How Long Do Negative Items Stay on Your Credit Report?

Consumers should keep an eye on their credit reports and borrow responsibly to prevent negative entries. Derogatories affect your score for many years, and there is no way to remove them if they are accurate. Discover the average lifespan of a negative event, and what you can do if such information is reported.

how long do negative items stay on your credit report

What Is A Negative Item?

This is any entry reflecting failure to meet financial obligations. Missed or late payments, collections, bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, and evictions are the most common examples. Their effects on your score vary, but the duration is the same — 7 years. The only exception is a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which lingers for 10 years.

Negative information is visible to any lender that checks your history. It is also used to calculate the score. Both popular models — VantageScore and FICO — rely on a similar combination of factors. Skipped payments and any related entries affect 40% and 35% of the totals, respectively.

Can I Remove Derogatories Earlier?

No, unless they are erroneous. Factual information will stay on your records until it expires naturally. Beware of any company promising to delete verifiable information. 

This is neither legal nor possible. Only credit bureaus can amend the records, and they will only remove inaccuracies. This works for any information — for example, you may not remove inquiries from your credit report. 

If any of the derogatories are false or incorrect, you have a right to initiate a formal dispute. Do not let false late payments tarnish your status. Consumers may do this on their own or use paid repair services. The latter saves a lot of time and effort. To check if fixing is possible, collect your data first.

This information may be downloaded from The service is provided weekly until April 20, 2022. This is an emergency measure — before the pandemic, you would get just one free copy per bureau per year. 

Download the files and scrutinize the documents carefully. You may notice accounts that do not belong to you, incorrect amounts, or derogatories that never happened, such as bankruptcies or evictions. 

Overview of Repair

Repair involves four key stages — data collection, painstaking analysis, evidence gathering, and disputes. If you delegate the tasks to experts, they will do everything on your behalf, leasing with the landers, bureaus, and collection agencies in the process. After obtaining sufficient evidence, the professionals will open disputes with the bureau or bureaus concerned.

These are the most basic repair services included in any service package. Premium customers may access different additional services, from TransUnion alerts to identity theft protection. If you do opt for paid repair, make sure you will not be paying for unnecessary add-ons.

If You Cannot Repair the Score

Consumers whose scores fall as a consequence of their own missteps should rebuild their histories. This is a complex endeavor. The premise is that you have to become a diligent borrower and fulfill all of your obligations flawlessly. At the same time, you may reconsider the use of revolving credit and other services. 

The derogatories will still affect your score, but their influence will be counteracted with new positive events. Most of the methods are related to credit utilization. Together with the overall size of the debt, it determines 30% of your status in the FICO system. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Reduce Balances
Suppose you have three credit cards with a total balance of $1,000. If the sum of their limits is $2,000, you have used half of your available credit. 50% of utilization is way higher than the target. Here, opinions vary, but many experts believe 10% is the optimal level. In our example, this would require bringing the balance down to just $200 across the accounts.

2. Boost Available Credit
Paying off the balance is not possible for everyone. Fortunately, you may work with the second element in the proportion — the sum of limits (i.e., available credit). Ask your bank to provide more funds, or get another credit card from a different institution. If this is also problematic, consider secured credit cards. The service requires a deposit, so it is easier to qualify for.

3. Become an Authorized User
Do you know anyone who has an excellent borrowing record? Their reputation may work to your advantage. If they accept you as an authorized user on their account, the limit will become part of your own utilization. This is also favorable for the age of history if your own file is too thin.

4. Use Experian Boost
Utility payments, phone bills, and subscriptions to services like Netflix may be included in your Experian report. The effects are modest — the average consumer sees a 12-point rise. Still, this service may help you move from one category to another (e.g., from 'fair' to 'good' credit). 

5. Never Miss Another Due Date
Finally, make sure no more missed payments appear. Set reminders or program automatic transfers to avoid delays. Any payment is reported to the bureaus 30 days after the due date. Do not let these entries accumulate. If you have problems paying your debts, negotiate with the lending institution. You may be able to agree on restructuring or refinancing.

how long do negative items stay on your credit report

To Conclude
All negative events on your credit report (except for chapter 7 bankruptcies) expire in 7 years. Only incorrect information may be disputed and subsequently removed. Borrowers should be careful with their finances to prevent typical derogatories like late payments, collections, repossessions, etc. Rebuilding a credit history is a complex task, and it takes longer than repair.

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