What Derogatory Means on Your Credit Report

Pensive man at laptop in home office
Dear Experian,

What does "derogatory" mean when it shows up on my credit reports?

- JUA

Dear JUA,

The term "derogatory" means the information is negative and will likely hurt your ability to qualify for credit or other services.

What Is Considered Derogatory?

A derogatory account is one that is seriously past due. Most commonly, the term derogatory refers to accounts that are 60 or 90 days past due or more. It also includes collection accounts, charge-offs, repossessions and foreclosures. It may also refer to other information that indicates credit risk, such as bankruptcy and public records.

Impact of Derogatory Items In Your Credit Report

If you have a derogatory item in your credit history, it can have a substantially negative impact on your credit scores and your ability to qualify for new credit. It can also hinder your ability to rent an apartment or obtain a cell phone or other utilities in your name.

While paying off a derogatory account won't automatically remove it from your credit history, it will be updated to show it has been paid, and lenders may view a paid derogatory more favorably than an unpaid one.

If the item in question is a collection account, some of the newer credit scores no longer include paid collections in their calculations. This means paying off a collection account could help your credit scores right away.

Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through April 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.