Tower Loan Blog

How Long Does Something Stay on Your Credit Report? 

People of all backgrounds and income brackets worry about their credit reports. It’s a universal concern in modern American life and something that can either make or break your financial dreams.

Different types of financial information can stay on your credit report for two to 10 years. However, there are money moves you can make to both positively and negatively impact your purchasing power.

From the financial pros at Tower Loan, here’s our answer to the common question, “How does something stay on your credit report?”

What Is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a document detailing your credit situation and activities. It reflects loan payments, credit card payments, and other financial data. Credit bureaus store financial data about individuals as they collect it from credit card companies, lenders, and other financial institutions.

Other information in a credit report includes your personal information, such as your name, social security number, birth date, current and past addresses, and phone numbers. The report lists all your credit accounts, including the credit limits, payment history, creditor names, and account open and closed dates. Collection items are listed on a credit report detailing missed payments, overdue information, and loans sent to collections. Public records, such as foreclosures, liens, bankruptcies, and civil lawsuits, are listed on a credit report. If companies have accessed your credit report to run credit inquiries, that information will also appear on your credit report.

A credit report is important because it helps lenders decide if they will loan you money, how much, and what interest rates they will offer you. Businesses may also use your credit report to determine whether you are financially fit to rent an apartment, sign up for a utility service, or take out an insurance policy.

Types of Information on a Credit Report

Financial InformationAmount of Time
Hard or soft credit inquiry2 years
Money owed to the government7 years
Foreclosure7 years
Collection account7 years
Late or missed payment7 years
Chapter 13 bankruptcy7 years
Unpaid student loan7 years from the last date paid
Chapter 7 bankruptcy10 years
Closed account in good standing10 years
Open account in good standingPotentially forever

Negative Credit Impacts

Many financial missteps can lead to negative consequences on your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects information that consumer reporting agencies collect. It also dictates how long information can stay on your credit report.

Here are some examples of negative information on your credit report.

Late Payments

How long can late payments stay on your credit report?

A late payment is defined as missing a bill by 30 or more days. Additional notes on overdue payments may also be added after 60, 90, 120, and 180 days. Late payments of 30 days or more will stay on your credit report for seven years.


A common question is, “How long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report?”

Two types of bankruptcy will have an impact on your credit. Chapter 7 bankruptcy has more longevity on a credit report because it wipes out certain debts after liquidating assets. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years.

However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will only stay on your credit report for seven years. The shorter duration is because Chapter 13 requires more debt restructuring (rather than eliminating it) so that you can pay off some of your total owed amounts over three to five years.

Collection Accounts

If your lender sends past-due bills to collections, how long do collections stay on your credit report? You might also wonder, “How long do delinquency payments stay on your credit report once they go into collections?”

Collections accounts are another type of negative mark on your credit report and stay on the report for seven years. The start of that seven years is the date your overdue account became delinquent.

You may be able to request a “pay for delete letter” or a “letter of goodwill” as a form of negotiation with a collector to have an account removed from your credit report when you pay off your debt.

Medical Debt Collections

In recent years, the rules about medical debt in the U.S. have changed. Since July 2022, medical collections that have been paid do not show up on a credit report. Unpaid medical collections appear on a credit report only if they have been in collections for at least one year.

Prior to this rule change, medical collections stayed on credit reports for seven years, even after people paid them off. Since April 2023, unpaid medical debts under $500 or less have been removed from credit reports. The reasoning behind this change is that studies show medical debt doesn’t indicate credit risk in the same way that credit cards and other types of debt do.

Loan Default

If you miss a payment on a personal loan or other type of loan, this is called a default and can occur between 30 and 270 days after a missed payment. A loan default can also result in a repossession, foreclosure, or debt settlement. This type of derogatory mark will stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Positive Credit Impacts

However, there are also positive financial decisions that you can make to improve your credit report. Instead of only being concerned about how long does debt stay on your credit history, you can take action to start rebuilding and repairing your credit, too.

Here are some examples of positive information that appears on your credit report.

Active Accounts Paid

There is no federal requirement for creditors to remove positive information about your finances from your credit report. Therefore, positive details will typically stay on your credit report as long as you still have the account open. This is why financial professionals often recommend leaving active accounts in good standing open, even if you are no longer actively or regularly using them.

Closed Paid Accounts

If you close a credit card or other financial account, this is also positive information demonstrating a good credit history. A closed credit card account or paid-off loan account will stay on your credit report for 10 years after you close the account.

Hard and Soft Credit Inquiries

Credit inquiries are another topic to consider while discussing “How long does something stay on your credit report?”

Insurance companies, reputable lenders, utility companies, and employers review your credit when deciding to work with you or provide services you need. Hard credit inquiries occur when you apply for a loan or credit card. Soft credit inquiries occur if a lender checks your credit to send a preapproval offer, an employer checks it before hiring you, a utility company checks it to determine if a security deposit is needed, or an insurer checks it to determine your policy premium.

Hard credit checks stay on your report for two years, affect your credit score for only one year, and only have a minimal impact unless your report receives multiple inquiries over a short amount of time. Meanwhile, soft inquiries stay on your credit report for two years but don’t affect your credit score.

How to Get Something Off Your Credit Report

Unfortunately, it is not possible to get something accurate and verifiable off of your credit report. However, if there is an error on your credit report, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau listing it and request to have it removed. Depending on the individual credit bureau’s process, you may be able to file the dispute online, by phone, or through the mail. An error may appear on one credit bureau’s report but not on others.

The process of disputing something on your credit report involves providing your reasoning and supporting evidence for the error. Credit bureaus will typically resolve disputed information within 30 days after completing their investigation.

The good news is that negative marks on your credit report are not permanent and will fade away with time. Even the worst financial missteps will go away in 10 years or less, so you still have time to turn around your financial situation and make positive improvements for the future.

Do You Still Have to Pay Debt That Fell Off Your Credit Report?

In addition to wondering, “How long does a debt stay on your credit report?” you might also be curious whether you still have to pay debt that no longer appears on your credit report.

After the allotted number of years, debt falls off your credit report and is no longer visible to anyone who checks it. However, this does not mean that your debt is erased forever.

You are still liable for the debt, and creditors can still come after you to collect the money after seven or more years have passed. The laws governing debt collectors vary by state; however, creditors and collectors cannot bring a lawsuit against you for debt that is past its statute of limitations.

When negative items fall off your credit report, you have an opportunity to reestablish your credit, get on a better financial path, and improve your chances of being approved for a new loan or credit card.

How Tower Loan Can Help Rebuild Your Credit

We hope that you have found this discussion of how to get something off your credit report useful and now have a better understanding of how financial actions can impact your credit.

Having a good credit score and avoiding negative marks on your credit report have many benefits and enable you to make financial decisions with greater freedom and confidence. One way to start rebuilding your credit is to take out a personal loan with us.

Personal loans can improve your credit utilization ratio, credit mix, and payment history. These three things contribute significantly to your credit history and can show financial institutions that you are willing and able to make on-time payments each month. Applying for a personal loan will only temporarily lower your credit score and typically only by a few points with the credit inquiry. The inquiry is also only temporary on your credit report. Once approved for the loan and as long as you make the monthly payments on time and for the correct amount, your score will bounce back and begin to improve over time.

To apply for a personal loan with Tower Loan, please complete our online application or visit or call a branch location near you. The application process only takes about 10 minutes, and our loans come with predictable payment plans that you pay in fixed amounts over a specified period of time.