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How Long Do Derogatory Marks Stay on Your Credit Report?

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Content was accurate at the time of publication.

A poor credit score can make a lot of things harder. It can make borrowing difficult or more expensive. It can even cause your insurance premiums to rise or make it harder to rent an apartment.

Derogatory marks typically stay on your credit reports for seven years, but some may cast their shadow for up to 10 years. Here’s what to expect if you have negative credit events dragging your score down.

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Types of derogatory marks

Derogatory marks come in many forms and with varying degrees of severity, but none of them stay on your credit report forever. The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates how long each type of derogatory remark stays on your credit report, and the general rule is that most derogatory marks stay there for seven years.

Type of derogatory markHow long it remains on your credit report
Late paymentsSeven years
Charged-off accountsSeven years
Collection accountsSeven years
Medical debtSeven years
BankruptcyChapter 7: 10 years
Chapter 13: Seven years
Hard inquiriesTwo years
ForeclosureSeven years
RepossessionSeven years
Debt settlementSeven years
Student loan defaultSeven years

1. Late payments

Payments are considered late if they aren’t made within 30 days of the due date. The more payments you miss, the blacker the mark on your credit and the longer it’ll take your credit score to recover. These negative items will linger on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of the delinquency. And unfortunately, you can’t just get rid of it by closing the account.

The negative impact of a late payment will be greatest when it’s fresh and strongest for people with high credit scores. In fact, a single missed payment can cause your score to drop by as many as 180 points. As time passes, the impact to your credit score will decrease, but it’s still good to take action sooner rather than later.

 How to fix it: Start by bringing any overdue accounts current. After that, the only defense here is a good offense. To keep late payments from hurting your credit, always make your payments on time.
Once seven years has passed from the date of delinquency, check your credit report to be sure the derogatory mark has been removed. If it hasn’t, you can file a dispute with the relevant credit bureau to have the error removed.

2. Charged-off accounts

A charged-off account is one that the credit card company or lender writes off as a loss. Your account may be charged off even if you’ve been making payments if those payments are below the monthly minimum. If the debt is charged off and sold to a debt collection agency, you’ll receive two separate derogatory marks: one for the charged-off account and one for the collections activity.

Charged-off accounts will stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Once your account has reached this point, not even paying the debt in full will get it off your credit report, although it may help reduce the negative impact.

 How to fix it: Pay the debt or find a way to settle with the collection agency. While this won’t get rid of the negative mark on your credit report, it may help turn down the heat. It can also help you avoid the risk of being sued by a debt collector.

3. Collection accounts

Collection accounts are charged-off accounts that the lender has sold to a collections agency. This usually happens after you’ve missed a few months of payments or failed to pay the minimum balance. Debt in collections will remain there until you either pay it off, you’re sued or the statute of limitations on debt runs out.

You’re still obligated to pay the debt even if it goes to collections, although you’ll need to make those payments directly to the debt collector. You can expect the negative item to stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of your first missed payment.

 How to fix it: The best way to fix a collection account is to pay the debt. You may be able to work out a payment plan or settlement with the collection agency. The black mark will still be on your credit report for up to seven years, but it will be listed as a “paid collection,” which should hurt your score less than an unpaid one. Some credit scoring models even ignore paid collections, so there is hope.

4. Medical debt

Medical debt affects nearly one in four Americans, affecting consumers across all demographics. In fact, a 2022 CFPB report found that there is at least $88 billion in outstanding medical debt. If you’ve got medical debt weighing your credit score down, you’re not alone.

The good news is that the major credit bureaus have changed the way they report medical debt. In 2022, Equifax, Experian and Transunion announced that medical debt that’s been paid in full will no longer appear on consumer credit reports.

Beginning in 2023, medical collections accounts under $500 will no longer appear on your credit report. You’ll also have one year to pay your overdue accounts before they show up on your credit report. After that, medical debt can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.

 How to fix it: You can negotiate your medical bills with the provider. But as with any form of debt, the best course of action is to pay the owed amount and ask for it to be marked “paid in full” until it falls off your report in seven years.

5. Bankruptcy

There are several types of bankruptcy, but only two typically affect individual consumers: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called “liquidation bankruptcy,” you’ll generally have to sell some of your assets to pay the debt. Chapter 7 will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date you filed, although the impact lessens with time. A bankruptcy filed one year ago will have a stronger impact than one that’s four years old.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you usually get to keep your assets and instead set up a three- to five-year repayment plan. This form of bankruptcy is generally referred to as the “wage earner’s plan” because it’s designed for people who have regular income and can commit to a structured payment plan. Since you’ll have repaid your debt within five years, Chapter 13 bankruptcies only stay on your credit report for only up to seven years.

 How to fix it: As soon as you’re able, begin rebuilding your credit with responsible use. Wait to apply for new credit while you’re working through your Chapter 13 payment plan, but once your bankruptcy has been discharged, you can apply for personal loans and credit cards. Bankruptcy cannot be removed from your credit report, so you’ll have to wait until the derogatory mark is removed after enough time has passed.

6. Hard inquiries

Hard credit inquiries occur when a lender requests a copy of your credit report because you’ve applied for credit, rather than the limited information they receive with soft inquiries for preapproval offers. Hard inquiries will appear on your credit report and can impact your credit score. Note that your score will not be affected when you review your own credit report.

Hard inquiries can stay on your report for two years, although they usually stop affecting your credit score after one year. If you’re rate shopping for a home or auto loan and submit multiple applications within a certain period of time — usually 14 to 45 days — they’ll generally be counted as only one hard inquiry.

 How to fix it: Try not to let fears of multiple hard inquiries keep you from finding the best lender for your borrowing needs. The long-term benefits of better terms usually outweigh the short-term impact of hard inquiries.

7. Foreclosure

Foreclosure occurs when a lender takes possession of your home after you’ve missed several payments on your mortgage. These painful events stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of your first missed mortgage payment and are often considered second only to bankruptcy in the damage they can do to your credit score.

A short sale, which happens when the lender removes the lien on your home so you can sell it, also negatively impacts your credit and will stay on your credit for seven years.

 How to fix it: If you’re concerned about possible foreclosure, contact your lender. Many lenders offer hardship options like forbearance or loan modification. If you’ve experienced foreclosure, the best next step is to focus on rebuilding your credit with responsible use and wait seven years for the derogatory mark to fall off your report.

8. Repossession

Car repossession is like foreclosure — if you fall too far behind on your auto loan payments, your lender can seize your vehicle. There’s no legal guideline on how long lenders must wait before repossessing your property, although in the case of vehicles, repossession typically happens after 90 days of missed payments. The lender doesn’t need to give you notice of impending repossession, so it’s important to keep up to date on your debts.

Not only will your credit take a hit from missed payments, but the repossession event will linger on your credit report for up to seven years.

 How to fix it: You may be able to negotiate with your lender to avoid repossession, such as renegotiating loan terms or voluntarily surrendering the car. Be sure to get any agreements in writing and follow through with the terms you negotiate. Otherwise, the best course of action is to practice healthy financial habits and wait for the seven-year impact to expire.

9. Debt settlement

With debt settlement, a lender agrees to accept less than full repayment. This is recorded as a negative item on your credit report because you didn’t pay back everything you owed and will remain on your credit report for seven years from the first missed payment. Settled debt is still better than an account that remains past due and in collections, so if you can’t repay a debt in full, it’s often better to settle than to do nothing at all.

 How to fix it: While you can’t remove debt settlement from your credit report, you can take steps to rebuild your credit. Focus on keeping up to date on your current payments, paying off any other outstanding debt and keeping your credit utilization rate low.

10. Student loan default

When you miss a payment on your student loan, the loan is considered delinquent. After 90 days of missed payments, your lender will report the delinquency to the major credit bureaus. After 270 days of missed payments, federal student loans are considered to be in default. Private student loan rules vary, but it may take fewer missed payments for a private lender to trigger default.

The good news for student loan borrowers is that the U.S. Department of Education has stopped collections of defaulted loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as the moratorium remains active, no additional student loans will fall into default.

However, if you defaulted on your student loans before the moratorium, the derogatory mark will remain on your credit report. There will be no collections efforts or garnishments, and further interest accrual will be paused, but the default will likely still impact your credit score. Student loan default can remain on your report for up to seven years from the date of your first missed payment.

  How to fix it: Take advantage of the moratorium to seek out student loan rehabilitation. Rehabilitation allows you to get your student loan out of default by making a specified number of consecutive, on-time payments as per the rehabilitation agreement you strike with your lender. To begin, contact your lender and begin repairing your credit.

How to dispute inaccurate information

Mistakes can happen, even on credit reports. The good news is that you can have inaccurate information removed from your credit report, which is why it’s important to check your credit report regularly. Start by requesting free copies of your credit reports from

If you identify a mistake on your credit report, it’s important to address it right away to prevent it from negatively impacting your credit score. This page provides an in-depth explanation of how to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report.

How much does a derogatory mark affect your credit score?

The degree to which a negative credit event affects your score depends on the type of derogatory mark. A hard inquiry may drop your credit score by five points or less, while a payment that’s 90 days late may cost you up to 180 points. More severe negative items like bankruptcy can drop your score by even more.

How much a derogatory mark affects your credit score will also depend on what your score was to begin with. Negative items generally have a greater impact on higher scores than lower ones. For example, if your credit score is 680, bankruptcy could drop it by 130 to 150 points. Meanwhile, someone with a 780 credit score could lose over 200 points while someone with a score under 500 may only lose 50 points.

How to rebuild your credit score after a derogatory mark

The best way to improve your credit score after a derogatory mark is to focus on responsible credit usage going forward. Pay your bills and debts on time and aim to keep your credit utilization below 30%. Good behavior won’t remove a derogatory mark, but focusing on what you can control by practicing healthy financial habits can go a long way toward reducing the negative impact of derogatory marks.

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