Depending on the credit bureaus to automatically remove outdated information from credit reports is a mistake. The credit bureaus deal with billions of pieces of information daily and sometimes items get left on credit reports that should have been removed years ago.
Removing outdated information from credit files is the simplest way to improve your credit profile, and possibly credit scores.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) determines how long negative credit can remain on credit files. The date which an account must be removed from a credit report is often referred to as the “FCRA compliance date of first delinquency.” Depending upon the item, the credit reporting statute of limitations can differ. However, a majority of the negative items on a consumer’s credit report must be removed after about 7 years.
How the 7-year reporting statute of limitations is determined.
The reporting period is determined by the date of first delinquency which is the date the original account went delinquent (past due) for the first time leading to the default. Negative items should be removed 7.5 years from the date of first delinquency or 7 years from the date of default. The default date can also be expressed as the date the original account became 180 days past due and the creditor charged-off the account.
How to determine outdated information.
Collection Accounts. Accounts reported by a collection agency are removed from your credit reports 7 years from the date of default on the original account. Even if the account is sold from one collection agency to another, this date does not change. The FCRA does not allow collection agencies to “re-age” collection accounts when they are purchased from the original creditor in an attempt to keep a negative account on a credit report longer. If a collection agency tries to re-age an account by manipulating the FCRA compliance date that is illegal. For residents of New York only, paid collections remain for 5 years.
Charge-Offs. Charge-off accounts should be removed from your credit reports 7 years from the date the charge-off occurred.
Judgments. Typically a judgment should be removed 7 years from the date it was filed unless the judgment is re-filed and thus has a new filing date, it will remain for 7 years from that new date. For residents of New York only, satisfied judgments remain for 5 years from the date filed.
Foreclosures. Foreclosures should be removed from your credit reports after 7 years.
Repossessions. A repossession should be removed from your credit reports 7 years from the date your auto loan went into default (or 7.5 years from the date of first delinquency on your auto loan that lead to the default).
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A chapter 7 bankruptcy should be removed from the credit report 10 years after the date discharged.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A chapter 13 bankruptcy should be removed from the credit report 7 years after the date discharged.
Paid Tax Liens. The deletion date for paid tax liens is 7 years from the date the lien was released. Unpaid tax liens have no purge from date and can remain indefinitely if the credit bureaus so choose. For Federal IRS paid tax liens and tax liens under a payment plan you can get them removed prior to 7 years by enrolling in the IRS “Fresh Start Program.”
How to dispute outdated information.
You can dispute directly online with the credit bureaus containing the outdated information. There is a possibility you can get some information removed several months before it is due to be removed by disputing online with the three major credit bureaus:
- Outdated or
- Too old to be on file
If you prefer to dispute in by mail in order to have a paper trail of your actions, you can send a simple letter like this:
Upon reviewing my credit report (report number), I discovered an obsolete account (creditor name and number). Please delete this account immediately as it is too old to be in my credit file. If for some reason the account is verified, please send me the name of the person who provided the information and the method in which it was investigated.