Why Is That Old Account Still On My Credit Report?

Depending on the type of information, negative credit information can be reported on your credit report for 7-10 years. In general, here is how long specific types of credit information can be reported:

  • Charge offs - 7 years plus 180 days from the date first reported as late to the credit bureau.
  • Lawsuits or Judgments - 7 years from the date filed or the state statute of limitations, whichever is longer.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - Some bureaus will remove this after 7 years from date filed if a discharge was obtained. Otherwise, 10 years from date filed.
  • Paid tax liens - 7 years from the date paid.
  • Unpaid tax liens - 15 years.

It’s important to note that, as more time passes, the less impact a negative mark will have on your credit score. For example, if you had a late payment to one of your credit cards four years ago, this will be less impactful than if you had a late payment four months ago.  

Generally speaking, your first negative mark will have the biggest blow to your credit score.  Each one after will count less and less. 


A hard credit inquiry occurs when a lender pulls a credit report because you are applying for credit.  Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, but will only be calculated into a score for 12 months. The impact is minimal, about 10-20 points.  Soft credit inquiries will only remain for one year and have no impact on your score.    

The good news is that positive information can remain on your credit report indefinitely.  When I counsel clients, they often ask me why an old account is still on their report when they already paid it off.   Truth be told, if it was an account that was in good standing with no late payments, I say keep it on there!  After all, any account that you paid responsibly will make your credit look better. 

Now, to make things a bit more complicated, credit reporting can also be governed by state law.  Certain states like California and New York have enacted their own laws.

California:

  • Paid or released tax liens remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date released, or 10 years from the date filed.
  • Unpaid tax liens stay on your credit report for 10 years from the date filed.

New York:

  • Paid judgments remain on your report for 5 years from date filed.
  • Paid collection accounts remain on your report for 5 years from date paid or date of last activity.
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