Lenders use your credit score and the information in your credit report to assess your risk as a borrower, so it is important to understand the rules about how long information stays on record.
Your credit activity, including payment behavior, plays an important part in how your credit score is calculated. Lenders who have extended you credit regularly report your payment behavior—whether it is positive or negative— to the three national credit reporting agencies. This data can also be pulled from public record information.
Not all of your credit information will stay on your credit report forever, which can be good news if you are worried about how long negative information, such as late payments, bankruptcies and judgments, will impact your credit history and credit score.
How long information remains on your credit report varies.
Accounts paid as agreed will generally stay on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date of last activity. If you’ve paid off your mortgage, for example, that positive information can stay on your credit report for up to a decade from the account’s date of last activity.
A revolving credit account—such as a credit card—that is paid as agreed can stay on your credit report forever, as long as the account remains open. If you close the revolving credit account, the positive information can stay on your credit report up to 10 years from the date of last activity.
How long negative information appears on your credit report depends on the type of information:
- Late paid accounts. In general, negative information will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of last activity. Late paid accounts that are still active will be removed from your credit report seven years from the start of the delinquency, which is when the payment was missed.If you have an account that has been charged off or is in collections,it will typically remain on your credit report for seven years and 180 days from the start of the delinquency that led to the charge off or collection.
- Judgments. Generally speaking, a judgment will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date filed or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever time period is longer.
- Tax liens. Paid tax liens will typically stay on your credit report for seven years from the date released (paid), while unpaid tax liens can remain on your credit report for 15 years.
- Bankruptcies. In general, the public record of a bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for 10 years. However, you may see individual accounts in the bankruptcy, such as credit accounts, fall off of your report seven years and 180 days from the start of the delinquency on the account.
Inquiries are a record of companies that have pulled a copy of your credit report. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit reporting agencies must inform you of who has made an inquiry. Generally speaking, credit reporting agencies will report inquiries for one to two years, depending on the reason your credit report was accessed
- Promotional inquiries. You may receive a promotional inquiry if your name and address were provided to a company who made you a firm offer of credit or insurance, such as a pre-approved credit card. Typically, these types of inquiries remain on your credit report for 12 months and do not affect your credit score.
- Account monitoring or account review inquiries. This type of inquiry is triggered when one of your current creditors performs a regular review of your credit report when evaluating your account. An account monitoring or account review inquiry will usually stay on your credit report for 12 months and does not affect your credit score.
- Personal inquiries. When you make a request to pull your own credit report, your credit score is not impacted. An inquiry you initiated by requesting your report will typically stay on your credit report for 24 months.
- Hard inquiries. When lenders and credit card issuers decide whether to grant you credit, they check your credit report. You may initially see a hard inquiry if you apply for a mortgage, credit card or auto loan, and that inquiry can remain on your report for 24 months.
Certain state laws may also impact how long information stays on your credit report. For current New York residents, for example, paid collections will remain on your credit report for only five years, while unpaid collections will remain for the full seven years.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.