How long does bad credit stay on your credit report?

Written by jeannie knudson
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Bad credit stays on a credit report for an average of seven years. Negative marks may stay on a report for a longer or shorter, depending on the statute of limitations in your state and the type of transaction involved. Depending on a credit reporting agency's policy, positive credit may stay on a report indefinitely or for as long as an account remains open.


A bankruptcy may stay on a person's credit report for 10 years. Credit reporting agencies may remove Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy reports after seven years; these are reorganisation or repayment bankruptcies, unlike Chapter 7, which liquidates assets and discharges almost all debts.

Tax Liens

Liens for unpaid taxes may stay on a credit report indefinitely, depending on state laws. Paid tax debt shows up on a credit report as paid but will stay on a credit report for seven years.

Consumer Debt

Bad credit from consumer debt stays on a credit report for seven years. Consumer debt may include credit cards and most bank or private business loans.


Credit inquiries by potential lenders stay on a credit report for up to two years. Inquiries you make for your own credit report do not negatively affect your credit rating.

Lawsuits and Convictions

Lawsuits due to unpaid debt stay on a credit report for seven years. In some states, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit may run out before seven years, effectively shortening the length of time it remains on a credit report. Criminal convictions may stay on a credit report indefinitely.

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