credit Reports

How Long Does Bad Credit Stay on My Credit Report?

This is a question that comes up regularly in my office and it recently turned up on Credit.com. If you are bad with paying your debts on time, that history stays on your credit report for a full seven years. So Gerri Detweiler asked me that question.

Why seven years? It turns out that there is no particular reason other than a compromise between the Senate and the House when the Fair Credit Reporting Act was being drafted was back in the late 1960’s. It has nothing to do with the Bible or the Statute of Limitations for collection of a debt. It was just an arbitrary time period picked by elected representatives as a “reasonable” time.

Is it reasonable? The answer is that your history is in the past. If you do things to manage your debt better now and pay everything onetime, most lenders will take that into consideration. While no one knows exactly what does into your credit score, time has to be a factor.