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What is a delinquency on a credit report — and how can you avoid it?


A delinquency on your credit report indicates a payment that’s been late for 30 days or more. This is one of the last things you want to have in your credit history as it can cause significant and long-lasting damage to your score.

Knowing what triggers delinquencies can help you protect your credit. CNBC Select explains how they work and what you can do to avoid late payments.

How delinquencies work

How delinquencies affect your credit

Delinquencies can have a highly negative effect on your credit. Payment history is the most critical factor influencing your credit, so when a lender or credit card issuer reports that you’re late on a bill, you can expect your score to plummet.

The longer the delinquency, the more your scores are likely to suffer. Typically, there are four stages to a delinquency: 30, 60, 90 and 180 days past due. It’s usually around the 60-day mark that you start receiving phone calls and emails from your creditor requesting that you pay — after 90 days you run a higher risk of having your account sent to collections.

At 180 days your creditor may charge-off your debt (or sell it to a debt collector). A charge-off might sound like you’re off the hook, but it’s one of the worst items to have on your credit reports and can weigh down your score like a pair of cement boots.

A delinquency stays on your credit report for seven years from its original date. That means if an account became delinquent in January 2020 but you didn’t pay off the debt until March 2020, it should fall off your credit after January 2027.

However, if you paid in March 2020 and then missed another payment a month later, it’s likely to be considered a new delinquency with its own seven-year cycle, meaning it should be removed in April 2027 — separately from the January delinquency.

The effect of a delinquency tends to fade with time — but it still doesn’t inspire trust in you as a borrower. While you still may get approved for a loan or credit card, you’ll probably get higher interest rates resulting in a hit to your wallet as well.

How to check your credit report for delinquencies

Experian Dark Web Scan + Credit Monitoring

On Experian’s secure site

  • Cost

  • Credit bureaus monitored

  • Credit scoring model used

  • Dark web scan

  • Identity insurance

How to avoid late payments

As you can see, the best way to go about delinquencies is to avoid them in the first place. If you have multiple bills to take care of each month, this can be a challenging task. You can try different strategies to ensure you don’t miss a payment:

If you already have a delinquency, discussing any possible solutions with your creditor still might help. The next step is to prioritize getting out of debt and prevent late payments from happening again.

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Bottom line

A delinquency appears on your credit report when you’re more than 30 days late on a bill from your creditor. Even a single delinquency can deal a huge blow to your credit, especially if you fail to pay several months in a row. Needless to say, it’s best to prevent delinquencies from occurring. And if you already have one or more on your record, make it a priority to pay down debt and avoid missing any more payments.

Why trust CNBC Select?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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