The Meaning of “Key Derogatory” as a Credit Score Factor

A man looking at his computer
Dear Experian,

What does "Key Derogatory" mean?


Dear RTC,

The term "key derogatory" is used simply to describe an account that is having a significant negative affect on your credit history and credit scores. The term does not appear on consumer credit reports obtained directly from Experian but is commonly used in discussing information that is likely to have a serious negative impact on credit scores and lending decisions.

"Derogatory" is the term used to describe negative information that is more than 180 days late. Accounts that are less than 180 days late are referred to as "delinquent."

Examples of derogatory accounts include collections, charge-offs, foreclosures and repossessions. Settling a debt and not paying it in full as originally agreed is a serious negative issue and would therefore be described as derogatory as well. Public record items such as bankruptcies and judgments are also considered derogatory.

Both delinquent accounts and derogatory accounts will lower credit scores and hurt your ability to qualify for credit or other services.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team