How Long Will Information Stay On My Credit Report?

If you’re human, chances are you have made a credit mistake or two. You may be wondering how long that mistake will haunt you. While it may seem like it will never go away, rest assured that it eventually will.

Credit scores are very important; lenders use your score along with the information they find in your credit report to assess your risk as a borrower (in other words, to help them decide whether or not to loan you money and what kind of rates to give you, among other things). Understanding credit reports and what is in them (including how long information stays on them) is key to being an educated borrower. 

Your lenders send information (good and bad) about your credit activity to the three major national credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Lenders send information such as accounts paid off, late payments, judgments and inquiries, all of which will impact your credit history and credit score. If you’re worried about some of your information (like a late payment), you can rest easy knowing that not all of your credit information will stay on your report forever. 

Different information remains on your credit report for different lengths of time. Positive information, such as an account paid off (like a mortgage or auto loan) may stay for up to 10 years since the account’s last activity date. A revolving credit account (including a credit card) that has been paid as agreed to (meeting minimum payment amounts and making payments on time) may also stay on your credit report for as long as it’s open or for 10 years from the date of last activity. 

Most negative information is reported for seven years. This includes late payments, foreclosures and accounts in collections. Judgments may also remain for seven years from the filing date. A paid tax lien will typically stay on your report for seven years from the date paid and unpaid tax liens will remain on your credit report for 15 years. 

A public record of bankruptcy will stay for 10 years, though individual accounts may start falling off after seven and a half years. Inquiries stay for one to two years. Promotional inquiries (like pre-approved credit card offers) and existing account monitoring or review inquiries stay for 12 months, but do not impact your credit score. Personal inquiries stay for 24 months, but do not impact your credit score either. Hard inquiries (credit checks from a potential lender or credit card company) may remain for 24 months, and too many hard inquiries in a short time period could negatively impact your credit score. 

Being aware of how long information (both good and bad) stays on your credit report can make you a savvier consumer. To access your 3 bureau credit reports and scores, visit the PrivacyGuard website.