Credit Infocenter

How Long Do Negative Items Stay on a Credit Report?

Written by: Kristy Welsh

Last Updated: March 17, 2017

We assume you're asking this question because you recently reviewed your credit report only to find quite a few negative items listed on it. These negative items are dragging your credit score down and you want to know how long these are going to be listed on your report.

It does depend on the type of negative information but here is a breakdown of how long different types of negative information will remain on your credit report:

  • Late Payments: 7 years
  • Bankruptcy: 7 years for completed Chapter 13 bankruptcy¬†and 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Foreclosures: 7 years
  • Collections: Generally 7 years, depending on the age of the debt being collected.
  • Public Records: Generally 7 years, although unpaid tax liens can remain indefinitely.

Exceptions to Some Negative Listings

Here are some exceptions:

  • Bankruptcy information can be reported for 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Information reported because of an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000 has no time limitation.
  • Information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limitation.
  • Information concerning a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.
  • Default information concerning U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student loans can be reported for seven years after certain guarantor actions.
  • Tax liens stay on seven years from the date PAID.

Rules to Know When Dealing With Negative Information on Your Credit Report

Some other rules to keep in mind:

  • The statute of limitations has nothing to do with the length of time something can stay on your credit report, they are two TOTALLY separate things. Again, there is absolutely NO relationship.
  • The length of time a negative mark can stay on your credit report starts from the time you were late or the late payment went into collection, not from the last time you made a payment on the account. Some collection agencies update their reporting status on you to keep the account active with the bureaus to extend the time the account appears on your report. Very crafty and underhanded of them, because most often the account is updated and the period of time the account is active appears to be extended. This is illegal and you can challenge this. If you do, bureaus will correctly remove it seven years from origination. Period. In other words, paying a collection will not keep it on your credit report for a longer period of time.