How Long do Things Stay on Your Credit Report?

Credit reports are hugely important in today’s world. From renting an apartment to applying for jobs, your credit score can have a serious impact on the opportunities that are open to you. Needless to say, those who manage to pay their debts off on time will be considered more reliable debtors than those with a proven track record of missing payments and leaving their creditors hanging dry.

While positive information can stay on your credit report indefinitely – even though most of it will age off within a decade – negative information only stays on your report for a limited amount of time. This means that everyone has the opportunity to rebuild their credit score and to demonstrate that they are able to manage their debts and turn their lives around after financial difficulty.

The Good Stuff

As we mentioned earlier, information that reflects positively on you as a debtor can stay on your credit report indefinitely. Most of it will be removed automatically at some point, accounts that are paid off as agreed will be removed 10 years after the last payment, for example.

While it would be nice if this information remained visible forever, it will make you more attractive to lenders for the time it does appear.

The Bad Stuff

This is where things get a bit more difficult as different marks will remain for different lengths of time. Things like late payments and collections will disappear seven years after they first appear on your report. On the other hand, more serious events such as bankruptcies will appear on your report for around a decade.

Note that the exact time limits will vary from state to state. Be sure to check the exact figures for your state, so you know what you are dealing with. There isn’t a huge amount of variability between states, but there is enough that it is worth looking for exact figures.

Removing Things Early

Needless to say, avoiding falling into debt in the first place is the best way of keeping your credit report clean. If you do find yourself with some marks on your credit report, contact your creditors to find out how you can go about having them removed. If you have discovered negative marks on your credit report that you think are erroneous, contact the creditor and explain the situation for them. In cases of genuine error, they should clear things up for you.

In cases where the mark is correct, you can always ask your creditor if they would be willing to remove the debt for you. This is a long shot but, hey, you don’t have anything to lose by asking.

There are now professional services who can help you to have old marks against your name removed from your report. If you aren’t sure how to do it yourself, or you aren’t having any luck, it might be worth hiring a professional to do it on your behalf.

Given how much of an impact on our day to day lives our credit scores can have, they are something that everyone should know about. Far too many people don’t even know what their credit report is until a negative score begins to impact their life. Negative marks do disappear from your credit report eventually, so there is always the opportunity to turn things around and regain your financial freedom.