What is a Credit Report Public Record?

What is a Credit Report Public Record?

Written by Veronica Ott
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 14, 2020

If you have ever taken a look at your full credit report, you will notice there is a section dedicated to public records. Public records consist of information that is on file with the government at all levels. They are accessible to everyone in the general public, hence the name public records. Not every public record related to you will appear on your credit report, only the ones that relate to your finances directly will impact your credit. To learn more about public records and how they affect your credit, keep reading.

Not sure how to read your credit report? Check out this article

What is a Public Record? 

A public record is any municipal, provincial, or federal documentation that is accessible to the general public. Broadly speaking, public records refer to all legal and government matters which are too vast to discuss entirely in this article. In relation to credit reports, you can expect to see the following types of public records: 

  • Bankruptcies
  • Non-criminal rulings from court proceedings
  • Liens against property

Non-financial public records will not be shown on your credit report. For example, a divorce is a public record, but it will not show on your credit report. 

Canadian Credit Score
Want to learn about how a credit score is calculated? Check out this infographic

Why Is There a Public Record on My Credit Report? 

The purpose of a credit report is to communicate your creditworthiness to lenders. To capture a full picture of your creditworthiness, public records related to your personal finances are displayed. If the public record is true, there is no way to have it removed, unfortunately. 

If a public record is shown on your credit report in error, it is possible to dispute the item and have it removed. Start by reaching out to the credit bureau. If they don’t remove the mistake, reach out to the court that made the error to have it reversed. 

How Long Does a Public Record Remain on Your Credit Report?

A public record remains on your credit report for seven to ten years. The amount of time depends on what the public record is exactly. 

It can be discouraging to know there’s a public record on your credit report because it negatively impacts your credit. However, it’s not the end of the world, try to stay positive. As time passes, the public record will impact your credit less and less until it is eventually removed. If you continue to upkeep other aspects of your credit report and personal finances the damage won’t be forever. If you’re worried about bad credit, always keep up with your loan and credit card payments and make sure you don’t use more than 30% of your available credit limit. These are the two most important habits that all consumers should implement into their financial lives. 

To learn more about how long information stays on your credit report, click here

Bottom Line

If you do have a public record on your credit report, it can work against you and your credit, but it’s not the be-all-end-all. The public record will impact your credit less over time and will eventually fall off altogether. If you don’t have a public record on your credit report, try to keep it that way by managing your finances responsibly.

Rating of 4/5 based on 6 votes.

Veronica is a writer who specializes in creating unique and educational personal finance content. She has extensive experience writing blog posts for companies in the financial sector. Veronica's background is in accounting as she graduated from Western University in 2017 with a degree in accounting. She is passionate about using her accounting expertise to help others with their personal finance questions and issues and enjoys using her writing to educate Canadian readers. When Veronica is not writing, she enjoys film, reading, travelling, going to the gym, and listening to music.

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