How Long Does an Item Appear on My Credit Report?

Items on your credit report remain for different lengths of time, depending on the type of item reported. For example, a new credit inquiry may only remain on your credit report for a few months, while a bankruptcy can remain for seven to 10 years.

Learn more about what stays on your credit report and for how long, as well as how different items on your credit report can affect your credit score.

Key Takeaways

  • Items on a credit report remain for different amounts of time, depending on they type of financial event.
  • Hard credit inquiries can remain for about two years, while bankruptcies can remain for up to 10 years.
  • A financial event that affects your credit normally takes 30 days or less from the close of the current billing cycle to be reflected on your credit report.
  • Financial events on a credit report may include a loan application, missed payment, or bankruptcy.

How Items Appear On Your Credit Report

New financial information will usually appear on your credit report within 30 days of the close of the billing cycle for that account. Information is reported to one or more of the three major credit bureaus, and creditors and lenders usually report to a bureau once a month.

If payment is recorded close to the time the creditor reports, then that payment shows up quickly. If payment is recorded directly after the creditor reports, that payment could appear on a report a month later.

There are no laws mandating that creditors report credit information, so good or neutral data might never be reported. Creditors such as cellular service providers and landlords rarely report positive payment histories, and may only to report when an account is delinquent.

A late payment cannot be reported on your credit history until you are 30 days behind. After that, a creditor can report the late payment.

Ho Long Items Stay on a Credit Report

Your credit report will include several different types of financial information, from new credit inquiries to bankruptcies.

How long adverse information remains on your credit report depends on what is being reported. Positive information can stay on your report indefinitely. Negative information must be removed in accordance with limits set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Here are some of the major events that may appear on your credit report as well as how long they typically stay on your report.

New Credit or Hard Inquiry

When you apply for a loan or line of credit, that generates a "hard inquiry," which can remain on your report for up to two years.

If you apply for a significant amount of new credit, lenders are likely to interpret that as a risk factor because it indicates you are in need of new credit. Applying for a variety of new credit can hurt your credit score. Soft inquiries, or credit checks for pre-approvals, may appear on your credit report, but they will not impact your credit score.

A series of credit checks for the same type of loan within a few days, such as a car loan or mortgage, will typically be factored into a credit score as one inquiry.

Late Payments

Creditors will typically not charge off debt and turn an account over to a collection agency until after 180 continuous days of non-payment. Therefore, it might take at least six months before a collection or charge-off shows up on your credit report. Late payments and charged-off accounts can stay on your credit report for seven years following the expiration of the initial 180-day collection period.

However, for each month an account is in arrears, a creditor can report a debt as late—30, 60, 90, 120, 150 or 180-days past due—further hurting your credit score.

On-time Payments

If payment is recorded close to the time the creditor reports, then that payment shows up quickly. If payment is recorded directly after the creditor reports, that payment shows up nearly a month later.


Adverse information generally remains on individual consumer credit reports for seven to 10 years. When you file for bankruptcy, you clear your debts to start fresh. For lenders, this is a serious indicator that you are a borrower with a history of not repaying what you owe. Your credit score will likely take a significant hit.

Bankruptcies are the financial event that can remain the longest on your credit report. They appear for up to 10 years from the order date or date of adjudication.

Other Financial Events on Your Credit Report

Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest can remain on your credit report for up to seven years or until the statute of limitations has expired, which ever is longer. Tax liens remain until they are paid, and then remain for seven years thereafter.

For business credit reports, trade, bank, government and leasing data can remain for up to 36 months. Uniform Commercial Code filings stay for five years. Judgments, tax liens and collections remain for six years and nine months.

Bankruptcies remain on your business credit report the longest—up to nine years and nine months. Overdue child support payments can stay on your credit report for seven years.

If you are struggling to improve your credit history, a credit repair company may be able to help. They can often help raise your credit score by negotiating with creditors and working with the three credit agencies on your behalf.

How Long Will a Debt Settlement Stay on a Credit Report?

A debt settlement can stay on your credit report for up to seven years and it will have a significant negative impact. When you settle debt with lenders, you agree to pay a reduced amount, typically in a lump sum, in exchange for having the debt forgiven. Future lenders will see this event as an indication that you are a risky borrower.

Will Unpaid Child Support Remain On Your Credit Report?

Child support obligations that have not been paid can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. By law, credit reporting agencies must include child support information in your credit history it provides to lenders. Then, lenders can determine how they will apply the information to their lending decisions.

Is a Soft Inquiry Included on a Credit Report?

Soft inquiries may be temporarily included in a credit report, but they do not affect your credit score. Soft inquiries are generally made for pre-approvals, not for official lending applications.

The Bottom Line

Understanding how long an item stays on your credit report can help you develop the best strategies for improving your score. You can also better plan for how your score may change. Having a good credit score can open more financial opportunities, including a better likelihood that you will get approved for loans with better terms. To maintain a good score, you can take several steps such as making payments on time, reducing debt, and minimizing the amount of credit you open.

Article Sources
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