Negative Information on a Credit Report
Negative notations that appear on your credit report, such as a late payment, charge off notation, lien or judgment can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. A bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that negative information be deleted after seven years (10 years for a bankruptcy) so that you aren't punished for the rest of your life for having once had a bad credit rating.
There are exceptions to the seven year statute of limitation:
(1) Credit information reported in response to an application for a job with a salary of more than $75,000 has no time limit. This means that a prospective employer can be given a copy of your credit report that discloses negative information older than seven years; however, this is rarely done.
(2) Credit information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limit. Your mortgage lender or insurance agent can access older, negative information about your payment history but they rarely do.
(3) Information about criminal convictions may be reported without any time limitation.
How to Remove Negative Information from a Credit Report
You are entitled to have negative information removed from your credit report if it is older than seven years (ten years for a bankruptcy). If you find old information on your credit report, you can dispute it online at the credit bureaus -- experian.com -- transunion.com -- equifax.com.
You are also entitled to have negative information removed from your credit report if it is inaccurate or untrue. You can dispute this information with the credit bureau and they will do an investigation, and then either correct or remove the information.
But what if the negative information on your credit report is true and accurate? In this case, there is little you can do except wait for the information to be removed after seven years. If you begin paying your bills on time, paying down debt and not accumulating any new debt, your credit rating and credit score should start to increase.