A credit report is a snapshot of your financial health. Creditors use credit reports and scores to extend credit. Everyone has had a point in their life where they know nothing about their credit score. When you begin learning about finances, you begin to understand how important your credit report is.
You may have some good and bad information on your credit report. Sometimes, it’s bound to happen, but the good news is credit scores can improve with a bit of work. Firstly, the information does not stay on your credit report forever. So, if you collect positive information and lose negative information, your credit score will go up.
Luckily for everyone, positive information stays on credit reports longer than negative information.
Keep reading to learn what information is positive and negative.
Key Factors for How Long Information Stays on Credit Reports:
- The type of financial information
- Your province or territory
- The credit bureau that created the report
Are you struggling with bad credit? We can help you fix your credit and get out of debt.
Why does information show up on your credit report for years?
Information on your credit report gives potential lenders an idea of financial responsibility. Data stays on credit reports for fixed periods of time. The goal is to provide accurate estimations of your reliability to repay loans. Depending on a few factors, most information stays on credit reports for 6 to 7 years.
This is enough of a time frame to show creditors any highs and lows in your credit history. The better managed on average, the higher your credit score. Months would not be long enough to give an accurate assessment.
Information held and shared for life would be too critical. Having information available for limited years is best. It allows for the correction of past errors while ensuring you repay your creditors.
How long does positive information stay on your credit report?
Positive information on credit reports includes types of loans you’ve held, length of a loan, amounts of loans, and repayment history. However, you must manage debt responsibly for this information to reflect as positive. Essentially any account paid as agreed, both active and closed, provide positive information.
This could show creditors you pay regularly and on time, and that you can manage many types of loans. Positive information can stay on your credit report forever. Usually, credit bureaus will stop showing positive information after 10 to 20 years.
The credit bureaus of Canada are TransUnion and Equifax. They each have unique reporting practices. They hold information for slightly different time lengths.
How long does negative information remain on your credit report?
Negative information will stay on your credit report for less time. Depending on the key factors, most information stays for a maximum of 6 to 7 years. Some information comes off sooner. There is one exception with bankruptcies. Information may remain on your report for as long as 14 years.
Read below on each type of negative info and how long it stays on credit reports.
If a court has required any payments or debt repayment, this would be a judgement. This could happen in lawsuits. With both Equifax and TransUnion, this usually stays on credit reports for 6 years.
TransUnion will hold the information for 7 years in:
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
They will hold the information for 10 years in Prince Edward Island.
Debt Management Plans
Debt management plans are set up with credit counsellors and creditors. These plans are informal but allow for the consolidation of debts. After 2 years of paying off your debts, both credit bureaus stop reporting this in Canada.
A consumer proposal is a legal agreement set up by a licensed insolvency trustee. This official document works with creditors to pay off a percentage of your debt.
Equifax will remove consumer proposals from credit reports 3 years after the debt is completely paid off as agreed. TransUnion will remove it 3 years after all debt is completely paid as agreed. OR 6 years after you sign the proposal. Whichever date arrives first.
Bankruptcy is the most serious and official step in dealing with debt. They are set up by a licensed insolvency trustee. Bankruptcy stays on both TransUnion and Equifax credit reports for 6 years after the date of discharge. If anyone declares bankruptcy twice, both bankruptcies appear for 14 years.
TransUnion will remove first bankruptcies after 7 years in:
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
Collections or Charged-off Accounts
If you have a late payment and continuously do not pay, your account may go to collection agencies. Credit reports will show when this happens. Accounts sent to collections will remain on your credit report for 6 years from your last payment.
Unpaid debts will also fall off 6 years after an account’s last payment. Debts that do not show up as paid or settled in full can still harm your credit score. In some cases, you can work with a debt collector to have the collection entry removed sooner.
Any late payments will stay on your credit report for 6 years from when the payment was finally made. In practice, both Equifax and TransUnion remove this information after 6 years.
Secured loans, including foreclosures, stay on credit reports for 6 years after the filing date.
Do inquires, soft and hard stay on your report and for how long?
Soft inquires should not affect your credit score. But you may see them on your credit report. Hard inquires affect your credit score. They are always reflected on credit reports. Hard inquires will remain on credit reports for 3 years.
Credit reports will always have the most recent 5 inquires displayed. This could include an inquiry from 10 years ago. In this case, it would not negatively affect your score.
How to remove negative information from your credit report?
If you do not recognize something reported on your credit report, you should fix it. To fix it, you can get in contact with the credit bureau. This will help keep your credit report healthy and strong. It will also prevent any type of fraud or identity theft.
You can also call the reporting agency and inform them of the mistake. Companies need to know when an error has happened. If you are disputing something, both Equifax and TransUnion have processes for this.
How to monitor your credit report?
Everyone should review their credit report every 6 months to a year. To ensure there is no suspicious activity. This allows you to follow up with your goals as well. Thereby allowing you to improve your credit score and correct any mistakes you have made.
Below are the links to contact both Canadian credit reporting agencies. Both agencies offer a free credit report in Canada each year.
Nothing stays on your credit report forever. Your situation may be hard to navigate. With a little reviewing, budgeting, and time, you can resolve negative information on your credit report. If you need extra support, consider Consolidated Credit Counselling Services. We can help with your financial needs.