Many of us have had a negative event appear on our credit report. Whether it's simply a late payment, a credit inquiry or even a bankruptcy, having those things on your credit can have a negative affect on the interest rates you receive on loans you take out.
The question is – just how long do these things stay on your credit report?
Will your youthful mistakes stay with you forever, or will you be able to wipe the slates clean?
Let's take a look at just how long your credit mistakes live on via your credit report.
What Is Your Credit Score Made Of?
Before we look at how long your mistakes stay on your credit report, let's examine just what a credit score can be made of, and what types of things are included on your report. Here they are, in order of importance:
- History of Payments (35%): Are you making your payments, and are you making them on schedule?
- Amount Owed (30%): How much of your credit lines are you using, and how much do you owe in general?
- Length of Credit History (15%): How long have your credit accounts been open, and how long since you last used those accounts.
- New Credit (10%): Are you opening new lines of credit? Opening new credit cards, home loans or other lines of credit? Do you have a lot of credit inquiries – looking for loans for one purpose or another?
- Types of Credit Used (10%): How many accounts and what types of accounts do you have?
So there is a good amount of information that is being pulled into your credit reports from your payment history and inquiries, to negative events. So how long do they stay on your report?
Credit Mistakes Don't Live Forever (But They Can Linger)
We've all made financial mistakes of one kind or another, but often credit blunders can be extremely costly ones. For example, missing a few payments on a debt and having your credit drop from one score range to another can cost you thousands of dollars on a home mortgage.
In the U.S there are around 2 billion data points entered every month into credit records, and that information can stay there for quite a long time.
So just how long do credit mistakes reside on your credit report? From Experian:
25 months – Credit Inquiries
Credit inquiries happen when your credit report is accessed, for one reason or another – usually when applying for a credit card or a loan.
I applied for a home loan 27 months ago when we were buying our new home. I went online today to verify that the credit inquiries from that time are no longer on my credit report. The inquiries were there a few months ago, but they are in fact gone today. I found a note on the report that there were credit inquiries removed since the last time I checked the report.
7 Years – Chapter 13 Bankruptcies, Civil Judgements, Late Payments
There are a variety of negative credit events that will be on your credit report for 7 years. Among them are:
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy generally allows you to pay back some or all of your debt. It's going to stay on your report for 7 years though.
- Civil Judgements: Paid and unpaid civil judgements against you will be on your report. So don't get sued!
- Collection Accounts: If your credit account goes to collections, the negative event will be on your report 7 years from your first missed payment.
- Tax Liens – Paid: Don't pay your taxes and have a lien placed? It can be on your report for 7 years if you end up paying it.
- Late payments: Even if the payment is made, it will stay on your account for 7 years.
10 Years – Chapter 7 Bankruptcies, Closed Accounts, Unpaid Tax Liens
A few negative credit events are treated even more seriously and will remain on your credit report for a full 10 years. They include:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: If you don't repay a debt under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it stays on your report for 10 years. If dismissed it can still stay on your credit for 7 years.
- Tax Liens – Unpaid: If you have unpaid tax liens it can stay on your report even longer than a paid one. 10 years.
- Closed Accounts: If there was no negative history an account is removed 10 years after it is closed.
There is some information on your credit report that is ongoing. It includes your identifying information (name, addresses, related aliases), open and active accounts and payment activity on open accounts.
Be Careful With Your Credit, Or It Could Come Back To Haunt You
While mistakes on your credit report aren't going to be the end of you, they can stick with you longer than you might realize.
Do your best to avoid that negative information by keeping your credit behaviors strong: like not taking on credit that you don't need or can't afford, and always staying up to date on your payments. If you do those things you'll be in better shape next time you're looking to get a loan.
This blog post was written as part of a sponsored program for ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian Company. All views expressed are entirely my own and were not influenced or directed by Experian. This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.