Q: How long does a negative item stay on your credit report?
A: This debt should have long since fallen off your credit report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, negative information such as the 90-day late payment you mentioned can only legally remain on your credit file for 7 years from the time of your delinquency.
In your case, that would be seven years from the time you missed a payment or defaulted (i.e. November 1986). Because your debt is nearly 25 years old, it should definitely no longer appear on your Equifax, TransUnion or Experian credit files.
If it does, simply initiate an online dispute with the credit bureaus and request that the credit account be removed on the grounds that this is outdated information.
There is also a separate Statute of Limitations that doesn’t apply to your credit, but to the length of time after which a debt is no longer legally enforceable.
After a debt, such as a credit card bill has run its statute, or expired, a creditor can no longer legally sue you in court, get a judgment against you, or do anything to pay you pay an old debt.
In most states in America, the statute of limitations on old debts runs between 3 and 10 years. So again, from this standpoint too, that old debt should not cost you any money — or any worries.