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How Long Do Financial Records Remain on Your Credit Report?

Jackie Lam • November 21, 2023

Your credit report is like a report card for your credit. It signals to lenders how risky it is to give you a loan or credit card and reveals your overall financial wellness.

Knowing how long certain financial information stays on your credit file can help you learn how to maintain a solid credit history. How long financial records remain on your credit report depends on the situation and type of information. Here’s what you need to know.

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The length of time information stays on credit reports

Your credit report provides comprehensive details of your credit activity with creditors and lenders throughout the years.

Let’s take a look at how negative credit reporting can hurt your credit standing and lower your score and how positive information, which can help boost your credit standing and build your score, can stay on a credit report.

How long negative information stays on credit reports

Falling behind on payments has the most impact on your credit, so be prepared for your credit score to lower if you miss a payment. This type of financial information can stay on your credit report for years.

What is the maximum amount of time a negative item can stay on your credit report? Here’s how long negative information, which can hurt your score, can remain on your credit report:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy means clearing your eligible debt after liquidating your assets. As it’s like pressing reset on your debt load, it has a higher toll on your credit than its counterpart, Chapter 13. Filing Chapter 7 can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years from the filing date.3
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Also known as the wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves working with the courts and proposing a repayment plan to pay off your creditors and lenders over a few years.3 Because Chapter 13 is more of a restructuring of your debt and creditors will get their money back, it stays on your credit report for up to seven years from the filing date.3
  • Late or missed payments. Payments anywhere from 30 to over 180 days past due can stay on your report for up to seven years from the original delinquency.3 As payment history makes up the majority of your credit score (around 35%), falling behind on your payments can cause your score to drop significantly.4
  • Accounts in collections. Generally, after you miss several payments in a row, your account might go to collections, either to an in-house debt collector or a third-party debt collection agency. Accounts that have gone to collections can linger on your report for up to seven years from the original delinquency.3
  • Accounts that have defaulted. Mortgages, other types of loans, and lines of credit that have defaulted – like foreclosures, repossession, and settlement – can show up on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency.Charge-offs, which are debt balances that creditors deem as a loss and the account is closed for future charges, also fall under this category.
  • Lawsuits and judgments. If you are involved with a lawsuit or judgment, this can linger on your credit report for up to seven years.3
Type of financial informationTime it stays on your report
Chapter 7 bankruptcyUp to 10 years from the filing date
Chapter 13 bankruptcyUp to 7 years from the filing date
Late or missed paymentsUp to 7 years from the original delinquency
Accounts in collectionsUp to 7 years from the original delinquency
Accounts that have defaultedUp to 7 years from the original delinquency
Lawsuits and judgmentsUp to 7 years

Tax liens used to appear on your credit report, but as of 2017, the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – decided to remove civil records altogether.5 In the past, tax liens stayed on your credit profile for up to seven years. Unpaid tax liens stayed on for up to 10 years.

So when do late payments fall off a report, and how is that determined? The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) helps protect consumers’ rights around all things related to credit reporting. The FCRA also makes the call on how long certain financial information stays on your credit report.3

How long positive information stays on credit reports

Here’s how long positive information, which can help your score, can stay on your credit report:

  • Open accounts in good standing: In this case, you’re rewarded for good behavior. As long as they remain active, open accounts in good standing will stay on your credit report indefinitely.Some good news: The FCRA doesn’t require the removal of positive information like on-time payments. As mentioned, your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. So, staying on top of your credit card and loan payments can help improve your credit score.
  • Closed accounts in good standing: Closed accounts that didn’t default or went to collections typically can remain on your credit reports for up to 10 years from the closure date.
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How long do inquiries stay on a credit report?

Knowing how long certain inquiries stay on a credit report can help you determine how certain financial investments and inquiries can impact your credit. Let’s look at how long inquiries linger on a credit report and why.

  • Soft inquiries. Soft credit inquiries don’t impact your credit. Examples of soft inquiries are when a current lender checks your credit, when you’re checking your credit, or when a creditor checks your credit to see if you qualify for pre-approval offers. 6
  • Hard inquiries. While soft inquiries have zero impact on your credit score, hard inquiries can negatively affect your credit. Hard pulls, which typically happen when you apply for a loan, mortgage, or credit card, will stay on your credit file for up to two years from the date of inquiry.However, the impact is typically minor, and your score will recover within a few months if no negative information is reported.
  • Multiple hard inquiries. Multiple hard inquiries can do more damage to your credit score than a single hard inquiry. There is an exception: If you’re shopping for credit and comparing offers, multiple inquiries made between a 14- to 45-day window will count as a single inquiry. 6

Stay in the know to build credit

Knowing how certain financial records and money moves can affect your credit can help you make choices that lead to a strong credit report. In turn, it can raise your credit scores, meaning lower interest rates and more favorable terms.

Ready to make positive money moves to work on your credit? Learn more about how to repair your credit.

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1 Information from U.S. Court's "Chapter 7 - bankruptcy basics" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-7-bankruptcy-basics/

2 Information from U.S. Court's "Chapter 13 - bankruptcy basics" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-13-bankruptcy-basics/

3 Information from Experian's “How long does it take for information to come off your credit reports?" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-long-does-it-take-information-to-come-off-your-report/

4 Information from myFICO's "What's in myFICO® scores?" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/whats-in-your-credit-score/

5 Information from Experian's “Tax Liens Are No Longer a Part of Credit Reports" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/tax-liens-are-no-longer-a-part-of-credit-reports/

6 Information from Experian's “What's the difference between a hard and soft inquiry?" as of November 1, 2023: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/hard-inquiry-vs-soft-inquiry/

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