How Long Does a Negative Item Stay on Your Credit Report?

If you’re trying to improve your credit score, you may be wondering how long negative items stay on your credit report . Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Depending on the item, it could stay on your report for seven years or more. But there are ways to improve your credit score in the meantime.

Keep reading to learn more about negative items on your credit report and what you can do to improve your credit score.

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates the credit reporting agencies and how they can use your credit information. According to the FCRA, a negative item can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

What is the FCRA?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). Consumer reporting agencies are organizations that collect and maintain information about consumers’ credit history and other personal information, which may be supplied to businesses or individuals for a variety of purposes.

The FCRA regulates CRAs that furnish consumer reports to third parties, including credit grantors, landlords, insurers, and employers. The Act also establishes procedures for correcting errors in consumer reports. Finally, the FCRA promotes fairness and privacy by allowing consumers to request disclosure of their own consumer reports and to place “fraud alerts” on their credit files.

You may have seen reference to the FCRA in advertisements from companies promising to “repair” your credit report or remove negative information from it. These companies often call themselves “credit repair” or “credit counseling” services. There are no quick fixes when it comes to repairing your credit history. If you have bad credit, you will have to work hard and take steps over time to improve your credit history and increase your credit score.

What are your rights under the FCRA?

You have the right to know what’s in your file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in a credit file from a consumer reporting agency. You will be required to provide proper identification, which may include your Social Security number. In many cases, the credit reporting agency will charge you a small fee. You also have the right to know who used your information and when.

You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless it considers your dispute frivolous. See for an explanation of frivolous disputes. After the investigation, if the CRA finds that the disputed information is inaccurate, it must delete that information from your file. If an item is changed or deleted, the CRA will not put the disputed information back in your file unless the business furnishes other CRA’s with the correct information and you give them permission to do so.

You have limited rights under FCRA to stop unwanted telemarketing calls from creditors and debt collectors. The FCRA prohibits a creditor from making repeated collection calls that are intended to annoy or harass you andFCRA also limits how often and under what circumstances a creditor or debt collector can call you about your debt.

You have certain rights if a company takes adverse action against you based on information in your credit report. Under FCRA, an adverse action is defined as a denial of credit, insurance or employment – or taking another action that negatively impacts you – based in whole or part on information contained in a consumer report provided by a CRA..

How long do negative items stay on your credit report?

It’s important to know how long negative items stay on your credit report as this can impact your credit score. Generally, a late payment will stay on your report for seven years, while a bankruptcy will stay on your report for 10 years. However, there are some exceptions. If you’re wondering how long a particular negative item will stay on your report, you can find out by reading this article.

Payment history

Your payment history is one of the most important factors in your credit score—making up 35% of your FICO® Score☉ . A strong payment history shows creditors that you’re likely to repay your debts on time, and it’s the single biggest factor you can control to improve your credit scores.

Late or missed payments stay on your credit report for seven years from the date they were reported. That means if you make a late payment today, it will remain on your report until 2024. If you have a history of late or missed payments, taking steps to improve your payment habits can help improve your scores over time.

If you’re working to improve your credit, check out Experian Boost™† , which can immediately raise your credit scores by adding positive information from your utility and cell phone bills to your Experian credit report.


Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 years from the date you filed for bankruptcy. Although you may begin to rebuild your credit during the bankruptcy process, it will take time to establish a good credit history post-bankruptcy. Creditors are often hesitant to extend new lines of credit to consumers who have recently filed for bankruptcy, so it is important to take steps to improve your creditworthiness after your bankruptcy discharge. You can begin by paying all of your bills on time and working on reducing your overall debt load. Eventually, as you establish a good credit history, you may be able to qualify for new lines of credit and enjoy a higher credit score.


According to Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, a foreclosure remains on your credit report for seven years from the date of the foreclosure action.


Collection accounts can stay on your credit report for up to seven years, even if you pay them off. This is why it’s important to address collections sooner rather than later. First, try negotiating with the collection agency to have the item removed from your report in exchange for payment. If that doesn’t work, you can also try paying for the item to be removed, which is called “pay for delete.” However, this method isn’t always successful, and it’s important to make sure you get something in writing before making a payment. Finally, you can wait it out — after seven years, the item will automatically fall off your report.

How to remove negative items from your credit report

dispute the item with the credit bureau

If you find an error on your credit report, you can Dispute the item with the credit bureau that issued the report. The credit bureau will then investigate your claim and remove the item if it is found to be incorrect. This process can take up to 30 days, but it will remove the negative item from your report during that time.

You can also try to Negotiate with the creditor to have the negative item removed from your report. This is often easier said than done, but if you are able to come to an agreement, the creditor will generally agree to remove the item.

If you have a good reason for why the negative item should be removed (such as identity theft), you can send a goodwill letter to the creditor asking them to remove it. These letters are not always successful, but they are worth a try.

Finally, you can wait it out. Negative items will eventually disappear from your credit report after seven years (with some exceptions). So if you can’t get the item removed any other way, just wait and it will eventually fall off your report on its own.

dispute the item with the creditor

If you find errors on your credit report, the best way to remove them is to dispute the items with the creditor. You can do this by sending a letter to the creditor that outlines why you believe the item is incorrect. Be sure to include any documentation that supports your claim. Once the creditor receives your dispute, they have 30 days to investigate and respond. If they find that the information is inaccurate, they must notify all three credit bureaus to have the item removed from your report.

negotiate with the creditor

If you have a negative item on your credit report that’s accurate, you can’t have it removed. Negative items stay on your credit report for seven years with the exception of bankruptcies, which stay on for 10 years.

You may be able to get a late payment removed from your credit report before the seven-year mark if you can show it was an error. If you have a genuine hardship like job loss or illness, you might be able to negotiate with your creditor to have the late payment removed in exchange for catching up on your payments. This is called a “goodwill adjustment.”

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