How Long Can It Remain On My Credit Reports?

The old FCRA (before revision) was very ambiguous, which means, even though it was not specific for saying exactly when a date commenced, it was often thought that making a payment could renew the statute of limitations and the seven year clock would start all over again for your debt.

Consumers worry about this because it was a catch 22 in their mind. If I pay a portion of it, they can come after me again and it will stay on my credit for another 7 years, so why bother? That was the general consensus and trying to get a straight answer out of a debt collector or the credit bureaus was even more frustrating.

By understanding the credit and collection laws you can determine how much longer you need to wait for the item to be removed from your credit reports. You don’t have to be in credit purgatory forever.

So just how long can an item legally remain on your credit reports and how do you remove it sooner? That also depends on your awareness of the dates on the debt and exactly how old it is. The laws for how long it can remain on your credit can be either state or federal.

If your state offers more protection- then it will supersede the federal rule. For example, perhaps in NY a debt can remain for 5 years but under the federal (FCRA) it’s seven. Your state would apply. It’s called the Supremacy Clause.

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