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The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) oversees the length of time negative information can stay on your credit report. In most cases, negative details are removed after seven years, while bankruptcies can stay on your report for longer. The different types of negative information that can impact your credit score are explained below.

Hard Inquiry

A hard inquiry can remain on your credit report for two years. Although not exclusively negative, a request of your full credit report can deduct a few points, so it’s best to avoid too many hard inquiries. If you complete a car loan, mortgage, and other application within a two-week period, bundled hard inquiries will count as one and have less impact on your credit report.

Late Payments

Equifax keeps records of a late payment for up to seven years. Paying the past-due balance won’t remove it from your report. Late payments are generally considered past due if more than 30 days late.

Collection and Charge-Off Accounts

If you fail to pay a past-due balance, the account could be charged off to a collection agency. Your collection account will remain on your credit report for seven years from when the delinquency is first reported. A charge-off generally occurs when you are 120 days behind on a loan payment and 180 days late in paying a credit card.


A form of default, a foreclosure will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date you first miss a payment. If reported in a negative status, a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure can be reported as a negative account. A repossession will remain on your report for up to seven years as well.

Lawsuits and Judgements

A paid or unpaid civil judgement used to be listed on credit reports for seven years. However, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion removed civil judgements from credit reports in April 2018. Tax liens, paid and unpaid, were removed as well. If a civil judgement is listed on your credit report, ask the credit agency to have it removed.


A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy. Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and non-discharged Chapter 13 bankruptcies remain on your credit report for 10 years. A discharged Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be removed from your credit file after seven years.

How Does Positive Information Differ from Negative Information?

Active accounts, even charge-off accounts, will be considered paid as agreed if you make on-time payments. Positive information can stay on your credit report indefinitely. The credit bureaus track all accounts, even closed ones, that are in good standing, so your financial management status can be factored into their credit scoring systems.

Can I Remove Negative Information from My Credit Report?

If you believe any information on your credit report is incorrect, you can dispute it with a credit reporting agency. For example, with Experian, you can open a dispute via telephone, mail, or the internet. Contacting a reporting agency directly is the most efficient method of filing a dispute.

Contact American Credit

We are a Veteran owned and operated company that can help improve your credit at a fraction the cost of a credit law attorney. Our pre-litigation process has helped thousands of clients. Whether you’re trying to qualify for a home loan, lower a loan interest rate, or raise a low credit score, American Credit can help. Obtain a free credit consultation by contacting us online or calling 855-982-2750.