Which Accounts Appear on Your Credit Report?

Quick Answer

There are three types of accounts that commonly appear in credit reports: installment, revolving and collection accounts. The installment and revolving accounts can include different types of loans and cards, and they may help or hurt your credit scores. Collection accounts will never help your credit.

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Your credit report can contain many types of credit accounts, including credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, student loans and mortgages. They can help or hurt your credit score depending on how you use the account and your overall credit profile. An additional type of account, collection accounts, can also be part of your credit report, but they will only hurt your score.

Types of Accounts That Appear on Your Credit Report

Three types of accounts commonly appear on credit reports: collection accounts, installment accounts and revolving accounts. Additionally, accounts that are or have been past due may be separate from the accounts that have never been late.

Installment Credit Accounts

There are different types of installment loans, including:

With an installment loan, you receive the loan amount as a lump sum upfront and then repay the loan with a series of installment payments over a predetermined repayment period. The account will be closed once you pay off the loan.

Revolving Credit Accounts

Revolving credit accounts are commonly:

These accounts don't have a predetermined loan amount and might not have a set repayment period. Instead, you'll receive a credit limit when you open an account. You can then continually borrow against the limit and pay down your balance to free up available credit. Also, you can choose to pay less than the full balance and revolve part of the debt to the next billing cycle.

Collection Accounts

If you fall behind on a payment, the creditor may send or sell your account to a collection agency. The agency may then report the collection account to the credit bureaus, and it may show up separate from the original account.

Along with the amount you owe, your credit report may tell you when the collection account was opened, the account number, the account type (such as a collection department, agency or attorney) and the name of the original creditor.

Information That Appears With Credit Accounts

A lot of information can appear with each of your credit accounts. For installment and revolving accounts, you may find the:

  • Lender name
  • Account type and number (which may be truncated or not exactly match the number on your credit card, for example)
  • Account opening date and closing date (if applicable)
  • Account status, such as current or past due
  • Whether you're the individual account holder, a cosigner or joint account holder, or an authorized user
  • Credit limit or original loan amount
  • Current balance
  • Payment history

To see examples of what appears and additional details of what appears on your report, see Understanding Your Experian Credit Report.

How Different Accounts Impact Credit Scores

The types of accounts and how you've managed accounts can directly impact your credit scores.

In general, having accounts you've held for many years (whether they're open or closed) and a history of on-time payments is best for your scores. Having a mix of installment and revolving accounts can also help your scores. However, if you've missed a payment, the late payment mark can hurt your score, even if the account is now closed.

The current balance on your accounts is also important. For revolving accounts, your credit utilization ratio is a comparison of your most recently reported balance and credit limit, and a lower balance-to-limit ratio is best. The ratio of the balance to initial loan amount for installment loans is also a scoring factor, but it's not as important as your revolving account utilization.

Collection accounts are always negative. Paying off a collection account might improve some credit scores, and many lenders view a paid collection account more favorably than an unpaid one.

How Long Do Accounts Remain on Your Credit Report?

An account can stay on your credit report indefinitely if it's open and in good standing; closed accounts that were never late may remain for 10 years from the date closed.

Type of Account Time on Your Credit Report
Open accounts in good standing Indefinitely
Closed accounts in good standing 10 years
Late or missed payments 7 years
Collection accounts 7 years

The seven-year timeline for late or missed payments can apply regardless of whether your account is open or closed.

If your account is delinquent when it's closed, then the entire account will fall off your credit report seven years after the original delinquency date—the beginning of the series of missed payments before the closure.

If your account was past due and you brought it current before closing it or paying it off, the closed account can stay on your credit report for 10 years from the closure. However, the late payment in the account's history will still be removed seven years after it was first reported.

For collection accounts, the seven-year timeline begins on the original delinquency date—not the date the account was sent to collections. The original account and collection account are both removed from your credit report once the seven-year period ends.

How to Clean Up Your Credit Report

If you notice accounts or negative marks in your credit report, you might be looking for ways to clean up your credit report and improve your credit scores. Unfortunately, you can't simply remove negative information because you don't want it there. But the impact of negative information decreases over time, even before the marks automatically drop off your reports.

One exception is medical collection accounts. These accounts won't appear in your credit report until at least a year after the account is sent to collections. If you pay the medical collection in full, the collection account also won't be included in your credit report. Additionally, the credit bureaus will remove medical collection accounts that have a balance of less than $500 starting in the first half of 2023.

For other negative marks, you may need to wait until they fall off on their own. However, if you notice there's an error in your credit report, you can file a dispute for free with the credit bureaus. You can also contact the creditor directly and ask them to correct the information. When you file a dispute with the credit reporting agency, the investigation will be completed within 30 to 45 days, and the information will either be verified, updated or deleted.

Check Your Credit Report

If you want to review your credit report, you can get free copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get your Experian credit report for free from Experian and use the dashboard to learn about everything in your credit report and how it impacts your credit score. The online account also lets you print a copy of your report and file a dispute if you spot an error.