How Long Does Information Stay On My Credit Report?
February 16, 2018
Now that Borrowell has launched free credit reports for Canadians – we get asked this question all the time: “How long does information stay on my credit report?”
It’s an understandable question, considering how important credit is to almost all of your financial decisions. Your credit report includes financial information about your credit history and customers are often concerned about how long information will stay on their report and how it will affect their credit score. If you’re looking to learn about how to read your credit report, this blog will help.
If you’re wondering when something will come off of your report, there are set time frames for items like bankruptcies and collections that Equifax (the credit bureau we pull your report from) has put in place. In general, negative information is deleted from your file 7 years from the date of last activity.
What if I see something on my report that shouldn’t be there?
When you get your free credit report from Borrowell, you might see something that doesn’t look right! If it’s regarding a specific item, we recommend contacting the credit grantor or collections agency. If it’s regarding incorrect personal information, such as your date of birth or your address, please contact Equifax directly. You can reach them here: +1-866-828-5961. Here at Borrowell, we can’t change or modify any information on your credit report.
How long does information stay on my credit report?
There are many different items that you may see on your credit report, all with a different shelf life. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the items you’ll see on your credit report and how long they’ll stay there.
Credit Inquiries are any requests to check your credit. An example of this is when a potential lender is reviewing your credit because you’ve applied for something like a low-interest personal loan. It’s important to make sure any inquiries on your credit report have been done with your permission.
Most inquiries will stay on your report for 3 years. However, the exception to the rule is having 5 or fewer inquiries. These will not fall off your report – regardless of the date.
Trade items refer to any open or closed accounts that appear on your credit report. Trades and accounts include any loans you have, lines of credit, and credit card accounts. The different types of trades and accounts you will see on your report are revolving, installment, open and mortgage.
These items will stay on your credit report 6 years from the date of last activity. If there hasn’t been any activity, they will stay on your report 6 years from the date opened.
A judgment is a formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. Sometimes, creditors or debt collectors will sue debtors for nonpayment of their debts to obtain judgments.
Judgments will stay on your credit report 6 years from the date filed. The exception to this rule is in Prince Edward Island. If satisfied, the judgment will stay on your report 7 years from the date satisfied. If unsatisfied, it will stay on for 10 years from the date filed.
Your report will also show any accounts that have been sent to collections, whether the balance(s) have been paid or unpaid.
A collections item will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date of your last payment. If there isn’t a date of last payment, then it will stay on your credit report 5 years from the date assigned.
Consumer Debt Counseling
This is a personalized counseling service aimed to provide guidance and support if you’re in over your head. The goal of credit counseling is to avoid bankruptcy.
This item will stay on your credit report 3 years from the date it was settled (or satisfied). If unsettled, it will stay on your credit report 6 years from the date filed.
A consumer proposal is another item that may appear on your credit report. A consumer proposal is a formal, legally binding process that is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). The LIT will work with you to develop a “proposal” to identify a percentage that you’re able to pay creditors.
A consumer proposal will stay on your credit report for 3 years from the date it was settled (or satisfied). If unsettled, it will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date filed.
Your credit report will also show if you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy forgives debt that can’t be paid but offers creditors a chance to obtain some measure of repayment based on available assets.
Assigned, Discharged, Bankruptcy Receiving Order, Voluntary, and Involuntary bankruptcies will all stay on your credit report 6 years from the date of discharge. If you were not discharged, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date filed.
It’s important to note that if you’ve filed for bankruptcy twice, it’s known as a double bankruptcy and will stay on your report for longer. The oldest bankruptcy will suppress 14 years from the date settled. If there isn’t a date settled, they will stay on your report for 14 years from the date filed. The recent bankruptcy will fall off your report 14 years from the date it’s settled. If it wasn’t settled, it will come off 14 years from the date filed.
A garnishment is a legal process that instructs a third party to deduct payments directly from your wage or bank account. These can be used for debts such as unpaid taxes, monetary fines, child support payments or student loans.
A garnishment will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date it was filed. The exception is PEI, where it’s 7 years from the date satisfied, and if not, 10 years from the date filed.
A foreclosure is the action of a mortgagor (e.g. a bank) when taking possession of a mortgaged property if you haven’t been able to keep up your mortgage payments.
This also shows on your credit report for 6 years from the date it was filed.
The Bottom Line
The good news: all of these items have a shelf life on your credit report. Even if you’ve had issues with credit in the past, time and taking the right steps to improve your credit health will eventually help you improve your score. In fact, recent data from Borrowell shows that those who monitor and understand their credit actually stand to improve their credit score by on average, by 30 points.
We’re proud to offer Canadians their free Equifax credit report, but understand that the items and the length of time they stay on your report can be a little confusing. Hopefully, you’ll now never have to ask the question: “How long does information stay on my credit report,” again!