If your credit report includes some negative items, it’s important to know how long they will remain there. Every negative mark on your credit report has some impact on your overall credit score, so the sooner a negative mark no longer shows up, the better. If you’re trying to improve your credit score, take a look at some of the most common types of negative items and how long they will stay on your credit report.
If you paid a debt more than 30 days late, your creditor may have reported it to the credit bureaus. It will take about seven years from the date of your late payment for it to come off your report.
A payment that was 90 days late affects your score more negatively than a payment that was 30 or 60 days past due. In addition, the older your late payment is, the less it affects your credit score. So while it might take seven years to get a late payment off your report, its impact will gradually lessen as you get closer to that seven-year mark.
Any debts you haven’t paid on time may go to collections, and these will stay on your credit report for seven years plus 180 days from the date of the first missed payment. Even one account going to collections will reduce your credit score, as will any subsequent accounts that you leave unpaid. Even after you pay an account that has gone to collections, it may remain on your credit report unless you contact the creditor or a credit repair agency for help removing it.
Many creditors decide that your debt is a lost cause once your payment is more than 120 days late, so they mark it as a charge-off. Essentially, it’s a negative item on your credit report at that point, and it will stay there for seven years plus 180 days from the date of the first missed payment. This is the case even if you pay this debt off eventually. Keep in mind that you may still owe the debt after it has been charged off, because the creditor can still sell it to a collections office that will contact you for payment.
The amount of time a bankruptcy stays on your credit report depends on the chapter you filed. For a discharged chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will stay on your report for seven years, since you had to repay at least some of the debt you owed. For chapter 7 or 11, the bankruptcy will show up for 10 years, since debts are not repaid with these chapters.
Before you foreclose on a home, you should know the foreclosure will stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the date you file. This timeline also applies to a short sale, which will be reported as a negative mark on your credit report and will therefore make it more difficult for you to buy another house for at least seven years.
If you have a tax lien on your credit report due to not paying your taxes, this negative item will remain on your report for up to seven years after the IRS filed it. This is the case even after you’ve paid it off. If you want it to come off sooner, contacting the IRS to see if you qualify for withdrawal of the lien. This is a good step to consider if you need to get a loan or mortgage soon and do not want an old tax lien affecting your credit score and thus your chance of obtaining the loan or mortgage.
Credit inquiries may show up as negative marks on your credit report, but they’re not as damaging to your score as many of the other negative items discussed above. In fact, soft inquiries do not damage your credit score at all. An example of a soft inquiry is when a current creditor reviews your account to see if you’re eligible for a better interest rate or increased credit limit. Checking your own credit score is also a soft inquiry.
On the other hand, hard inquiries occur when you apply for a new credit account, such as a car loan or credit card. This will damage your credit score slightly, but only for up to one year. Luckily, the effects of either type of inquiry are minimal, since inquiries stay on your report for up to two years.
Clearly, with most types of negative items on your credit report, the magic number is seven. So any time you make a mistake when it comes to your finances, you could be suffering the consequences for the next seven years. The good news is that you may be able to reduce the amount of time the typical negative mark stays on your report, because you have the option of hiring a credit repair company to help. This could get items removed much sooner and is worth looking into if you plan to make any big purchases soon that require you to have a good credit score.