Knowing how long certain negative credit sticks around can make a big difference in how you plan to improve your credit in the long run. If you have negative items on your credit report, how long does it really take for them to disappear?
Here’s everything you need to know about when items disappear from your credit report.
The 24-Month Rule
The first thing to realize is that 70% of your credit score is calculated from your last 24 months of credit history.
In other words, even if credit card defaults are reported for seven years, if you start building up your credit now you’ll still have a good chance of getting a credit card in two years.
You don’t have to wait for a negative credit item to completely fall off your report before its level of damage can be minimized.
When the “Fall Off” Clock Starts Ticking
There’s often a bit of confusion that surrounds when exactly the clock starts ticking for something to leave your credit report.
There are two things creditors look at for gauging recency of credit report items: Date of Last Activity (DOLA) and Date of Last Delinquency (DOLD).
The clock for when something should leave your credit report starts at the DOLD. In other words, the date when you’re first delinquent on a payment is when the clock should start ticking.
Making a payment on that account will increase your DOLA, bringing it up to the current date. However, your DOLD will remain as the old date. In other words, making a payment to a delinquent account will not “reset” the time it takes to fall off your credit report.
How Long Different Items Stay on Your Credit Report
In general, negative credit items on your report will fall off after seven years. That applies to both installment loans (e.g. car loans) and revolving credit (e.g. credit cards).
There are a few exceptions, however.
Tax liens will stay on your credit report for seven years after the debt is paid.
Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for ten years.
Any application for a credit account of $50,000 or more can stay on your credit report for an indefinite amount of time.
It’s also important to note that government-backed student loans and lawsuit judgments have different rules. The statute of limitations can increase the length of time a lawsuit judgment stays on your record. Student loans can also be reported for longer periods of time, depending on guarantor actions.
As a good rule of thumb, however, most negative credit items will stay on your credit report for seven years after the date you were first delinquent. If you find an item on your credit report that has passed that date and not been removed, contact the credit agency.