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It’s a common myth that negative items must remain on your credit report for a minimum number of years. In fact, there is no minimum timeframe. Creditors control the information they provide to the credit bureaus. They can also choose to remove negative items as well. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires all reported information to be fair, accurate, and substantiated. If these conditions are not met, the credit bureaus are required to remove it. In the case of factual information, the following represents the maximum time limits attached to each. Once these limits lapse, the credit bureaus must remove them from your credit report.

Maximum Limits

Two Years

  • Inquiries

Seven Years

  • Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest (foreclosures, child support, and small claims) will remain for seven years, or until the governing statute of limitation has expired, whichever comes first.
  • Paid tax liens
  • Collection accounts
  • Adverse items of information (excluding records of convictions of crimes)
  • Closed accounts from day of reported closing if delinquencies exist
  • Late payments
  • Charge offs
  • Paid student loan default
  • Lost credit card incidences, if there is a delinquency

Ten Years

  • Bankruptcy (Chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13)


  • Unpaid tax liens, unless a state law exists with greater consumer protections
  • Unpaid federal student loans
  • Criminal convictions

Credit reporting is never cut-and-dry. While a collection account can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, a goodwill intervention, debt validation, or other credit repair strategy could produce a drastic change. At, we assess every piece of credit report information and carefully determine the best way to manage it. Allow our expertise to work for you.

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