How Long Do Negative Items Stay On Your Credit Report
If you are having financial problems, you probably are also having problems with a lowered or damaged credit score. One thing many people ask is how long these negative items stay on your credit. Maybe you can just wait to file bankruptcy until these negative items disappear? You certainly could—but that may not be the best option.
Negative Marks or Items
As a general rule, items that negatively affect your credit will remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date of the delinquency—that is, the date that you missed the payment, or missed the first payment. The same time period holds true for foreclosures or repossessions.
Note that there are not separate 7 year time periods for every single payment that you miss. So if you have missed, say, 10 payments on a credit card, you will not have 10 separate items on your credit, all of which can remain on your credit for 7 years. You will only have 1 negative item that starts from the first missed payment.
Unfortunately, many creditors illegally re-age your account. This means that they “start the clock” over again (sometimes called re-aging). This usually happens when a debt collector or debt buyer takes over, or purchases, your debt.
Let’s say that your first missed payment was January 2021. That missed payment should come off of your credit report by January 2028. However, in August 2021, a debt buyer buys the account, and starts the clock over again, so that now, the debt won’t come off until August 2028. This is illegal–the time period doesn’t change just because a collection agency takes over the account–but it does happen very often.
What collection agencies do get is some extra time onto that 7 year period. A collection agency can report a negative account for 7 years and 180 days from the delinquency.
Charge Offs and Judgments
When a collection agency or creditor sells your debt to a debt buyer, it will mark the account as “charged off” on your account. That can remain on your credit for 7 years and 180 days. That means that you have a “charged off” marking from the original creditor, as well as a delinquency that will be reported by the debt buyer.
Judgments also can remain on your credit reports for 7 years. However, if there is a statute of limitations–a deadline that the creditor has to act on the judgment–and that time period is longer, that will be the maximum period that the judgment can appear on your credit report.
Checking Your Credit
You should always check your credit, because creditors do make mistakes. Often, credit reporting agencies will confuse people with the same or similar names, or people who share the same birthdays. You have a right to challenge, and have removed, items on your credit report that should not be there.