Credit History

Businesses review a person's credit history when they consider applications for credit, insurance, employment, and leases. A credit score is a number that can cost or save a lot of money in a person's lifetime. When negative information in your credit report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure its removal. Some protections exist when negative information is wrong. 

Below is information that may be helpful if a creditor files a lawsuit against you, but it is not a substitute for legal advice. There are other rules and laws that may apply to your situation, but these are common rules and laws that apply in civil cases.


  • A credit score is a number between 300-850 that measures a person's creditworthiness and evaluates the probability that a person will repay loans in a timely manner.
  • Factors considered in credit scoring include the number of inquiries, open accounts, types of loans, total level of debt, length of credit history, and repayment history. 

  • Creditors report regular information, such as a paid or unpaid notation, to the major credit bureaus (i.e., Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) on a monthly basis. 
  • A late payment cannot be reported on the credit report until a person is 30 days behind. After that, a creditor can report the person for a late payment, which can stay on a credit report for up to 7 years. 
  • A person can file a dispute by mail, over the phone or online and explain why the late payment is an error, and provide supporting documentation. After receiving a dispute, the credit bureaus will investigate the claim and either confirm the information was accurate or update the credit history.

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that governs how credit bureaus can collect and share information about individual consumers. It also gives consumers certain rights: 
  • Right to receive a free credit report from each credit bureau once every 12 months.
  • Right to receive a free credit report if denied credit, insurance, or employment applications, and requested within 60 days of receiving notice. 
  • Right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information and have it corrected. 
  • Outdated and negative information must be removed after 7 years for judgments, delinquent and charged-off accounts, collections, tax liens, arrest records, overdue child support payments, and 10 years in the case of bankruptcy.

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