Federal law specifies how long negative information may remain on your credit report. To prevent you from being penalized for past credit mistakes forever, the Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates that negative information, so it can only be reported for seven, ten, or fifteen years at the most. This includes bankruptcies, late payments, accounts that a creditor turned over to a collection agency, tax liens, and judgments filed against you in court – even if you later paid the account in full.
A hard inquiry can remain on your report for two years. Most judgments will remain on your credit report for up to seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. However, with unpaid tax liens it could be up to fifteen years. The date of filing for a public record or date of the first missed payment is what the credit bureaus usually go by when removing or keeping information on your credit report.
The length of time a bankruptcy remains on your credit report depends upon which chapter you file. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to ten years. Chapter 13, by policy of the credit reporting agencies, remains on your credit report for up to seven years.
You should check out your credit report frequently, and fix any problems as soon as possible. Sadly, when you don’t do this there is a possibility that you will pay higher interest rates on everything from credit cards to car loans to insurance policies.
3 Tips to Dealing with Negative Credit Report Information:
Check Your Credit Reports Often –
Often, a consumer will run out and get a “free” credit report from bogus places like freecreditreport.com that will charge you a monthly fee of $19.99 and don’t even show all three credit reporting agency’s information. Instead, a smart consumer should go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get all three of his or her credit reports for FREE from consumer credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (this service is free through Federal Law). Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you credit based on the report.
When you look at all three credit reports from the different bureaus, you’ll get the full picture and will not have any bad surprises in the future. Remember, every credit bureau will have different information, and it is up to the consumer to understand this and get any errors or mistakes resolved ASAP.
Verify Information –
Sometimes, a credit bureau will report inaccurate, outdated or blatantly incorrect information. In most cases, this is not in the consumer’s favor as most errors are in favor of the creditors or lenders. Other times, all the debts are valid, and one must pay them off or come up with a plan to fix the issue. Either way, when verifying that debts are legitimate and true, a consumer will have an easy time proceeding to deal with, and fix, the problems if that person has valid proof and can provide said proof to the credit reporting agency.
Ask For Errors To Be Removed –
A person who finds incorrect information must contact the creditor and that credit reporting bureau to fix the problem permanently. To get to the bottom of the issue quickly, consumers should keep records of all the information and send it to the creditor and credit bureau that is reporting the error. When doing this, a consumer should make sure to send everything via certified mail and keep notes and copies of all phone conversations and correspondence. This will allow a person to prevail and should help raise his or her credit score when the error is finally removed.
Of course, it is up to the consumer to verify the information and wait a few weeks or even months to run his or her credit report again. If everything checks out, that consumer should enjoy a higher credit score. However, if the problem has not been resolved, the consumer will have to contact both the creditor and credit bureau again and perhaps multiple times to resolve this serious issue.
Dealing with negative credit report information is never fun and it is definitely stressful, but it’s also vital to obtaining and keeping a good credit score. With these three tips, anyone should be able to fix their credit score and get to the bottom of any credit reporting issues. Thankfully, this will allow a person to borrow money at a lower interest rate in the future, and enjoy a more secure financial state of affairs. Don’t put off reviewing your credit reports. You should always try to fix any errors. Errors have more of a negative impact than you might think.
We offer a Credit Report Review Service if you feel that you need some help with obtaining and reviewing your credit reports. It can be confusing, but we are here to help you! Contact us about our Credit Report Review Service today to learn more information.
Lauralynn Schueckler is the Online Marketing Specialist at Advantage Credit Counseling Service. She is the author for Advantage CCS’s Blog called Dollars & Sense. Advantage Credit Counseling Service is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Contact Advantage Credit Counseling at 866.699.2227, or visit them online at www.advantageccs.org.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.