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The question of how long closed accounts remain on a credit report is one of the most frequently asked on the Equifax Finance Blog. Whether you request that a creditor close an account on your behalf or a creditor closes an account after seeing a long period of inactivity, the account history usually won’t immediately be erased from your credit file.
A: First things first: Closing an account does not remove it from your credit report. Even if you close an inactive account, you could still have recent account activity posted on your credit summary if the creditor reports something to the reporting agencies, like a change in the report date or the account’s date of last activity, for example.
The exact length of time the closed account appears on your credit report, however, will depend on the payment history of the closed account.
There are set time periods for how long closed accounts and negative information remain on a credit report, depending on the type. Generally speaking, negative information will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of last activity, but bankruptcies can appear on your credit report for 10 years from the date of last activity.
Let’s walk through a few scenarios to help you better understand what really happens:
Accounts in good standing: Credit accounts that are closed but were paid as agreed, will normally remain on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date of last activity. Positive information on open accounts in good standing, however, can stay on your credit report forever.
Charged off accounts: On the other hand, accounts that were not paid as agreed and charged off (meaning the debt became seriously delinquent and the creditor has given up on being paid and has closed the account to future use, although the debt is still owed)will generally remain on your credit report for seven years plus 180 days from the start of the delinquency that led to the charge off..
Account in collections: If you have an account in collections, it will usually remain on your credit report for seven years plus 180 days from the date the account first became past due. The countdown to the account falling off your credit report begins 180 days after the start of the delinquency that led to the collection. Closing the account doesn’t remove it from collections, nor does it remove the collection and payment history from your credit report.
As you continue to monitor your credit report going forward, always make sure that your negative accounts have fallen off after the appropriate period of time has elapsed.
Remember that if you have ever disputed an item on your credit report and the resulting investigation did not end in a resolution, you have the right to file a free statement in order to explain the events that led to the negative information reporting on your Equifax credit file. Once submitted, you can either edit the statement or ask that it be removed from your credit report at no cost.
Diane Moogalian is vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Solutions with responsibility for operational strategy and execution in support of customer care and fulfillment of credit and identity-related products for consumers. Prior to joining Equifax in 2007, Diane held several strategic roles with leading financial services companies. Diane graduated from the University of Richmond with a bachelor of science degree in business administration (marketing and economics) and earned a certificate in international business from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.