What Is the Length of Time Covered by Your Credit Report?

Allison Martin
credit report

Have you ever wondered how long certain information will remain on your credit report? This is a common question amongst consumers, especially if there are negative items dragging your FICO score through the mud and hindering you from obtaining financing to make a purchase. Items remain on credit reports for different periods depending on the type of account/item.

Trade Lines

Common trade lines, also known as credit accounts, include:

  • Credit card accounts
  • Mortgage loan accounts
  • Auto loan accounts
  • Student loan accounts
  • Retail accounts
  • Finance company accounts
  • Any other installment loans

Trade lines that are in good standing remain on your credit report for up to ten years following the date of last activity (DLA). However, credit accounts that are delinquent are reflected on your credit report for seven years following the date the delinquency was first reported, notes Equifax.

If an account has late payment history but is now current, it will still linger after ten years, but the negative marks will be removed after seven years, the article adds.

Credit Inquiries

There are two types of credit inquiries: voluntary and involuntary. Involuntary inquiries are derived from screenings for promotional credit offers and do not impact your credit. By contrast, voluntary inquiries that are generated as a result of applications for new credit will remain on your credit report for 12 to 24 months. However, "FICO® scores only consider inquiries from the last 12 months. FICO scores do a good job of distinguishing between a search for many new credit accounts and rate shopping for one new account," says myFICO.

Public Records

Public records include the following:

  • Judgement: A court-ordered decision stating how much you owe to a creditor or collection agency
  • Wage garnishments: A court-ordered judgement that mandates you surrender your wages, through withholding by your employer, to settle past-due debts owed to creditors. Wage garnishments can also result from unpaid child support and alimony.
  • Tax liens: These are implemented by a federal or state agency for failing to pay an outstanding tax obligation.
  • Foreclosures: These occur when the lender repossesses property on which the mortgagor has failed to make timely mortgage payments.

Judgements and foreclosures fall off after seven years, even if the outstanding obligation is not satisfied, according to Equifax. However, tax liens linger for seven years from the date of payment and release. Unfortunately, unpaid tax liens may remain for 15 years or longer, the article adds.

Collection Accounts

Collection accounts appear on your credit report when you fail to meet your obligations to the creditor, the information is turned over to a third-party collection agency, and you fail to settle the balance. However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act grants the consumer 30 days to validate or dispute the debt before it is sent to the credit bureaus and escalated to the court system.

If you fail to settle the balance or breach the terms of the payment arrangement between you and the collection agency, the account will be reported to the credit bureaus and remain on your credit report seven years from the initial date the account was sent to collections, notes Experian.

Bankruptcies

According to Equifax, the rules for the removal of bankruptcies are as a follows:

  • Chapter 7: Remains on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing
  • Chapter 11: Remains on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing
  • Chapter 13 (status- non-discharged): Remains on your credit report 10 years from the date of filing
  • Chapter 13 (status- discharged): Remains on your credit report 7 years from the date of filing

An Important Suggestion

If you find inaccurate information in your credit report, reach out to the creditor directly to resolve the issue. Next, follow the process of writing a credit dispute letter to file a dispute if your initial contact with the creditor is unsuccessful.

What Is the Length of Time Covered by Your Credit Report?