Doug's Credit Center Blog

How Long Can Bad Credit Stay on a Credit Report

It’s easy to forget about your credit report and credit history, especially in today’s modern world. You can buy and sell thousands of items online, and many lenders will let you apply for a car loan without leaving your house. Unless you’re ready to feel your heart drop when a lender denies your loan request, you need to research your credit history and how long certain problems stay on your report.

Bad Credit Scores and Credit Card Companies

A large number of people find themselves in trouble with credit card companies during their college years. Dozens of different companies offer free products for applying, and you might apply for ten or more cards without thinking. These companies know that by forming a relationship, students are more likely to stick with the company when they reach adulthood.However as student, you probably don’t worry about missing payments or make a payment weeks after the due date. It isn’t until you become an adult that you realize how much this hurt your credit score.

Credit Problems on Credit Reports

Most forms of bad credit remain for seven years. This includes late payments, missed payments, credit cards you never paid off and lines of credit now owned by a collection agency. When you stop paying on a line of credit, the lender will often hire a collection agency. If the agency manages to get any money from you, it gets a small percentage of that cash.

If a lender believes that it cannot get any money from you, it might sell your account or turn your account over to a collection agency. Your debt can stay on your report for seven years after that agency informs the credit reporting agencies that you owe it money.

Medical and Utility Bills

Other items that can stay on your report for seven years include medical bills and past due balances with utility companies. If you owe $700 for the water bill on a house you previously rented, don’t be surprised if it appears on your credit report. Hospitals and medical offices can also report past due amounts to the credit reporting agencies.

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

You’ll also find that some debts remain even longer. Certain forms of bankruptcy can last for ten years, and foreclosures can continue affecting your credit score for up to ten years. Check your credit score and history before you head to a dealership. This gives you the chance to dispute claims and charges and get your credit score down before applying for a loan.

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