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When Will Negative Items Be Removed From My Credit Report?

By Janet Lacey
Published: Thursday, November 19th, 2009

If you are in the process of repairing your credit, then you will most likely be concerned about the negative items on your credit report. Apart from listing your mortgage, loan and credit card history, your credit report also carries information about collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies, tax liens and judgments. These negative items not only remain for a long period on your credit report, but are a constant drag on your credit score

However, US law believes that every one should be given the opportunity for a fresh start. As a result of this, there is a statute of limitations that lists down the maximum period that a negative item can stay on your credit report. After a certain specified period of time, negative entries from your credit report are supposed to be deleted. Not knowing when a credit entry should have dropped off your report may lead to lower credit scores and higher financing charges where there should be none.  

Keeping tab of the negative items on your credit report and making sure that they are removed at the right time will help you rebuild your credit report and improve your credit score. As of now, some of the major timelines when negative items should be dropped off your credit report are: 

15 Years

The only negative entry that remains on your credit report for this long are unpaid tax liens. So it is not just a good idea to ensure that it gets dropped off the moment it is supposed to, but to do everything you can to avoid getting it on your credit report in the first place. 

10 years

The two main categories that make it to the ten year mark on your credit report are bankruptcies and criminal arrests. Bankruptcy filed under Chapter 7, 11, or 12 will remain on your credit report for a period of 10 years from the filing date, after which it has to be deleted. Similarly, a criminal arrest will remain on your credit report for 10 years. No more, no less. 

7 years

The majority of serious credit defaults remain on your credit report for 7 years. Bankruptcy filed under chapter 13, charge offs and collections are supposed to be dropped off after 7 years. Note that charge offs and collections are supposed to be deleted 7 years and 6 months from the date of delinquency and not from date of the charge off. Other items that fall under the seven year statute are civil suits and cases. The statute of limitations for different civil suits and criminal arrests varies considerably, so it is a good idea to check the Fair Credit Reporting Act to know the exact time when a particular item is supposed to go off your credit report. Other items on the 7 years list are foreclosures (7 years from date of filing) and paid tax liens (7 years from date paid). 

2 years

Credit enquiries that have been made as a result of your application for credit remain on your credit report for a period of two years. Even though enquiries are not a credit offence, they can still pull down your credit score a bit, so it is best to check that they are removed as soon as possible.

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