How Long Does Bad Credit Last?

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When most people think of bad credit, they think of the negative effects a low credit score can have on your financial plan, such as causing you to lose approval for a loan. Technically, bad credit refers to negative items that have been posted on your credit report and that lower your credit score, indicating to lenders that you are a bad risk for paying back the loan.

What Kind of Negative Information Can Be Included on My Credit Report?
Credit reports display a record of your credit activity that can be referred to by potential lenders in order to determine whether you are likely to repay a loan or not. Missed or late payments, unpaid accounts, bankruptcies, accounts that have been handed over to debt collectors, tax liens, and any civil judgments that have been made against you can all appear on your credit report.

It’s wise to check your credit report each year to ensure that all the information is correct. If you do find errors on one of your credit reports, you have the right to dispute the problem and to have it removed from your report at no charge.

How Long Will Bad Credit Stay on My Credit Report?
In general, negative items must be removed from your credit report within seven to ten years from the date they were first posted. Bankruptcies and arrests for which the statute of limitations indicates a ten year time limit must be removed after ten years. Items that must come off after seven years include:

  • Accounts marked as being uncollectible, also known as charge-offs
  • Civil suits
  • Arrests for which the statute of limitations does not specify a longer time period
  • Most other negative information including missed or late payments

Remember, however, that your credit report is simply a reflection of your financial activity. If you continue to engage in poor credit practices, then your credit score will remain low. Improving your financial habits can improve your credit score, even while negative information remains on your report.

What Can I Do To Repair Bad Credit?
Once you’ve determined that there are no errors on your credit report, you can begin taking steps to get out of debt and to settle any outstanding accounts or unpaid balances.

  • Contact creditors and debt collectors to work out a payment plan, and pay off credit card balances as soon as possible.
  • If you need help to repair bad credit and get out of debt, consider contacting a credit counseling or debt consolidation company. gives you credit repair solutions ranging from credit report repair, debt management help, and credit repair resources.


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