The date of first delinquency dictates when negative credit information must be removed from your credit reports. This can make reading credit reports difficult, since credit accounts specify the date of last activity instead of the date of first delinquency.
To understand this concept, you should first understand the timeline of a charge-off.
- When you miss a credit card payment, that first missed payment is noted as the date of first delinquency. If you never make another payment on the account, then that is the starting point for both the statute of limitations on the debt and the date of removal from your credit profile.
- Once the debt falls 180 days delinquent, it is in default and the credit card issuer charges off the balance as a bad debt. This charge-off date is frequently reported as the date of last activity, as card issuers are eager to recoup some of their money by immediately selling the debt to a collection agency. If a sale is not immediate, then the date of last activity could be months later. That however has no bearing on how long a debt remains on your credit report.
- A collection agency may list the date of last activity as the date that they officially took over ownership of the debt. You may notice this to be many months or even years after your original missed payment.
- The debt no longer poses a legal risk once the statute of limitations has expired. The statute of limitations is enforced from the date of first delinquency, and it depends on the laws of your state how far the statute of limitations extends. It could be as few as 3 years or as many as 15 years. Once the statute of limitations has expired, then the debt collector loses the right to win a judgment should the matter go to court (assuming you show up to advise the judge that the statute of limitations has expired!). Of course, debt collectors may still pursue collection of the debt indefinitely as long as they do not violate any provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Collection agencies that pursue old (expired) debts are known as zombie debt collectors.
- The debt itself will fall off of your credit report once seven and a half years from the date of first delinquency have transpired. When this occurs, your credit report must shed the original debt and any debt collectors referencing the debt. If this does not occur automatically, then you should dispute the debt directly with the credit bureaus.
The date of first delinquency is not listed on your credit bureau reports. Instead, your credit report will show the date of last activity which is relatively useless.
If you are not sure of when the date of first delinquency is, you may request validation of the debt from the collection agency.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."