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How long can negative information stay on your credit reports?

Positive or neutral information can stay on your credit reports indefinitely

Experian, for example, no longer reports accounts that are more than ten years old if the account is closed and there is no activity on it. Accounts such as credit cards and mortgages can stay on a credit report for many years if they are open and active.

With negative information, however, federal law limits how long that information may be reported:

· Chapter 7 Bankruptcies – These will stay on your credit reports for up to 10 years from the filing date. Interestingly, the accounts that are included in this type of bankruptcy will
have been removed from your credit reports years before the actual record of filing chapter 7 is removed.

· Unpaid Tax Liens – These will stay on your credit report indefinitely. Yes, indefinitely. Once paid, the will remain on your credit reports for seven years from the date they were filed, not the date you pay them off. It is possible to get unpaid tax liens removed from your credit before the tax debt is satisfied if you qualify for the IRS Fresh Start program.

· Defaulted Student Loans – The 7 year rule does not apply to defaulted student loans that are government issued or guaranteed. These items can also stay on your credit report indefinitely.

· Collection Accounts – These accounts may be reported for seven years plus 180 days from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor, leading up to when the account was charged off and placed for collection. After that time period elapses, they may no longer be reported, even if they remain unpaid or have been sold to a new collection agency.

So how can you be sure that these items will be removed when the time has come?

Each of the credit bureaus hard codes their credit reporting systems to look for the “purge from” dates. As these dates hit their 7 or 10 year anniversary they will no longer be reported. Unless you believe that an account is being reported past those time limits, there is no need to remind the credit bureaus that an item is to be removed. It is done automatically. Still, it’s a good idea to check your free credit report each year to make sure that is the case. Check the link below to get your free credit report.