How Long Do Derogatory Marks Stay on Your Credit Report?
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
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.
All of which means that if you have derogatory marks on your credit report that are dragging down your score, you’d like them to be cleared up as soon as possible.
So how long do derogatory marks stay on your credit report? In many cases, they’ll stay for seven years, but it depends on the specific type of derogatory mark. This article lays it out mark-by-mark and explains exactly how you can get each one removed.
How long these 8 derogatory marks stay on your credit report
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.
There are some exceptions, though, and it’s also worth noting that the different credit bureaus may receive different information along different timelines, so there’s no guarantee that your credit history will be reflected in the exact same way across all the major bureaus.
But the following table outlines how long each major type of derogatory mark stays on your credit report, and below is an explanation for each one, along with how you can get it removed once that time has passed.
|Types of Derogatory Marks on Credit Reports|
|Derogatory mark||How long it remains on your credit report|
|Late payments||7 years|
|Charged-off accounts||7 years|
|Collection accounts||7 years|
|Medical debt||7 years|
|Chapter 7 bankruptcy||10 years|
|Chapter 13 bankruptcy||7 years|
|Hard inquiries||2 years|
|Other derogatory marks||Generally 7 years|
1. Late payments
Your payment history is the single biggest factor in determining your credit score, which means that late payments can have a significant negative impact.
The bad news is that late payments stay on your credit report for seven years. The good news is that the further in the past those late payments are, the less of an impact they have.
How to fix it: Once the seven years has passed since the late payment, you can request a copy of your credit report to make sure that it has been removed. If it hasn’t, you can dispute the payment with the relevant credit bureau.
2. Charged-off accounts
A charged-off account is one that the original lender has decided is unlikely to be repaid, so they have closed the account. In many cases that debt is sold to a collection agency, which means that your one account will now appear as two on your credit report: one closed, charged-off account and one new collection account.
Charged-off accounts remain on your credit report for seven years.
How to fix it: Once your account is sold to a collection agency, you must deal with them and not the original lender. If you pay off the debt, it will be marked as a “paid collection” and will be removed from your credit report after seven years.
3. Collection accounts
Collections occur when your original lender charges off the debt and sells it to a third-party debt collector. That debt will then remain in collections until you either pay it off, you are sued, or the statute of limitations runs out.
Collection accounts remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of your original debt.
How to fix it: If you are able to pay the collection agency, make sure to ask them to mark the account as “paid in full.” You’ll still have to wait seven years for the collection account to be removed from your credit report, but that designation is both a more positive indicator to other lenders and proof that you paid off the loan in case another collection agency contacts you.
4. Medical debt
Medical debts typically aren’t reported on your credit report until they are 180 days past due, but once they pass that point they are typically sold to a collection agency and will appear as a collection account.
Once that happens, the account will stay on your credit report for seven years. If you are having trouble paying off medical debt, this guide could help you negotiate it.
How to fix it: Similar to the collection accounts described above, the best you can do is pay the bill and ask for it to be marked as “paid in full” until the seven-year period has passed.
5. Chapter 7 bankruptcy
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, certain assets are sold in order to pay off debts, after which most of your remaining debt is discharged. Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years, although the negative impact lessens over time.
How to fix it: Court records are periodically updated and that information is reported to the credit bureaus, so your bankruptcy will automatically be removed once the 10 years has passed.
6. Chapter 13 bankruptcy
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court helps you create a three- to five-year repayment plan, after which your eligible remaining debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for seven years, although the negative impact lessens over time.
How to fix it: Court records are periodically updated and that information is reported to the credit bureaus, so your bankruptcy will automatically be removed once the seven years has passed.
7. Hard inquiries
Hard inquiries occur when a lender or other creditor checks your credit score before making a decision about whether to extend you credit.
A single hard inquiry might result in a small credit score decrease, while multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time could lead to a more dramatic increase. Though it’s worth noting that if you have multiple inquiries within a short period of time for the same type of loan (e.g. mortgage shopping), they will generally only count as a single inquiry.
How to fix it: If an inquiry remains on your credit report for longer than two years, you can dispute that information with the credit bureau.
8. Other derogatory marks
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, “any other adverse item of information, other than records of convictions of crimes” remains on your credit report for seven years.
How to fix it: In most cases, the options for remedy are disputing an inaccurate mark, paying the debt, or waiting until the seven years are up.
How to dispute inaccurate information
The last thing you want is for inaccurate information to hurt your credit score. That’s why it’s so important to regularly check your credit report and dispute anything that looks wrong.
You can click here for detailed guidance on disputing credit report errors, but it’s typically a simple process that can be completed online. Below is the website and other contact information for each of the major credit bureaus.
- Website: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html
- Phone: 1-866-200-6020
- Address: Experian, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
- Dispute request form: https://usa.experian.com/content/documents/disputeByMail_Instructions.15f0da9c.pdf
- Website: https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit
- Phone: 1-800-916-8800
- Address: TransUnion Consumer Solutions, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
- Dispute request form: https://www.transunion.com/docs/rev/personal/InvestigationRequest.pdf
- Website: https://www.equifax.com/personal/disputes/
- Phone: 1-866-349-5191
- Address: Equifax Information Services, LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Dispute request form: https://www.equifax.com/cp/MailInDislcosureRequest.pdf
How much does a derogatory mark affect your credit score?
While all derogatory marks will hurt your credit score, the amount your score will drop varies based on a variety of factors. For one thing, the type of derogatory mark matters. A hard inquiry is likely to reduce your credit score by about 5 to 10 points, while a late payment — if you’ve missed the due date by a whole billing cycle — can reduce your score about 90 to 110 points.
A bankruptcy is another example of a derogatory mark that will reduce your credit score significantly. For example, someone with a credit score in the mid-700s is likely to see their score decrease by 100 points or more, according to the credit scoring company FICO.
How to improve your credit score
No matter what your history looks like, it’s always possible to start improving your credit score. By paying your bills on time, paying off debt, and working to get your balances low relative to your overall credit limit, you can increase your score and establish a positive credit history.
Some of those negative marks may stick around for a while, but their impact decreases over time. And in the meantime, those positive habits will help you build a more stable financial foundation.