Public Records and Your Credit Report

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A section on your credit report is reserved for public records. These are entries that are also on file with a local, county, state, or federal court.

After a serious delinquency, your creditor may take legal action against you. If the court finds in favor of the creditor, the action will become a matter of public record and, in some cases, the action will find its way to your credit report.

Which Public Records Appear On Credit Reports?

Public records that could appear on your credit report included bankruptcy, judgment, or a tax lien. In some states, foreclosure and repossession are also public records. These entries are also the worst types of entries to appear on your credit report because they show a serious delinquency. However, since 2017, only bankruptcies can appear on your credit report.

Credit Reporting Time Limit for Public Records

Most bankruptcy records can remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. A foreclosure can stay on your report for seven years.

Removing Public Records From Your Credit Report

If a public record is on your credit report in error, you can use the credit report dispute process to have it removed. You also have the right to dispute the error with the court who provided the entry if the credit bureau doesn't remove the error.

Improving Your Credit After a Public Record

While public records severely damage your credit score, especially when the item is first placed on your credit report, it's not the end of the world. As the record gets older, it hurts your credit score less. Paying all your other accounts on time and keeping your debt levels low can also minimize the impact on your credit score.