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How Long Paid Public Records Remain on Your Report

Dear Experian,

Why is there still a public record on my account that has been paid off for four and a half years?


Dear NDR,

You have to keep in mind that your credit report is really your credit history. It doesn’t just show the way things are today.

There are three types of public records that can appear in your credit report: bankruptcy, civil judgments and tax liens. You don’t specify which is in your credit report.

Personal bankruptcy is usually either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain on your credit report 10 years from the filing date because you do not repay any of the debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is deleted 7 years from the filing date because you are required to repay at least part of the debt.

Civil judgments are financial court judgments. Basically, if you are sued and you lose, you owe a debt through the court. Therefore, the judgment can be included in your credit report. Civil judgments remain seven years from the filing date.

Tax liens are filed by government when you have not paid your taxes. Unpaid tax liens can remain on your credit report for 15 years from the filing date. Paid tax liens remain seven years from the paid date.

In each case, the status of the public record is included in your credit report. The entry will indicate whether a judgment is paid, a bankruptcy discharged, or a tax lien settled.

There are two bits of good news. The first is that the longer in the past the late payment occurred, or in your case, the longer the public record has been paid, the less significant it becomes in some scoring models. As a result, the older the negative information the less impact it has on some lenders’ decisions and credit scores, although it still will be scored as a negative item for as long as it remains.

The second is that the negative information will be deleted automatically at the time specified. Once it is gone, it will no longer impact your ability to get credit. Because it is deleted, you can rebuild a completely positive credit history. It just takes time and good credit management.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team

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