Thank you for your question about credit reports, how they update, and your auto loan.
Not Every Lender Reports on the Same Cycle
The answer to your question depends on the lender who is reporting the information to the credit bureaus. The typical credit reporting cycle is 90 days, or quarterly — so even if they update your record within 14 days, it is likely that it will not show up on your credit report until the next cycle (or several months in the future). There is quite a bit of information on Bills.com regarding credit reporting and credit reports.
Most Banks Update Your Report Every Month
Many of the larger banks and finance companies report updated information to the credit bureaus every month. However, some smaller financiers only report on a quarterly basis. Depending on the lender, it could take as long as 90 days for updated account information to appear on your credit reports. If a particular account that you have resolved is causing your problems with your credit score, you can dispute the listing with the credit bureaus, which can speed up the reporting process. The credit report dispute process is important to understand because credit reports are notoriously inaccurate, and creditors are often very slow to report current and accurate account information.
Each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) allow consumers to dispute credit report listings online; you can access each of the credit bureaus online through AnnualCreditReport.com where you can also request a free copy of your report from each company.
Fair Credit Reporting Act at a Glance
Federal law (US Code Title 15, §1681c) controls the behavior of credit reporting agencies (CRAs). The specific law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under FCRA §605 (a) and (b), an account in collection will appear on a consumer’s credit report for up to 7½ years. To determine when an account will be removed by the CRAs (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian and others), add 7 years to the date of first delinquency. The date of first delinquency is shown in credit reports. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt or one debt collector selling the debt to another collector, is irrelevant to the 7-year rule.
Some debts have a reporting period longer than 7 years, including:
- Tax liens: 10 years if unpaid, or 7 years from the payment date
- Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of filing (15 U.S.C. §1681c)
- Perkins student loans: Until paid in full (20 U.S.C. §1087cc(c)(3))
- Direct and FFEL loans: 7 years from default or rehabilitation date (20 U.S.C. §1080a(f)(1) and 20 U.S.C. §1087e(a)(1))
- Judgments: 7 years or the debtor’s state statute of limitations on judgments, whichever is longer
The FCRA 7-year rule is separate from state statutes of limitations for debt issues. Learn the lifespan of a judgment in your state at the Bills.com Statute of Limitations Laws by State page.
The start of the 7-year period begins at the date of first delinquency, or if no payments are made, when the first payment was due. Review your credit report carefully to make certain the dates of first delinquency are reported correctly. Unscrupulous collection agents reset the date of first delinquency to stretch out how long a derogatory account appears on consumer’s credit report. This is illegal under the FCRA.
Just because a debt does not appear on a credit report does not mean the statute of limitations for the debt has passed. The opposite is also true: The passing of a state statute of limitations on a debt does not mean the debt may not appear on a credit report. The federal FCRA and state statutes of limitations are separate and independent of each other.
Whether a debt appears on a credit report does not establish legal liability for the debt. The opposite is also true: You may have legal liability for a debt not reported to the credit reporting agencies. Credit reports are not legal records of every debt a person owes.
Statute of Limitations
Just because a debt is removed from a credit report does not mean the statute of limitations for receiving a judgment to collect the debt has passed. Federal credit report laws and a state statute of limitations laws are separate and independent from each other. The seven years starts running from the date of first delinquency, which generally means seven and a half years from the date of last payment. Review your credit report carefully to make sure that the dates of last payment being reported on these accounts are correct.
The law stating that derogatory items must be removed from credit reports after seven years is designed to help consumers recover from past credit mistakes and help them rebuild their credit rating. If you find charged-off accounts appearing on your credit report after seven years, you may want to dispute the incorrect listings with the credit bureaus.
Federal Trade Commission & Disputing Credit Report Errors
Some creditors, especially debt purchasing firms, will report inaccurate charge-off dates to extend the amount of time an old account appears on your credit report. If you find any inaccurate information, you should dispute the credit report listing with the bureau in question. See the Federal Trade Commission document FTC Facts for Consumers: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors for more information.
The seven-year rule only applies to derogatory items, not to accounts that you are keeping current, or which you closed in good standing. As long as an account is not considered derogatory, it can remain on your credit report indefinitely. In fact, even accounts that are no longer reporting to the credit bureaus may continue to appear on your report as long as the account is not a derogatory item. It is common to see positive items that are more than 20 years old appearing on a credit report.
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