How Long Does Bad Credit Last?

Today answers the question “How long will negative information remain on my credit report?”

It depends on the type of negative information. Here’s the basic breakdown of how long different types of negative information will remain on your credit report:

  • Late payments: 7 years
  • Bankruptcies: 7 years for completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies and 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcies.
  • Foreclosures: 7 years
  • Collections: Generally, about 7 years, depending on the age of the debt being collected.
  • Public Record: Generally 7 years, although unpaid tax liens can remain indefinitely.

Keep in mind: For all of these negative items, the older they are the less impact they are going to have on your FICO® score. For example, a collection that is 5 years old will hurt much less than a collection that is 5 months old.

Credit scores are designed to be forgiving. Items stay on your report for seven years, but “the good news is that the scoring system is weighted so that your most recent history matters most,” says Quinn. “If you have negative info on your report, keep a perfect payment record for six months and your score can go up as much as 30 points.” If payment slip-ups are dragging down your score, consider asking for a “good will deletion,” says Deborah McNaughton, author of The Essential Credit Repair Handbook. “If you have a long-term relationship with the lender and usually pay on time, they may be willing to remove a late or missed payment from your account history.”

Share a credit card with caution. If you’re added as an authorized user on someone else’s card, that card’s account information—good and bad—will appear on your credit report, and can affect your score, says Quinn.

Your score isn’t carved in stone. It can change every time your creditors report on your account, which can range from every 30 days to once a quarter—so pay off a big chunk of your debt and your score could go up as soon as your next billing cycle.

By Brooke Nevils
from Woman’s Day Magazine

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