How long do negative items stay on your credit report for?

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How long do negative items stay on your credit report for?


We all make some bad financial moves at some point in our lives. But just how long do they haunt us for? Let’s talk about the most common question when it comes to credit: “How long do negative items stay on your credit report?”

By Editorial Team | 17th June 2019
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How long do medical bills stay on your credit record?

Next to student loans, medical bills are some of the most common debts in the US. A large medical bill can screw up your credit quite a bit, so when can you get rid of it? Well, that depends on your state. Every state has different laws when it comes to medical bills, but the minimum seems to be 5 years, while the maximum is 7 years. To say that it’s up to 7 years is safe, but if you’re lucky, you may be off the hook earlier than that.

How long does Paypal Credit stay on your credit report?

PayPal Credit is actually a funny one, if you were wondering “Does PayPal Credit report to the credit bureaus?” because according to their customer service reps, PayPal only actually reports credit activity when you set up the account, which is a hard inquiry (which we will tackle in just a minute). As for everything else, that doesn’t feature on your report and doesn’t affect your score, good or bad. So, apparently, you don’t have to worry about it messing up your credit, but you can’t benefit from paying on time, either.

Kiev, Ukraine - June 27, 2014: Person with credit card in hand looking on a brand new Apple iPad Air with Paypal website on a screen. Paypal is the worldwide e-commerce business service allowing payments and money transfers via internet, founded in June, 1998.
PayPal only reports credit when you set up an account (Picture: iStock by Getty)
How long does chapter 7 bankruptcy stay on your credit report?

Sometimes, there is no other choice but to declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a process that unfortunately does show up on your credit report, and for a relatively long time. While chapter 13 bankruptcy only shows up for 7 years, chapter 7 bankruptcy sticks around for 10 years, starting with the very date that you file.

How long do collections stay on your credit report?

Your debt is sold to collections once you’ve seriously defaulted on a payment. Typically, the waiting time before that happens is 180 days, but it can also happen earlier, from 90 onward. This will show up on your credit report – and consequently damage your credit – for 7 years. Add another 180 days to that, to make up for the time before the company sold your debt to collections.

How long does a hard inquiry stay on your report?

This may come as a surprise, but hard inquiries aren’t actually that scary. They only stay on your report for a total of 2 years, and stop impacting your credit after just 1 year. In addition, each hard inquiry is only worth 2 points that you are losing, so not that much, especially if you get approved for a high credit limit, which can make up for the lost points.

If you were wondering how to get a hard inquiry off your credit report, you should know that you need to dispute unrecognized inquiries by certified letter. If you want to check your credit, credit score providers such as Identity Force,, Identity Guard, Experian, or MyFICO, can help you out with reliable reports.

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You can dispute unrecognised hard inquiries via certified letter (Picture: iStock by Getty)
How long does defaulting stay on your credit report?

If you take out a loan and don’t pay it off within the agreed timeframe, you can end up defaulting on your loan, which is definitely a strike against you, in terms of credit. Unfortunately, that will be with you for up to 7 years, depending on the state you live in. Make sure to check your local laws if you’ve defaulted on a loan and are now waiting to have it written off your credit report.

How long do late payments stay on your credit report?

It’s common to ask yourself “how long do negative items stay on a credit report?”, and the answer for late payments is up to 7 years. Two factors make this more confusing and difficult:

  • Every state has different laws
  • Every lender is also different

So, what is true for one case will not be true for another. If you want to remove late payments from your credit report, you should know that you cannot do this, unless the item on the credit report is incorrect, in which case you can file a dispute.


In conclusion, when asking “how long do negative items stay on your credit report?”, the answer depends on the item in question, as well as the state you live in and the lender.

Written by
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team is constantly watching for new and exciting services to report on. They aim to bring balanced, honest reviews to the site to give you the best comparisons and ensure you have the knowledge to choose the product right for you. Read more.
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