negative information

How Long Negative Information Can Stay On Your Credit Report

If you are diligent about monitoring your credit report regularly and take steps to maintain a healthy credit score, you may be wondering how long negative information such as delinquent accounts, judgments, and other adverse information stays on your report.

By law, certain types of information must be removed from your credit files within a certain period of time.

Here is an overview of how long different types of negative information and activities can stay on your credit report:


A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for no more than ten years from the date of filing or ten years from the date of discharge.

Lawsuits and Judgments

These can be reported for up to seven years depending on any statute of limitations in your state.

Paid Tax Liens

These can be reported for up to seven years from the date of payment.

Criminal Records

These do have a place on your credit report but can only reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations has expired.

Delinquent Accounts

These can be reported for seven years after the date of the last payment you made before you fell behind.

Accounts Sent to Collections

Accounts that are sent to collections can be reported for up to seven years and an additional 180 days from the day the account became delinquent.

Overdue Child Support

This can also stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Missed Student Loan Payments

Some student loan accounts that become delinquent can stay on your credit report for more than seven years. For example, if you go into default on a Stafford Loan or a PLUS loan, that negative information can be reported for seven years after the U.S. Department of Education takes over your loan from a guarantee agency. This usually only occurs if you haven’t made payments in years. So, in effect, that negative credit history could be shadowing you for a decade or so. In fact, overdue Perkins Loans will stay on your credit report indefinitely until they are paid off in full.


Inquiries from Creditors

The standard time limit for this type of activity is seven years. But in practice, most credit reporting agencies, such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, do not report hard inquiries after two years.

Other Adverse Information

If you are applying for credit or insurance in the amount of $150,000 or more, or you are seeking a job that pays $75,000 or more annually, then legally adverse information (such as bankruptcies, collections, etc.) can be reported on your credit report for longer than the usually seven to 10-year time frame. But again, that’s the letter of the law. In reality, the credit bureaus will typically remove all such negative information after seven or 10 years.

Make sure to review your credit report regularly for any mistakes, omissions, or errors that may impact your credit score. If you do find activities reported that took place more than seven years ago, you may need to contact relevant parties to make corrections.

Otherwise, you can dispute the mistakes online directly with the credit bureaus.

Sabah Karimi

Sabah Karimi is a professional freelance writer and digital copywriter. She writes personal finance, small business, and marketing content for several mainstream websites and has an educational background in business and marketing. She also writes beauty, fitness, travel, and lifestyle content for private clients.Follow her on Twitter @Sabahk

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