How Do Derogatory Marks Impact My Scores
A derogatory mark will damage your . But how much? That depends on a few factors.
A derogatory mark typically affect a higher score more than it will a lower score. Also, a minor derogatory mark, which can be caused by a late payment, generally damages your scores less than a major derogatory mark, which can be caused by something like a foreclosure.
The amount of time a derogatory mark stays on your depends on what type of mark it is. The chart below covers the different types of derogatory marks and how long they will likely remain on your credit scores.
How Can You Get Derogatory Credit Marks Removed
If you find derogatory marks on your credit report, it can feel like those reminders of past mistakes, hardships or failures will never go away. Theyre out there for lenders to see, and they continue to drag your credit score down.
Here are three things to know about getting derogatory credit marks removed from your report:
Bad Credit Doesnt Have To Be Your Reality
Derogatory credit entries come with a lot of negative financial consequences. In fact, theres almost no redeeming value of derogatory credit entries. But you dont have to sit back and accept that bad credit will always be your reality.
Credit reports have a finite memory as it pertains to negative information. And if youre patient and commit to proper credit management, it is entirely possible to rebuild your credit after a setback.
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How Long These 8 Derogatory Marks Stay On Your Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates how long each type of derogatory remark stays on your credit report, and the general rule is that most derogatory marks stay there for seven years.
There are some exceptions, though, and its also worth noting that the different credit bureaus may receive different information along different timelines, so theres no guarantee that your credit history will be reflected in the exact same way across all the major bureaus.
But the following table outlines how long each major type of derogatory mark stays on your credit report, and below is an explanation for each one, along with how you can get it removed once that time has passed.
|Types of Derogatory Marks on Credit Reports|
|Generally 7 years|
How To Remove A Bankruptcy On Your Credit Report
Bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to ten years. So, if you have a bankruptcy on your credit report thats not yours, youll need to reach out to the court and ask for a written statement that you have not, in fact, filed for bankruptcy. Once you receive this statement, youll forward copies to the credit bureau via Certified Mail along with a letter of dispute.
If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may be able to find an inaccuracy or error in the way the bankruptcy is reported. You can then file a dispute with each of the three major credit bureaus on that basis. Its possible that some technicality may require the credit bureaus to remove the bankruptcy entirely. But, chances are itll stay on your credit report for up to ten years if its legitimate. That said, it never hurts to try!
Finally, if you reach out to the court for a written statement and find they do have a bankruptcy on file, even though you havent filed for one, youll need to take further steps with them to resolve the issue. The court will likely ask for documentation and records to prove the miscommunication and ultimately expunge the public record. At this point, you can proceed with filing your dispute with the three credit bureaus.
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What Kind Of Information Is Included In A Public Record
If you file for bankruptcy, the amount the court found you were legally responsible to pay will be listed. There will also be an exempt amount. This is the amount the court says you are not responsible to pay.
Lastly, there will be an asset amount for the number of personal assets the court used to make its decision. These will all be listed in the bankruptcy and are the kind of public records that can significantly lower your credit ratings and affect your borrowing power.
Some other things that you might find in your public records might be things you consider personal, things like if you have had financial counseling, a financial statement, garnishments, and financial marital claims from a divorce. However, all of these things affect your income, and so they affect your credit.
Which Public Records Appear On Credit Reports
Public records that could appear on your include bankruptcy, a judgment, or a tax lien. In some states, foreclosure and repossession are also public records. These entries are also the worst types of entries to appear on your credit report because they show a serious delinquency. However, since 2017, only bankruptcies can appear on your credit report.
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What Are Derogatory Credit Entries
John Ulzheimer is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. The author of four books on the subject, Ulzheimer has been featured thousands of times in media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, CNBC, and countless others.With over 30 years of credit-related professional experience, including with both Equifax and FICO, Ulzheimer is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.He has been an expert witness in over 600 credit-related lawsuits and has been qualified to testify in both federal and state courts on the topic of consumer credit. In his hometown of Atlanta, Ulzheimer is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Georgia and Emory University’s School of Law.
Edited by: Ashley Dull
Ashley has managed content initiatives for BadCredit since 2015, having worked closely with the worlds largest banks and financial institutions, as well as press and news outlets, to publish comprehensive content. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets, including CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader’s Digest.
Your credit reports are loaded with information, including personal data, employment information, public records, collections, credit inquiries, and your accounts.
Lets dive deeper into derogatory credit entries and how much trouble they can cause you.
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Most Negative Marks Are Removed Within 7 To 10 Years
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the primary federal statute that governs the credit bureaus where consumer credit reports are concerned. Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax aka the Big 3 credit reporting agencies are only allowed to keep negative information on a consumer credit report for as long as the FCRA allows.
Different time limits address how long a derogatory item can remain on your credit reports. Most negative marks must come off your credit report within seven to 10 years. But there are a few exceptions to these general rules.
The chart below shows how long a derogatory credit entry may be allowed to stay on your credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Positive information can stay on your credit reports indefinitely as there is no legal requirement to remove them. But if you close an account , the credit bureaus will proactively remove the item from your credit reports after 10 years of inactivity.
This is one of the reasons why closing a credit card may negatively impact your credit scores.
Note: This choice to remove inactive accounts after a decade is a policy of each credit bureau as of the date of publication of this article. This policy can, of course, change over time.
How Derogatory Marks Affect Your Credit Scores
To understand how a derogatory credit entry may influence your credit scores, its important to first look at how credit scoring systems work. Despite what many people believe, the individual items on credit reports arent worth a specific number of points where your credit score is concerned. Nothing is worth X points in your credit scores because thats not how scoring models work.
Instead, credit scoring systems consider the aggregate of information on your credit report. The scoring model will then evaluate your entire credit history and assess your overall credit risk level based on complex scoring metrics.
If the scoring models consider you an elevated credit risk, that translates into a lower credit score. This lower score indicates to a lender that youre more likely to pay your credit obligations late in the next two years.
The opposite is also true. If the scoring models consider you to be a lower credit risk, that will translate to a higher score. And, of course, higher scores indicate that you are more likely to continue to make your payments on time, and lenders love that.
Recent derogatory information has a larger impact on your credit scores than older mistakes. In other words, a collection account that showed up on your credit report last month is a bigger problem than a collection account from four years ago.
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How Removing Public Records Differs From Filing A Dispute
If youve ever had to remove a fraudulent address, account, or activity from your credit reports, you probably already know the relatively simple process of filing a dispute with an individual credit bureau. The major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, each have simple ways to file minor disputes online or over the phone. But, its always best to send a dispute letter.
When it comes to public records, things are a bit more complicated because the court is involved as well as the credit bureaus. Because financial disputes that come through the court system are public record , they almost always appear on your consumer credit reports as well.
So if youre attempting to remove a public record entirely, youd need to reach out to the court directly and ask them to expunge the public record. This can be a time-consuming and effort-intensive battle.
The easier option is to attempt to remove the public record from your credit reports. This is done by disputing the public record directly with the reporting credit bureau. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to dispute any public records on your credit report that you believe are inaccurate or even questionable. However, keep in mind that even if you successfully remove a public record from your credit report, itll still be on file with the court system.
You Can Dispute Credit Report Errors
Sometimes, negative information or derogatory marks end up on your credit report because of a mistake. It can be as simple as your credit card company misreporting your payment as late when it wasnt. Or the credit-reporting agency might mistakenly list someone elses bankruptcy on your report.
If you see something that looks unfamiliar on your credit report, its worth investigating, as it could be an error. On the other hand, it might be a legitimate debt you lost track of or even a library charge sent to collections.
Take some time to review the information. You have the right to dispute credit report errors. You can provide your own documentation to credit-reporting agencies or lenders to set the record straight.
The credit agency usually has 30 days to investigate the disputed information and verify its accuracy. If the information is erroneous, it will be corrected on all three credit reports.
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Getting A Professional To Help With Disputes
If you can spare the relatively low cost of hiring a credit repair company to help with your disputes, it may be a worthwhile expense.
A quality credit repair firm typically has a decade or more of experience handling derogatory mark disputes. They know the law inside and out so that they can take the best possible approach at disputing each item.
We recommend Lexington Law Firm. They have lawyers and paralegals on staff to help you. You can read our full review of them here. Beyond the technical expertise, a credit repair company also saves you the time and aggravation it takes to oversee disputes, especially if you have several.
Types Of Derogatory Credit Items
Different derogatory items affect your credit score in different wayssome items are given more importance than others. For example, a single late payment will hurt your credit score, but not as much as bankruptcy, which impacts your credit score almost more than anything else. Multiple derogatory items will also cause your credit score to drop.
These are the types of derogatory credit items that can appear on your credit report:
- Late payments resulting from credit card and loan payments that are more than 30 days late
- Charge-offs resulting from debts that have fallen more than 180 days past due and have been written off as uncollectible
- Debt collections resulting from debts that have been sold or assigned to a third-party debt collector
- Foreclosure resulting from delinquent mortgage payments
- Repossession resulting from delinquent auto loan payments
- Debt settlement resulting from an agreement between you and a creditor to reduce the outstanding balance and cancel the remainder
- Bankruptcy resulting from the legal process of having your debts discharged in court
Civil Judgments And Your Credit Report
Civil judgments result when a creditor sues you for an outstanding debt and wins. That creditor then has more avenues for pursuing payment: they may now satisfy delinquent or outstanding debt through wage garnishment or by seizing funds from checking or savings accounts.
Judgments are no longer factored into credit scores, though they are still public record and can still impact your ability to qualify for credit or loans. Lenders may still check to see whether any outstanding judgments against a potential borrower exist. You should pay legitimate judgments and dispute inaccurate judgments to ensure these do not affect your finances unduly.
If a civil judgment is still on your credit report, file a dispute with the appropriate credit reporting agencies to have it removed.
Disputing A Derogatory Mark On Your Own
Perhaps the best reason to dispute negative items on your own is that its free. Of course, youll have to do a lot of research to find the most effective methods, but if you are living paycheck to paycheck, this is your best option.
After all, putting yourself further into debt isnt going to do your credit score any good. But youll need to be careful that you dont make any mistakes that could actually end up hurting your credit score even more.
For example, paying an old collection may actually renew the period it stays on your credit reports, depending on your states statute of limitations.
You also dont want to offer too much information in your dispute letter. Its the credit bureaus job to verify the accuracy and fullness of each item. Check out our resources on dispute letters to get started on the process.
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What To Look For On Your Credit Report
Lenders use codes to send information to the credit bureaus about how and when you make payments.
These codes have two parts:
- a letter shows the type of credit you’re using
- a number shows when you make payments
You may see different codes on your credit report depending on how you make your payments for each account.
Limited Access To Credit
In addition to hurting your credit scores, derogatory marks limit your access to credit. Even if your credit scores begin to rebound a few years after the item was filed, potential lenders and credit card companies still see it listed on your credit reports.
That raises a big red flag for them because they are unsure whether youll be able to meet your financial commitment to them. It causes uncertainty, which is not something lenders like, especially if you have other troubling items like large amounts of debt.
Depending on various other factors in your application, you might not get approved for the loan or credit card. However, if you do get approved, derogatory items can affect the quality of your loan terms. This includes how much interest youll pay, how much money you can borrow, and how long you have to repay the funds.
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Derogatory Mark: Account Charge
If you dont or cannot pay your debt as agreed, your lender may eventually charge the account off. The charge-off will appear on your credit reports for seven years.
What to do: Try to pay off the debt or negotiate a settlement. While this wont get the charge-off removed from your credit reports, it’ll remove the risk that youll be sued over the debt.