How Long Does Credit Information Stay On Your Credit Report?

How Long Does Credit Information Stay On Your Credit Report?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 11, 2021

Your credit report is essentially your credit history. It compiles all the information concerning your credit habits and creates a tool that can be used by lenders and creditors to assess your creditworthiness. While your credit report does represent a good portion of your credit history, the information is not saved for the total duration of your credit using life. Your credit information is eventually removed from your credit report to make room for newer information.

Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is, how long does this credit information stay on my credit report for? This is what we’re going to take a closer look at so you can know exactly how long specific credit information will affect your credit report.

What Type Of Credit Information Shows Up On My Credit Report?

Your credit report contains all important information, the good and the bad, regarding your credit accounts. A credit account is a general term used to describe credit cards, lines of credit and loans. If you have one or all of these credit products, they will appear on your credit report with the following information:

  • Payment history, both on time and late payments.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSFs)
  • Closed accounts because of fraud
  • Bankruptcy
  • Debt management programs
  • Consumer proposals
  • Legal judgments
  • Liens
  • Accounts in collections
  • Inquires
  • Remarks
  • Foreclosure
  • Garnishment

Most lenders and creditors report directly to one of the two main credit reporting bureaus in Canada, TransUnion, and Equifax. The credit reporting bureaus then create credit reports that are used by creditors and lenders to assess a potential borrower’s creditworthiness.

Credit scoreTake a look at this infographic for a breakdown of your credit score.

How Long Do Paid Off Credit Accounts In Good Standing Stay On My Report?

A credit account that was paid off on time and is in good standing will remain on your credit account for 20 years after the last day it was active. Often, people mistakenly believe that old credit accounts are bad information and do not want then on their reports. In fact, this is the exact type of information that you want to appear on your credit report. Old accounts, which were paid off on time, show potential future lenders that you can responsibly handle credit. A long and positive credit history is created by using credit and taking on loans.

How Long Do Delinquent Credit Accounts Stay On My Report?

When it comes to delinquent credit accounts or other negative credit information, it’s best for your overall credit health if that information is removed from your credit report as soon as possible. It’s this type of information that will lower your credit score and hinder your ability to get approved for the credit and loan products you need.

Unfortunately, negative credit information does stay on your credit report as it’s used by creditors and lenders to assess your risk level. The good news is that negative credit information doesn’t stay on your credit report for as long as positive credit information.

Because there are so many different types of negative credit information that can appear on your credit report, here is a detailed list of how long each will stay on your report.

TermDefinition Time on Report
Credit cardsA credit card is a revolving credit product that allows you to make purchases against a line of credit, which you can reuse so long as you pay down the balance you owe.  6
Lines of Credit A line of credit allows you to draw money in increments up to the credit limit. As you pay the balance you regain access to the money. 6
LoansA loan is a sum of money that is lent to the borrower on the condition they repay in installments over a period of time with interest. 6
Non-sufficient funds (NSF)NSF is a term that is used by banks to indicate when an account does not have enough money to cover a withdrawal via cheque or debit.6
Closed chequing or savings accounts due to fraudWhen your chequing or savings account is closed due to fraud. 6
InquiresWhen a company or person does a credit check on you, they do so by requesting your credit report from one of the two credit bureaus. The act of accessing your credit report is called an inquiry. 
Note: at TransUnion inquiries will stay on your report for 6 years. 
Accounts in CollectionIf you continue to default on your payments you will be considered a serious delinquent. When that happens, companies will sell your account to a collection agency, which is a more intensive method of debt recovery. 6
LiensLien is a term used to define an asset that is used as security for a loan. In the event the borrower cannot repay his debt, the lender has the right to seize the asset the repay the debt. 
Note: at TransUnion lien information will stay on your report for 5 years. 
BankruptcyBankruptcy is a legal procedure in Canada that is filed by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. It allows you to absolve most of your debt, however, you may lose possession of your assets.
Note: TransUnion keeps bankruptcy information for 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I.
Multiple bankruptciesIf you file for more than one bankruptcy. 14
Consumer proposalA consumer proposal is a legal proceeding in Canada that is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. It allows you to settle your debts by paying off a portion of your debt over a period of 5 years. 3
Remarks Any notes written regarding your account such as “settled” or “account closed due to inactivity” is considered a remark.6
Legal judgmentsJudgements are debts you owe through lawsuits. 
Note: TransUnion keeps legal judgment information for 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador and 10 years in P.E.I.
Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD)OPD is a government program in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia that allows people to repay their debts at a fixed rate of 5% over a period of up to 5 years.
Note: TransUnion does not report the OPD itself but keeps each of the accounts associated with the OPD on record for 2 years following the date paid, or if sooner, 6 years from when the account first became delinquent.
Debt management program (DMP)A DMP is a debt relief program that consolidates all of your unsecured debt in one affordable payment. 
Note: At Equifax, if a debt is not repaid, the DMP remains on the credit report for 6 years following the date filed.
Note: TransUnion does not report the DMP itself but keeps each of the accounts associated with the DMP on record for 2 years following the date paid, or if sooner, 6 years from when the account first became delinquent.
GarnishmentA  Garnishment is a legal process that allows a creditor to directly withdraw wages from your bank account. 6
ForeclosureA foreclosure is when your home is repossessed by your mortgagor because you haven’t been making your mortgage payments.  6

What If There Is Something I Don’t Recognize On My Report?

Sometimes there may be a mistake on your credit report, while other times the discrepancies are due to identity theft. If you notice a mistake or discrepancy, please contact Equifax or TransUnion to resolve the problem. Problems like these are an important reminder of why you should check your credit report at least once a year. 

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that the two credit reporting bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, keep credit information for different amounts of time. Furthermore, some creditors report to only one bureau, therefore some information may not appear on your credit report if you only request a copy from one of the two bureaus.

Rating of 4/5 based on 28 votes.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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