Time Limits for Collection Agencies to Collect a Debt

Dear Experian,

What is the time frame that collections agencies can go after their money?


Dear TRA,

Some states may have laws limiting the time in which collection agencies can pursue repayment of a debt, but at a national level, there is no time limit for trying to collect the money you owe. However, there is a time limit for how long the collection account will stay on your credit report.

Collection accounts are deleted from your credit history seven years from the original delinquency date of the original account that you failed to pay as agreed. So, you won't be plagued by the collection account in your credit history forever.

In theory, a collection agency could attempt to get payment from you endlessly, but in practice, that doesn't happen. Eventually, the collection efforts will cost more than any payment they will receive, so it doesn't make business sense to continue to try to collect the debt.

Those efforts can continue for long after the debt has been deleted from your credit history, though, so it is best to repay the debt if you can.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team