If your credit score isn’t where you need it to be, you likely know that it’s the negative items on your credit report that bring your score down the most.

Here are the 10 most common negative items on your credit report.


Filing bankruptcy is the worst item for a credit. It is a federal legal procedure where you declare yourself unable to pay debts. A bankruptcy will be then entered into the public records, and it will be picked up by the credit bureaus. The 2 most common types of individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. With a Chapter seven bankruptcy, you agree that in exchange for your debt is erased, that your property may be sold to increase cash.

This’s terrible for creditors because they can receive small or none of the amounts you owe. Chapter seven stays on your credit report for 10 years after the filing date. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you keep all property but agree to pay creditors a set portion of your balances as per a 3-5-year repayment plan. This’s less harmful to creditors when compared to Chapter seven, and it stays on the report for 7 years from the filing date.

Civil judgment or lawsuit

If you have delinquent debt, the creditor can file a lawsuit against you to try to collect what you owe. If you do not respond or you lose the suit in court, a judgment is filed in the public records and it shows up on credit reports. Depending on your laws of the state, having a judgment against you lets creditors take legal actions like garnishing your wages and seizing your bank accounts or other property to repay debt.

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Tax Lien

If you do not pay taxes that you owe like property and income tax, the federal, as well as state governments, may place a tax lien on assets like your personal property, real estate, and financial accounts. Like with bankruptcy and judgment, a tax lien seems on your credit reports and has a seriously negative impact on your credit. An unpaid tax lien can stay in the credit file indefinitely, but the timing depends on your law of the state. If you pay a tax lien, it released in the public records and stays on credit reports for 7 years.

Late payments

Having late payments on your credit reports is a common type of damaging data. They are recorded when you become 30 days past due, but it depends on the type of debt. For instance, if your credit card payment was due on January first, but you’d not pay it unless the middle of February, your credit reports will include a 30-day late payment. If you catch up and pay the past due amount, that black mark stays in your file for 7 years.


It is an account that you pay for less than the full amount that is being owed. It is not as negative for your credit as an unpaid account but is not as better as paying as you originally agreed. A settlement stays on your credit report for 7 years from the reported date or 7 years from the date the account first became delinquent. Like other negative items, a settled account can hurt your credit less as it gets aged.

Voluntary surrender

If you take out a loan that is secured by property like real estate or a vehicle, you agree, if you do not pay the loan, the lender can take the asset to help repay your debt. But if you have a financial hardship and decide that you need to return the property to the lender, that is known as voluntary surrender.

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If you have had several months of late payments on a house mortgage, your lender may use foreclosure to take ownership of your property to help repay debt. Once proceedings start, the account is updated to show a foreclosure status. A foreclosure will be listed for 7 years from the original date. It has an important negative impact on your credit scores during that time if you get caught up on loan payments.

Charge off

If you are seriously behind on paying a debt like over 6 months past due, a creditor can update the account status to a charge off. This’s an accounting term that means a creditor gave up on trying to collect a debt and reclassified it from a receivable to a loss. Containing a charge off account means that it is officially closed, but that you owe the balance, and it stays on your credit report for 7 years. If you will pay it, the status will change to paid charge off but will stay for 7 years from the original delinquency date.


When a creditor charges off a debt, they do not stop trying to collect it. The next step is to turn a past due to account over to a collections agency that either purchase it or gets paid a cut of what they collect. Your account status changes to in collections and shows a transfer to a new creditor. And you can see 2 entries on your credit report for a similar account: one with the original creditor that shows a zero balance and one with the new creditor for the amount owed. A collections account will get reported for 7 years from your first delinquency date. As you can guess, even paying off an account in collections does not make it vanish. It remains on a credit report for 7 years, until the law in your state needs a short period.

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Collections Accounts

If an account is sold to collections, that means the lender has given up on repayment. At that point, the lender no longer owns the account, and you can get letters and calls from the collections company. However, it isn’t unheard of for an account to go to collections and the customer does not know about it. This’s another reason it is essential to inspect your credit report regularly. If you do see an account in collections, it’ll appear on your credit report for 7 years. As the timeline on a charged off account, that date starts as soon as the account became delinquent. You can see collections accounts on the report as a separate account from the original account you had before it got sold off.

In conclusion, these 10 negative items are red flags for anyone’s credit score. If you’re currently unaware of what’s lurking in your credit history or have these negative items on your credit report, don’t hesitate to contact us today for help.

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