Infographic: Boost Your Credit Score

  • Your credit score can affect everything from the interest rate on your loans to landing an apartment.
  • Your credit score is based on the information found in your credit report.
  • Knowing how long your activity remains on your credit report can help you better manage your credit score.

How long does information stay on my credit report?*

*Timeline is approximate and may vary depending on local legislation
  • Fraud alerts – 90 days: Fraud alerts are free to set up and require businesses to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.
  • Promotional inquiries – 1 year: Things like pre-approved credit card offers stay on file for one year but are not factored into your credit score.
  • Soft inquiries – 1–2 years: These are inquiries made for background check purposes, or by you. They do not affect your credit score.
  • Credit counseling – 2–3 years: This includes records of debts paid through a debt management program or credit counselor.
  • Hard inquiries – 6 years: Made by other lenders or businesses; many inquiries in a short amount of time can lower your score.
  • Bad checks – 6 years: Records of non-sufficient funds are kept for 6 years.
  • Account closures – 6 years: For accounts closed due to debt or fraud.
  • Late payment history – 7 years
  • Tax liens – 7 years: This includes judgments (a court order that allows the creditor to use additional collection methods).
  • Bankruptcy – 7–10 years: Depends on location and the type of bankruptcy filed for.
  • Good credit – 10+ years: Accounts paid on time stick around for 10 years after their date of last activity.
  • Bankruptcy (again) – 14 years: If you declare bankruptcy more than once, it stays on record for longer.

Your credit report checklist

  • Request your free credit report from each of the main credit bureaus.
  • Review your personal information and make sure that it’s up-to-date.
  • Read your credit report. If you need help, visit the credit bureau’s website for guidance.
  • Report any unauthorized activity to the issuing credit bureau.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, Experian, TransUnion, LearnVest Planning Services