Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
What are negative items on your credit report?
Explaining the black marks that can impact your credit.
If you’re worried about negative marks on your credit report, knowing how to read your report is an important first step — but that’s easier said than done.
Terminology on your credit report isn’t always easy to understand. Learning what those marks mean and what you can do to remove them is a step to better credit. That can mean better loan terms and APRs on credit cards.
What negative items can you find on your credit report?
There are a number of derogatory marks that can negatively affect your credit, including:
- Bankruptcy. Filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy helps alleviate your debt, but typically stays on your credit report for 10 years.
- 30-, 60- or 90-day late payment. If you’re 30, 60 or 90 days late paying an account, it’ll appear on your credit.
- 120+ day late payment. If you haven’t made a payment in at least 120 days many lenders opt to charge off the account.
- Charge off. If you have an account that’s over 180 days past due, your lender may write off the debt as a loss and send your debt to collections.
- Collection. If your debt is handed over to a collection agency, it makes an effort to collect the debt through frequent letters and phone calls. If you don’t respond, you could face legal action.
- Civil claim. If you face a lawsuit because of unpaid debt, it appears on your credit report as a civil claim.
- Foreclosure. Should you default on your mortgage and your lender repossess your home, and your credit report cites this as a foreclosure.
- Included in bankruptcy. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all the accounts you closed in the agreement are marked as bankrupt.
- Lien. Should you fail to pay state or federal taxes, a tax lien appears on your credit report. This can remain on your report indefinitely if you don’t pay it.
- Repossession. If you default on an unsecured loan, like a car, your lender can repossess the property. This shows up on your credit report.
- Settlement accepted. If a lender settles on a partial payment, but considers the account paid in full, this notation appears on your report. While still a negative mark, this notation is less damaging than not paying it at all.
- Account in credit counseling. Consumer Credit Counseling Services can help borrowers who are laden with credit card debt by negotiating lower payments. If a lender agrees, this notation may show up on your account.
- Unknown. You may see this as an X on your report. It means the bureau didn’t get enough information from the lender to confirm the account is paid. While an unknown notation isn’t necessarily a negative mark, it could hold back your credit score. Contact your lender to clear this up.
- Inquiry. Each time you apply for a loan or credit card, the lender conducts a hard credit inquiry. While it isn’t exactly negative, hard credit pulls affect your credit score by as much as five points per inquiry.
What is a derogatory mark?
Derogatory marks cover things like missed payments and a declaration of bankruptcy. Most derogatory marks stay on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, depending on how bad the mark.
Your credit report acts as a compiled history of your borrowing transactions. Good borrowing behavior, like on-time loan repayments counts in your favor. Borrowing behavior that lowers your score include missed payments and defaulting on a loan.
What to do if you have black marks on your report
If you think incorrect negative marks on your credit report are keeping your score down, move quickly to improve your score. Here’s what you can do to correct errors on your report:
- Order a free credit report. You’re entitled to a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus once a week.
- Identify mistakes and errors. Once you have a copy of your report, highlight any errors, such as incorrect payments or duplicate listings.
- Dispute creditor errors. If a lender sent incorrect information to a reporting agency, contact your creditors to notify them.
- File a formal correction request. Send a request to credit reporting agencies by mail and include copies of any related documents and proof of the error.
Compare credit repair services
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
The first step in navigating the credit repair process is understanding what those negative marks mean and how to get them off to improve your score. Once you do, focus on maintaining a good credit score by making regular, on-time payments. If you think you might miss a payment, reach out to your lender to see how you can avoid negative marks on your credit report.
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
Does a car loan affect your mortgage application?
Find out how to increase your borrowing power and get approved for a mortgage even if you have a car loan.
Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card Review
While not a bad credit-building choice, you have better options.
Surge Secured Mastercard® review
A secured credit card for building credit with cashback rewards.
What happens to my home loan if I die?
Learn about what will happen to your home loan when you die and how to avoid any nasty situations with some pre-planning.
Your stimulus check could pay for a down payment on a car – is that a good idea?
With $1,400 or more coming to most Americans’ wallets, here’s how you can fund your car down payment and save money on your loan.
Startup business lines of credit
A business line of credit is a useful tool. But as a startup, you may not qualify for the best interest rates with most lenders. Explore your options — and alternatives — for flexible funding as a new business.
Investing in your 40s: 8 ways to prepare for retirement
How to invest for retirement: 8 ways to safeguard your portfolio.
9 steps to make the most of your debt relief program
Reduce your debt by around 30% after fees — but only if you can stick with the program. Here’s how.
7 debt relief scams to have on your radar
Don’t be fooled by false promises — here are red flags to watch out for and tips to find a legit company.
How to deal with debt when you have bad credit
Credit counseling, debt relief programs and more options to consider.
Ask an Expert