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What are derogatory marks?

SOLVEDBy Credit KarmaUpdated June 16, 2023

Derogatory marks are negative indications on your credit reports that can lower your credit scores and stay on your credit reports for a substantial period of time, in many cases up to seven to ten years, and depending on the type of event, even indefinitely

Here are some of the financial events and public record types that can lead to a derogatory mark and how long each one might stay on your credit report:

What can lead to a derogatory mark?What is it and what happens?How long might the derogatory mark appear on a credit report?
Late paymentsTypically creditors report an account as delinquent to credit bureaus 30 days after the missed due date.There are multiple levels of delinquency that may be reported on your credit report and negatively affect your credit scores. A debt can be reported as 30, 60, 90 and then 120 days late. Multiple delinquencies or a longer period of delinquency can affect your credit scores more negatively.Even after you’ve fully paid off these debts, the missed payment information on your credit reports may still remain for up to seven years. 
An account that was charged-offAfter several missed payments, a creditor can “charge off” the account, which means they’ve written it off as a loss. This means they may send it to a collections agency (see an account in collections below). The missed payments alone will likely significantly lower credit scores, and a charged-off account is considered a derogatory mark and can even further lower credit scores. Here’s more information about what is means to have a charged-off account on your credit reports and what to do about it. A charged-off account can remain on a credit report beginning for up to seven years from the date of the first missed payment.
An account in collection  While different creditors or lenders have different policies, typically after 180 days of non-payment the original company owed will write off a debt as a loss and sell it to a collection agency to collect the money owed.The collection agency will report the current balance owed which may be higher on the collection account due to any interest and fees added by the collection agency.An account reported as being in collection can cause credit scores to drop substantially. Read more about collections accounts here.Credit reports will still show the history of the account, including the original amount that was sold, as well as the collections account. Accounts in collection generally remain on your credit reports for seven years, plus 180 days from whenever the account first became past due.
BankruptcyA bankruptcy is a legal proceeding you can enter to request relief from debt obligations. You’ll either pay back some or none of your debt, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file for and the outcome of the proceeding.Seven to ten years from either the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication,
Civil judgmentA civil judgment is when you’ve lost  a civil lawsuit that requires you to pay debt or damages.Historically, if you lost a lawsuit in court and owe a debt as a result, the civil judgment could show up on your credit reports for the next seven years.However in 2017 all civil judgments were removed from credit reports. Moving forward they should not negatively impact your credit reports.  
Debt settlementYou and a creditor can reach an agreement where you pay back only part of the debt you owe.Seven years from either the date the debt was settled or from the date of the first delinquent payment, depending on whether there were missed payments.
ForeclosureA foreclosure can happen if you fail to make payments  on your mortgage, and the lender takes back the property. The process differs state by state, but the lender is always required to provide you notice.  A foreclosure can cause significant harm to your credit scores.A foreclosure can remain on your credit reports for seven years from the original date of delinquency (when you first missed a payment that led to the foreclosure status).  
Tax lienIf you fail to pay your taxes, the federal government can attempt to collect your debt by placing a lien, which is a claim, against your property.Historically paid tax liens could show up on your credit reports for up to seven years and unpaid liens could appear for up to ten. But in 2017 about half of the tax liens on consumer credit records were removed.

Even if a tax lien is no longer a part of your credit reports, lenders may still be able to access whether a lien is tied to your name.  
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