Credit Reporting Laws

The time limits for various types of information to appear on consumer credit reports and is set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Making payments or partial payments on bad debts does not affect the running of the credit reporting time limits, except in the case of Tax Liens and Federal Student Loans. All other types of items should expire on schedule, based on the original dates, regardless of when or whether they are paid. There was previously a great deal of confusion over the starting point, which had been interpreted as the date of last activity on the account. This resulted in “re-setting the clock” on an old bad debt by making a payment on it, or by paper shuffling on the part of collection agencies. The issue was clarified in the 1996 amendments to the FCRA, which set a specific starting date related to the original delinquency date.

Credit Reporting Limitations

Inquiries: 2 years.

Late Payments: 7 years from the month in which the late payment was due. If there are multiple late payments on one account, they will expire individually.

Charge Offs: 7 years. The time runs from the date of delinquency, plus 180 days. If a payment was due on an account on January 1, 2000, but the debtor defaulted and never caught up to become current again, and the account eventually declared as a charge off by creditor, then the 7 year reporting time limit starts running on July 1, 2000. the item would be scheduled to expire on July 1, 2007.

Collection Accounts: 7 years. The running of this time is the same as charge offs.

Lawsuits and Judgments: 7 years or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is greater.

Bankruptcy Chapter 7: 10 years from the date of entry or the order of relief.

Bankruptcy Chapter 13: 7 years.

Paid Tax Liens: 7 years from the date of payment.

Unpaid Tax Liens: Forever unless paid.

Unpaid Federal Student Loans: Forever unless paid.

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