Negative accounts on your credit file may seem like an everlasting problem. While it feels like an eternity before these delinquent accounts come off your report and are no longer haunting your credit score, acquainting yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) will ensure the information is removed in a timely fashion.
Under the FCRA, negative debt can only remain on your credit file for a specific amount of time. As a general rule of thumb, most negative accounts will only remain on your credit file for a period of seven years from the date the account became delinquent. This seven year rule includes accounts in which you made late payments, accounts that were charged off because no payment was made and accounts that were turned over to a collection agency. Even if a collection agency took over an account, the agency can only report the account for seven years from the time the account became delinquent and not from the time it began collection. If you miss a payment on an account and the company reported the account as 30 days late, the negative past due payment can only be reported for seven years after the missed the payment was made. However, if you continued to miss payments and the company continued to report late payments to the credit bureaus, each payment can be reported separately for seven years.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your file for 10 years from the date filed. Accounts included in your bankruptcy will be reported and discharged but will still show an “Included in Bankruptcy” notation for the entire 10 years. Civil suits and judgments, and records of arrest will remain on your credit report for up to seven years OR the governing statute of limitations, whichever is longer. Other negative accounts can remain on your credit file indefinitely. Unpaid tax liens will haunt you forever and will continue to follow you until the balance or a settlement is paid. A tax lien will be removed from a credit report seven years from the date it is paid. A conviction of a crime may also remain on your credit report indefinitely.
If you believe your credit report has inaccurate information and is reporting an account that should no longer be reported on your credit file you have a right to dispute the information. For more information or to speak with an attorney for a completely free case review regarding your rights under the FCRA contact SmithMarco P.C.