The Meaning of “Derogatory Public Record”

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Dear Experian,

My credit score states "time since derogatory public record or collection is too short." What is a "derogatory public record"?


Dear JTR,

A derogatory item is an entry that may be considered negative by lenders because it indicates risk and hurts your ability to qualify for credit or other services. Public records and collections are derogatory items because they reflect financial obligations that were not paid as agreed.

What Is a Derogatory Public Record?

The only type of public record information that would appear on your credit report is a bankruptcy filing., Bankruptcy information is collected and updated regularly from the courts. Filing for bankruptcy is considered derogatory because you are telling all your lenders that you will not be able to pay them in full, or at all.

There are two types of bankruptcy that typically appear on a consumer credit report: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13:

With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you enter an agreement to repay a portion of the debts owed through a payment plan. Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans can take 3-5 years to complete and are removed from the credit report seven years from the date they were filed.

With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you do not repay any of the debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually discharged just a few months after filing and remain on the credit report for 10 years from the date they are filed.

What Is a Derogatory Collection?

Any account that is seriously past due can be considered derogatory. When an account is seriously past due, the lender may transfer the account to a collection agency. The collection agency can then report the collection account as a separate listing on your credit report.

Collection accounts remain on the credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date.

Understanding Your Credit Score Risk Factors

When a credit score is calculated, a series of risk factors are generated. The risk factors describe what from your credit history most affected the score you received. "Time since derogatory public record or collection is too short" means your report shows a public record, collection account, or both, and that the item or items are recent enough that they are still significantly impacting your credit scores.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Even if you've had serious credit difficulties in the past, it is possible to begin rehabilitating your credit scores. The longer ago your bankruptcy or collection account occurred, the less it will impact you, and paying off outstanding collection accounts could help your credit scores right away.

Going forward, you can improve your credit scores by:

  • Bringing any past due accounts current.
  • Making all your payments on time, every time.
  • Keeping balances on revolving accounts as low as possible.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team