We get asked this question all the time: “How long does information stay on my credit report?”
It’s an understandable question, considering how important credit is to almost all of your financial decisions. Your credit report includes financial information about your credit history. Lenders report your bill payments to Canada's credit bureaus, who update your credit report on a monthly basis. Missed or late payments are also reported, and this negative information is added to your credit report. Every time your credit report is updated, your credit score is likely to change as well.
You might be concerned about how long information stays on your report and how it will affect your credit score. You might wonder if lenders will see this information when they review your loan application, or if negative information on your credit report will impact your ability to find a rental apartment (landlords like to see a printed copy of your credit report).
If you’re wondering when something will come off of your report, there are set time frames for items like bankruptcies and collections that Equifax (the credit bureau we pull your report from) has put in place. In general, most negative information is deleted from your file 6 years from the date of last activity.
What if I see something on my report that shouldn’t be there?
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When you get and read your credit report from Borrowell, you might see something that doesn’t look right! If it’s regarding a specific item, we recommend contacting the credit grantor or collections agency. If it’s regarding incorrect personal information, such as your date of birth or your address, please contact Equifax directly. You can reach them here: +1-866-828-5961. Here at Borrowell, we can’t change or modify any information on your credit report. How long does information stay on my credit report?
There are many different items that you may see on your credit report, all with a different shelf life. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the items you’ll see on your credit report and how long they’ll stay there. Inquiries
Credit inquiries are any requests to check your credit. An example of this is when a potential lender is reviewing your credit because you’ve applied for something like a low-interest personal loan. It’s important to make sure any hard inquiries on your credit report have been done with your permission.
Most hard credit inquiries will stay on your report for 3 years. However, the exception to the rule is having 5 or fewer inquiries. These will not fall off your report – regardless of the date.Trade Items
Trade items refer to any open or closed accounts that appear on your credit report. Trades and accounts include any loans you have, lines of credit, and credit card accounts. The different types of trades and accounts you will see on your report are revolving, instalment, open and mortgage.
These items will stay on your credit report 6 years from the date of last activity. If there hasn’t been any activity, they will stay on your report 6 years from the date opened.Late Payments
In general, late payments can remain on your credit report for up to 6 years from the date reported. Late payments remain on your Equifax credit report even when you pay the past-due balance. For example, if you made a late payment in January 2012, this item would come off your Equifax credit report in January 2018, 6 years after the date of your late payment. Collections
If you have a late payment and don’t pay the past-due balance, the account could eventually be charged off by the original lender and assigned to a debt collection agency. Your credit report will show any accounts that have been sent to collections, whether the balance(s) have been paid or unpaid.
A collections item will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date of your last payment, whether the balance has been fully paid or not. Although unpaid collections will be removed from your credit report after 6 years, it is still highly recommended that you pay back any debt in collections. Unpaid debt can have a significant impact on your credit score, especially if it’s been sent to collections. Judgments
Leaving an account unpaid for a long time could eventually result in a creditor or debt collector taking you to court for not making your payment. A judgment is a formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. Sometimes, creditors or debt collectors will sue debtors for nonpayment of their debts to obtain judgments. Judgments will stay on your Equifax credit report 6 years from the date filed. Consumer Debt Counseling
This is a personalized counseling service aimed to provide guidance and support if you’re in over your head. The goal of credit counseling is to avoid bankruptcy.
This item will stay on your credit report 3 years from the date it was settled (or satisfied). If unsettled, it will stay on your credit report 6 years from the date filed.Consumer Proposals
A consumer proposal is another item that may appear on your credit report. A consumer proposal is a formal, legally binding process that is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). The LIT will work with you to develop a “proposal” to identify a percentage that you’re able to pay creditors.
A consumer proposal will stay on your credit report for 3 years from the date it was settled (or satisfied). If unsettled, it will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date filed.Bankruptcy
Your credit report will also show if you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy forgives debt that can’t be paid but offers creditors a chance to obtain some measure of repayment based on available assets.
Assigned, Discharged, Bankruptcy Receiving Order, Voluntary, and Involuntary bankruptcies will all stay on your credit report 6 years from the date of discharge. If you were not discharged, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date filed.
It’s important to note that if you’ve filed for bankruptcy twice, it’s known as a double bankruptcy and will stay on your report for longer. The oldest bankruptcy will suppress 14 years from the date settled. If there isn’t a date settled, they will stay on your report for 14 years from the date filed. The recent bankruptcy will fall off your report 14 years from the date it is settled. If it wasn’t settled, it will come off 14 years from the date filed. Garnishment
A garnishment is a legal process that instructs a third party to deduct payments directly from your wage or bank account. These can be used for debts such as unpaid taxes, monetary fines, child support payments or student loans.
A garnishment will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date it was filed. The exception is PEI, where it’s 7 years from the date satisfied, and if not, 10 years from the date filed. Foreclosure
A foreclosure is the action of a mortgagor (e.g. a bank) when taking possession of a mortgaged property if you haven’t been able to keep up your mortgage payments.
This also shows on your credit report for 6 years from the date it was filed. The Bottom Line
The good news: all of these items have a shelf life on your credit report. Even if you’ve had issues with credit in the past, time and taking the right steps to improve your credit health will eventually help you improve your score. In fact, recent data from Borrowell shows that those who monitor and understand their credit actually stand to improve their credit score by on average, by 30 points.
We’re proud to offer Canadians their free Equifax credit report, but understand that the items and the length of time they stay on your report can be a little confusing. Hopefully, you’ll now never have to ask the question: “How long does information stay on my credit report,” again!
Are you ready to see your full credit report? You can get your credit score in Canada and see your full Equifax credit report from Borrowell! Your credit score and report will be updated for free on a weekly basis.