Maintaining a good credit score means understanding how the credit reporting system works and how it can affect your credit history in the long term. It is important to obtain a copy of your credit report yearly or monthly. This will allow you to review the details and avoid or dispute possible errors or negative credit items which could cost you a lot of dollars without you knowing.  Negative credit items can severely hurt your credit score and can lead to a negative credit report which can affect your technical ability to get a loan, achieve a good insurance rate, qualify for rental applications, and avail contracts for cable, phone, internet, etc.

A negative credit history can even keep you from getting a job. This is why identifying the top negative credit items and knowing how long they can stay on your credit report is crucial in keeping a good financial status.  Here are the top 5 negative credit items and how long they stay on your credit report:

1.Missed or Late Payments 

Have you ever experienced missing a payment or paying your bills later than the due date? If this happened to you, you may want to avoid missing payments which can lead to late payments that can go to collection. Late payments can harm your credit score and can stay on the report for seven years. Ensure that the missed or late payments that appear on your credit report are correct. 

2. High Revolving Credit Utilization 

The level of balances on your credit cards carry a serious influence in your credit history. Credit utilization is the proportion of your credit balances to your limits. Maxed out credit cards equate to high revolving credit utilization. As soon as you reduce your high balances, credit utilization will decrease and improve your credit score.  

 3. Bankruptcies 

Bankruptcy on a credit report can stay for 7 to 10 years. While this negative credit item can be a solution to end financial woes when one is unable to keep paying off active credits, it can definitely cause a long term damage to your credit history.  

 4. Charge Offs 

Charge offs are declared by creditors and can stay on your credit history for seven years. This usually results from delinquency or unpaid debt where the creditor has given up on collecting delinquent payments and overdue debts. 

 5. Inquiries 

Inquiries reflect on your credit report every time you apply for a line of credit such as a credit card, car loan, real estate mortgage, or student loan your credit report and can stay in your history for 2 years or 24 months although it can only make a difference on your credit score for the first year.  

 These top 5 negative credit items must be avoided to maintain a good credit score standing and a positive credit report. If these can’t be avoided, it is important to understand how they can impact your credit and finances while they are on your credit history report. Consider the consequences of having these negative credit items. The best way to manage your credit history is to make sure that you manage your finances well. 

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