Marks on your credit report, both good and bad, eventually go away. But how long does it take to drop off – and how long does your personal financial information stay on your credit report?
Why Your Credit Report Matters
Your credit report is an extremely valuable collection of information that can largely influence your financial health and reputation. You can find installment loan and credit card account details within it, as well as delinquencies and other personal financial information on these accounts.
Having adverse actions listed on your credit report can significantly hurt your chances of being approved for future credit or loans, especially at the lowest interest rates. Fortunately, most blemishes are not permanent and will drop off your report after a number of years. The duration of derogatory details on your credit report is set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission.
The limits specified by this legislation serve to protect the consumer and ensure that reporting agencies play fair Below, we’ll dive into the specific marks that can make their way into your credit report and how long you can expect them to stay there.
Good marks may remain on your credit report indefinitely, though certain details may make their way out after time. Accounts that you have paid off and closed can eventually “age off” and be removed once ten years or so have passed.
Negative Information on Your Report
The less-than-favorable material varies (much like positive information on credit reports), but, as directed by the FCRA, the majority remains on your credit report for up to seven years.
Bankruptcies are the clingiest adverse actions on your credit report, but how long they remain there depends on the type of bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are reported for seven years from the filing date. Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay with you for ten years.
When you miss several consecutive credit card or loan payments, your account may be charged off and sold to a collection agency. Charge-offs are reported for seven years, regardless of whether you’re able to pay off the debt before that period is up. However, paid off debts will cause the charge-off reporting to have a lesser impact on your credit score.
As mentioned, a charge-off usually leads to a collection agency stepping in and taking over demand for payment. These marks will also stay on your report for seven years from the date of the delinquency. It’s clear, then, that you should avoid the possibility of having your debt written off to a collections agency because your report will pay double the price (no pun intended).
Being the subject of foreclosure means the event will stick to your credit report for seven years from the date the foreclosure was filed. Short sales will also make it to your report as adverse actions, though they may be classified as charge-offs.
Hard and Soft Inquiries
Although they slightly lower your credit score, hard inquiries are not inherently bad because they’re necessary for creditors and lenders to approve your applications. However, collecting many of them in a short period is not ideal because it makes you look like you’re in dire need of money.
In general, hard inquiries will remain on your credit report for two years, but they’ll only influence your credit score for twelve months. Note that hard inquiries are visible to other entities reviewing your application. This is what can make them nefarious, in addition to lowering your credit score. Soft inquiries are only visible to you (with a few exceptions), so although these may remain on your report for some time, you won’t have to worry about their repercussions.
Previously, judgments would generally remain on your report for seven years, though individual states’ statutes of limitations could take precedence over that length. However, judgments are no longer reported by the credit bureaus. As far as public records are concerned, only bankruptcy will make it onto your credit report and remain there for an extended period.
If you’ve missed a due date or paid less than the minimum amount on a statement balance, student loan, or other type of credit product, the late payment will be mentioned in your credit report for up to seven years from the date that it occurred. Aside from this consequence, you also want to avoid being late on payments because it can seriously hurt your credit score. Payment history has the largest influence on your score’s calculation, so be sure to set reminders or enroll in automatic payments if you’re prone to missing deadlines.
Like judgments, tax liens are no longer reported to credit bureaus. These delinquencies would also form part of your report for seven years, but as a result of the National Consumer Assistance Plan a few years back, this derogatory mark is not a concern with respect to what makes it on your report.
After the Reporting Period has Passed
You generally don’t have to contact the credit reporting companies and ask them to remove information once the designated amount of time has passed. The agencies should automatically take it out of your report. However, if you see information on your report that should no longer be there, you may have to dispute the error.
Though your financial shortcomings will eventually make their way off your credit report, the wisest thing you can do is avoid these failings from happening in the first place. There is always the possibility of events happening over which we have no control, and these events may result in unfortunate situations like bankruptcy or being unable to repay your debt. However, you should make every possible effort to keep your credit report and credit history pristine.
Before you take any steps to improve your credit, first obtain a free credit report. Federal law provides every consumer with one free copy of each of their three credit reports every year, allowing you to see exactly which items are causing issues to your credit and personal finance.
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