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How Long Does Debt Stay On Your Credit Report?

Learn about the different types of debt, how long debt remains on your credit report and what to do to fix negative information on your credit report.

How Long Does Debt Stay On Your Credit Report?

Your credit report is like your financial resume, and lenders look closely at it when they’re deciding whether or not to lend you money. We all want to have a flawless credit report, but if you have made some mistakes in the past, you may be wondering how long it will be until those mistakes are no longer counted against you. In this post, we will talk about different types of debt and how they affect your credit score. 

How Long Do Late Payments Stay on Your Credit Report?

When you fail to pay a bill for 30 days or more past its due date, your lender may report it to the top three credit bureaus. A late payment of 30, 60, 90 days, or longer can appear on your credit report for up to seven years after it occurs. After seven years, it will “fall off” your report. At this time, the debt is still collectible, but it does not impact your credit report. Seven years is also the time limit for foreclosures, charge-offs, collections, settlements, and repossessions to appear on a credit report.

How Long Does Medical Debt Stay on Your Credit Report?

The question of how medical debt can affect credit is a more complicated one, as it is treated differently than other types of debt. First, because health care providers don’t usually report to credit bureaus, medical debt doesn’t show up on your credit report until it is significantly past due and has been sold to a collection agency. Even when the account has gone to collections, the three major credit bureaus extend a 180-day grace period for billing errors to be corrected and insurance payments to be processed. 

Another thing to note about medical debt on your credit report is that it is weighted less heavily than other types of debt when calculating your credit score. Medical debt that has been paid off is even ignored in some cases. 

Does Debt Relief Hurt Your Credit?

Debt relief is a broad term that refers to several different methods of dealing with mounting debt. Types of debt relief include:

Debt Management
Debt management is a great option for paying off debt without hurting your credit by enlisting the help of a credit counselor to create a payment plan. If you stick to the prescribed plan, there are no negative effects to this approach. 

Debt Settlement
Debt settlement involves hiring an outside company to negotiate with your creditors to lower the amount that you have to repay them. Debt settlement can hurt your credit score, as you often have to stop paying your bills during negotiations. Debt settlement can also have tax implications, as forgiven debt is reported to the IRS as income.

Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation means consolidating several different loans into one new loan, such as a personal loan with a lower interest rate to save you money. If you make payments to your new loan on time, it should not have a negative effect on your credit, other than the small, temporary hit to your credit score when you apply for the loan.

There are two types of bankruptcies, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all debts are discharged and lenders are not allowed to attempt to collect them from the debtor. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on a credit report for up to 10 years from the filing date. Chapter 13 bankruptcy means that the debtor usually has a payment plan, where payments are made to an appointed trustee, who then distributes the funds to those who are owed money. Chapter 13 bankruptcies remain on a credit report for seven to 10 years from the date they are filed. 

How To Remove Negative Marks on Your Credit Report

It is important to check your credit reports regularly to make sure there are no surprises. If you find negative information on your credit report, the first thing to do is determine that it is accurate. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report and have them removed if they are found to be inaccurate.

If the negative information is accurate, make plans to pay off the debt immediately. Debt that is paid in full is less of a negative to lenders than debt that is still outstanding. Once the debt is paid, you can contact the creditor or collection agency and ask them to remove it from your credit report. While they don’t have to do this, it never hurts to ask. 

Finally, remember the good news: negative marks can’t stay on your report forever, and they will fall off after the time frame specified for that type of debt. It should also be noted that open accounts in good standing remain on your credit report indefinitely, helping to boost your credit score.


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