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an online dispute with the credit bureaus and request that the credit account be removed on the grounds that this is outdated information.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.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of 15 money-management books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.
Lynnette has been seen on more than 1,000 TV segments nationwide, including television appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show and many more.
All information on this blog is for educational purposes only. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, is not a certified financial planner, registered investment adviser, or attorney. If you need specialty financial, investment or legal advice, please consult the appropriate professional. Advertising Disclosure: This site may accept advertising, affiliate payments or other forms of compensation from companies mentioned in articles. This compensation may impact how and where products and companies appear on this site. AskTheMoneyCoach™ and Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach® are trademarks of TheMoneyCoach.net, LLC.