loan, or credit card.
How long will hard inquiries stay on your report?
Inquiries remain on your credit reports for two years (24 months). However, hard inquiries impact your score for only the first 12 months. After that, they have no impact on your score.
How much do hard inquiries affect your credit?
New credit—including inquiries and any new credit accounts—make up just 10% of your FICO score, and a single inquiry will likely drop your credit score by only three to five points. As long as you apply for credit only when you need it, this is one of the lesser hits to worry about
2. How Long Do Credit Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?
What is a credit account?Credit accounts refer to all of the accounts for which you hold credit, including credit cards, mortgages, and car loans. Credit scoring models like to see a healthy balance to the types of credit accounts (or “credit mix”) you have and can manage effectively. Negative information on a credit account includes late or missing payments.
How long will negative credit account information stay on your report?
Negative account information stays on your credit report for seven years from the date it was first reported as late. If you close the account, the entire account will be removed from your report after seven years. If the account remains open, the negative information will be removed after seven years, while the rest of the account information stays on your report.
Positive information, on the other hand, remains on your credit report indefinitely. If you close the account, positive information typically stays on your report for 10 years past the closing date.
How much do credit accounts affect your credit?
Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score: a healthy mix means more points. If you don’t have many credit accounts or if you close your accounts, it could negatively affect your credit score.
Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, and making payments on time is the most important factor in determining your credit score: a single 30-day-late payment can drop a good score by 90 to 110 points.
Most lenders don’t report missed payments until accounts are more than 30 days past due, so if you can catch the missing payment in enough time, you might not notice a hit at all. Other lenders will let one late payment slide, especially if you’ve been a loyal customer for many years and have a good excuse for why you missed it.
3. How Long Do Collection Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?
What is a collection account?When you fall behind on making payments on an account, your debt could end up in the collection’s department of that particular company. That creditor may then sell your debt to a collection agency, which also reports it as a collection account. At this point, the original creditor that sold the debt should not continue to report a balance owed, but you should watch out for duplicate collection accounts.
How long will collection accounts stay on your report?
Collection accounts remain open for seven 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.
How much do collection accounts affect your credit?
Understanding how collection accounts can affect your credit score is tricky. The most important factor that will affect your credit score when it comes to collections is how recently the collections occurred—the more recent the collection, the lower the score. Multiple collection accounts or lawsuits resulting in judgments can also lower your score. Unfortunately, settling or removing a collection may not impact your score positively.
While there’s no way to tell exactly how much a collection account will affect your credit score, it is one of the higher penalties, so the best course of action is to avoid having accounts sent to collection in the first place.
4. How Long Do Public Records Stay on My Credit Report?
What are public records?
Public records include any of your personal information that becomes public knowledge, including bankruptcies, tax liens, and judgments.
How long will public records stay on your report?
The type of public record will determine how long the information stays on your credit report.
Chapter 7, 11, and 12 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years from the date filed. Completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies are usually removed after seven years from the filing date.
Tax liens remain on your credit report for seven years from the date filed if they are paid, or indefinitely if they are not. 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 on your credit report for seven years from the date filed, and 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.
How much do public records affect your credit?
There is no way to know exactly how many points your credit score might drop with a public record on file, but the effect of public records on your credit report could be severe.
The best way to keep track of your credit reports throughout the year and to stay on top of any erroneous information is to monitor your credit regularly with Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card.