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Your credit report offers valuable insight into your financial history and affects most of your financial future. Everything from whether you get approved for a mortgage to what your credit card interest rate will be balances on your credit score.

Negative information on your credit report can be detrimental for years. Wonder how long hard inquiries stay on your credit report? It’s not always clear how long inquiries and other negative information stays on your credit report and affects your score. The length and severity vary, but here are four common types of inquiries and how long they affect your credit score.

1. How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a hard inquiry?

Hard inquiries are created every time your credit report is accessed by a business when you apply for a line of credit. For example, when you apply for a car loan, mortgage, student loan or credit card, your credit receives a hard inquiry.

How long do hard inquiries stay on your report?

Inquiries remain on your credit reports for 24 months. However, hard inquiries impact your score for only the first 12 months. After that, they have no impact on your score.

How much do hard inquiries affect your credit score?

New credit—including inquiries and any new credit accounts—make up just 10% of your FICO score. A single inquiry typically only drops your credit score by three to five points. As long as you apply for credit only when you need it, this is one of the lesser hits to worry about.

It is important to consider the perception associated with numerous hard inquiries, though. Even if your credit score can take a few hits and remain good or excellent, perception can matter. If a lender pulls your history and sees you’re running up a string of inquiries, they may wonder why. It can look like you’re desperate for credit but not getting approved by lenders, which isn’t an ideal look on your credit report.

2. How Long Do Credit Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a credit account?

Credit accounts refer to all of the accounts for which you hold credit, including credit cards, mortgages and car loans. Credit scoring models like to see a healthy balance to the types of credit accounts you have and can manage effectively. Negative information on a credit account includes late or missing payments.

How long does negative credit account information stay on your report?

Negative account information, such as a late payment, can stay on your credit report for seven years from the date it was first reported as late. If you close the account, the entire account typically will be removed from your report after seven years. If the account remains open, the negative information should be removed after seven years while the rest of the account information stays on your report.

Positive information, on the other hand, remains on your credit report indefinitely. If you close the account, positive information typically stays on your report for 10 years past the closing date.

How much do credit accounts affect your credit?

Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score. A healthy mix means more points. The age of your credit accounts also impacts your score, accounting for 15% of the score. If you don’t have many credit accounts or if you close your accounts, it could negatively affect your credit score.

Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, and making payments on time is the most important factor in determining your credit score. A single late payment can drop a good score by as much as 90 to 110 points.

Most lenders don’t report missed payments until accounts are more than 30 days past due, so if you can catch the missing payment in enough time, you might not notice a hit at all. Other lenders will let one late payment slide, especially if you’ve been a loyal customer for many years and have a good excuse for why you missed it.

3. How Long Do Collection Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a collection account?

When you fall behind on making payments on an account, your debt could end up in the collection’s department of that company. The creditor may also sell your debt to a collection agency, which reports it as a collection account. At this point, the original creditor that sold the debt should not continue to report a balance owed, but you should watch out for duplicate collection accounts.

How long will collection accounts stay on your report?

Collection accounts remain open for seven years plus 180 days from the date the account was delinquent. After that time, it must be removed regardless of when it was paid or when it was placed for collection.

How much do collection accounts affect your credit?

Understanding how collection accounts can affect your credit score is tricky. The most important factor that will affect your credit score when it comes to collections is how recently the collections occurred—the more recent the collection, the lower the score. Multiple collection accounts can also lower your score. Unfortunately, settling or removing a collection may not impact your score positively.

While there’s no way to tell exactly how much a collection account will affect your credit score, it is one of the higher penalties. The best course of action is to avoid having accounts sent to collection in the first place.

4. How Long Do Bankruptcies Stay on My Credit Report?

What are bankruptcies?

Bankruptcies are proceedings that let you restructure debt you have no way of paying. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you may pay a portion of some of your debt back via a plan. Once your bankruptcy is over, outstanding debts are considered discharged and no longer owed.

How long do bankruptcies stay on your report?

Chapter 7, 11 and 12 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years from the date filed. Completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies are usually removed after seven years from the filing date.

How much do bankruptcies affect your credit?

In the aftermath of a bankruptcy, your score is likely to drop dramatically. However, the purpose of bankruptcy is to provide a last-resort option for restructuring your financial life. By making strong financial decisions during and after your bankruptcy, you can work on bringing your score back up.

How long do inquiries stay on your credit report? As you can see above, it depends. And the impact each has to your score is variable.

But one truth remains. Negative items on your credit report do impact your score. You can’t afford to ignore these items, especially since some may not even be accurate. Sign up for your free Credit Report Card today. You can check your credit, get a better grip on your credit report and learn how to get the most from your credit score. 

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  • Jess

    Was just on the phone with our bank and they asked my husband which of thw named 5 people was familiar, and other events of them was his ex wife from almost 10 years ago, my question is will this be something that will happen again, how can we fix this.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It sounds like they may have been trying to verify his identity. You may want to discuss this directly with the bank.

  • Prettyp

    I found out that i have a civil judgement when i checked my credit. It Will be almost 6 yrs now, since it was filed. I didnt recieve any letter, call etc. It has a remark as “degoratory” Will it stay on my credit for how long. Will i have an issue if i travel out of the country when i get to the costums? Help

  • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

    That’s bolosh Roger. I’ve lived overseas for 15-yrs too and my credit is same number as it was when I left the country. The good thing is that you can apply for loans in other countries and they don’t use the broken American system. You might find you can get an instant loan just by using your passport. Good luck

  • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

    your lawyer will know what to do. They can reopen the case and have the entire credit file deleted under bankruptcy laws. Just be honest with the judge about your past debt and ask for a fresh start. Yes you can include old debt such as this.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

    How to kill a mocking bird? I’ve had a fake student loan on my credit report for years. I went to school under the GI-bill and never had one yet this Chicago credit union is breaking all the rules with false reporting.

  • Jeanne Feazell

    I have something on my credit report it was a closed account, it was closed Dec. 2007… but it’s still on my account. How do I get it off?

  • Johannes de Silentio

    Gerri, thank you for all your help. Two more questions. How many points does one lose on a credit score for each 30-day entry? How many points does one lose for a bankruptcy on the record?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Johannes,

      The point loss varies depending on where you credit score is at when the delinquency/bankruptcy hits. The better the score, the bigger the fall, generally.

      Thank you,


  • Johannes de Silentio

    Gerri, you said it was an act of Congress that determines how long a negative entry stays on the report. What is the name of the act and where can I read it on the Internet? Second question: are 30 day lates treated the same as other negative entries? I ask this because I noticed on my wife’s report that a 30 day late store credit will stay on her report for five years.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It’s called the Fair Credit Reporting Act and we published it here: http://www.credit.com/credit-law/fair-credit-reporting-act/

      There is no difference for 30 days late remarks. Are you in NY by chance?

      • Johannes de Silentio

        No, I live in California. Thank you for your response

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          You’re welcome!

  • MK

    So quick question, I had a delinquent account with macys 7 years ago. Since its been 7 years all three credit bureau agencies have removed the account from the credit report. Now since I’m in a good standing, and have better understanding of credit report, I thought to apply for Macys card, but I was still denied. Macys sent a letter saying I had delinquent account with them. They got the information from Experian agency, but when I checked the report there is nothing that shows account with Macys. What do I need to do? Do credit card companies see the same information we see or they can see beyond. Please help.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I assume they still have their own internal account records that show that you had an unpaid debt with them. They may have also conducted a credit check which is perhaps where the record came from. But if it’s not clear, I’d encourage you to contact them and ask. We’d be interested to hear what they have to say.

  • SK

    I have had several credit injuries removed from my Experian
    credit report; Equifax and Trans Union will not update my report with the
    deletion or investigate when I send letters to them. How can I get them to investigate and remove these items. I am getting tired of mailing letter and spending money with no response.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      What is your basis for disputing the inquiries? Were you a victim of fraud?

      • SK

        yes and i included the fraud information to the bureaus and still no response. I thought they send the request to the creditor, and the creditor verifies the info in a reply to the bureau….usually the creditor send the info to all 3 bureaus…correct?

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          It sounds to me like you need to file a complaint with the CFPB.

          • SK

            thanks, can you assist with how to file a complaint with the CFPB…

          • http://blog.credit.com/ Kali Geldis

            It’s super easy, here’s the CFPB site to get you started: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

  • SK

    Is this item hurting my credit score? A 60 day-late payment for a student loan
    (dated: Nov. 2009)…The account open on Oct. 2005 and closed on Feb. 2011…I
    have tried to get this item removed but the loan company will not assist. The loan was transferred
    (consolidated)…Please help on how to remove or should I not worry about the
    item. When will it drop off my credit report

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If it was 60 days late in Nov 2009 then it can be reported for seven years–until Nov 2016. Since it’s older it has less impact. This story may help: How Long Does It Really Take to Improve Your Credit?

      • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

        so you had a bad year in 2008. So did the rest of us. It won’t last much longer on your credit file but you may have to ask them to delete that.

  • Datku

    May be I am misunderstanding how credit reports work or more specifically TranUnion. I had some problems with student loans and went into default. I have since rehab my loans and have them out of default with a paid current status. On other reports once my Student loans came out of Default, they were removed from the negative/adverse category and into Satisfactory account category. TransUnion still shows them as adverse even though under satisfactory they also list the loans by Dept of Ed now that they are current. So why the double listing?

    Talking to people at TransUnion (hard to understand guess even credit reporting now outsources to India) they say once an account is reported negatively it will remain for 7 years. I understand that but what I don’t understand is when you fix the credit issue and become current, why do they still report as adverse for 7 years anyway?

    I also have a collection account in the adverse area that even has the remark paid collection from over a year ago that is still being reported as an adverse record. I attempted to dispute these via the TransUnion site but get caught in a loop (Initiate a dispute, Start, collecting information, then takes me back to start). Do I need to call in and escalate the matter till I get someone that isn’t following a knowledge base page by page or send Lawyers after them or what?

    Am I misunderstanding that even once an account is current and in good standing after being 120 days past due it will still report negatively for 7 years anyway? How do you clean up your credit if even if you are current, being past due on the account in the past will still ding you for 7 years regardless?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      We wrote an article about that. I think it addresses your question but if it doesn’t let us know. Will Student Loan Rehab Fix My Credit? And please keep in mind the CFPB is looking into student loan servicing practices so you may want to file a complaint with them. (Also you may want to contact the servicer reporting the account instead of just TU, which is just reporting what they are getting from the servicer.)

  • Christie Bender

    My husband and I are trying to buy a house, we claimed Chapter 13 and it was discharged in 3/2013. My husband has 3 judgments on his public record from 2008, and 2009. These judgments were satisfied in BK and paid. When you try to call these people they give you the run around, you fax them, you call them. You call the attorneys no will satisfy these judgments because basically they do not exist to them. Our county court had us file a motion to have the judgments satisfied and are making us wait 21 days before the judge will even look at the motion. Shouldn’t federal court trump county court, if the BK is discharged and those debts were part of the BK it should be satisfied correct? We close on 4/20 the judge won’t even look at the motion until 4/16 or 4/17. If we have the BK discharged paperwork shouldn’t the county court satisfy the judgments? Do we have any other avenues we can go down, time is ticking and not on our side. We have made about 50 phone calls and explained our situation no less than 25 times. There should be a law that protects consumers that have paid the debt, all we want is it to be changed to satisfied.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    First of all, payments may affect the statute of limitations but they shouldn’t affect how long it is reported. If they did falsify the payments in order to report this information longer than it should be then you should absolutely get an attorney involved. In fact, it makes sense anyway since they are continuing to report a debt that isn’t yours on your credit report. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates for help finding an attorney with experience in Fair Credit Reporting Act cases. Please let us know how it turns out!

    • Rob Long

      Sadily this truly happens. I had one negative account on my credit report which I tried disputing as the company was reporting in correct payment history. Never fixed over the past 4 yrs the company in question litterely reported this account each and every month with out fail. There was no activity at all. I actually 3 years ago tried calling this account repersentive directly tried to make several different arraignments to resolve and make good on this account that was only a charge off balance of $326.28 .the lady was absolutely impossible and had no desire to work with me. I honestly will quote her exact words she said to me.: regardless of how many times I attemp to challenge this account with the three credit bureaus she will answer every one of them immediately upon there office receiving them. She stated she will update this account every month ( she sure did and did not miss one month) to me she acted as the credit report police to prevent this account from being deleted. After several calls to her I contacted my attorney and explained this situation. It kinda bothered me because I tried to make arraignments to pay this balance off with the aggreance upon final payment just asked if they’d do a deletion in lieu of full payment. Again there words no. I hated the fact that there was this account that will haunt me for Seven years.
      The mistake many people do make while trying to fix and account to have it changed or deleted if they make arraignments with the creditor.
      I had 3.5 yrs left before the seven yr time limit would rid this account. Iam so glad that since that account had been reported to all 3 credit bureaus. I did not make any payments on it as I was completely aware that it could start the 7 year window all over again. And a good idea for every one who may be going something similar is to monitor your reports and negative accounts to make sure the company reporting a charge off account doesn’t submit a bogas payment unto your account in attempts for them to extend the time frame window.
      I learned last month this nightmare charge off account is finally been deleted from all three credit bureaus. Be aware it was on there for a little more than 7 yrs it actually was 7 yrs eleven months. I didn’t even have to write the three credit bureaus to state that that account had reached the 7 year limit. I didn’t write any more letters because I knew it was getting close for the deletion of this account. And I was not going to chance sending in a request to verify this account for accuracy being it was just over the seven yr window as I knew that lady from the company in question with out any doubt would do what ever she could to attempt the stooping this account from being deleted.
      I was actually impressed that the credit bureaus actually were right there and deleted this account when the proper time was finished.
      I’m not telling anyone not to attempt to try and pay off any charge off accounts. All I am recommending is to be careful and if you do get any account to agree to work with you “”before making any payments get the agreement I writing with them”” and remember once you make any payment on charge off accounts medical bill payments etc the clock can start over on the 7 year window. I know doing the right thing is always the best way. But there are times doing the right thing can haunt you.

  • rose k

    There is a negative collection account on my credit report to a company that I never had an account with. Also this account exists in a state that I have never lived. Can I sue for deformation of character?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Rose —
      It could be a simple mistake. First, why not try disputing the information to have it removed? Here’s how to do that: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes. If the credit bureaus will not remove the information, then you might consider consulting a consumer law attorney.

  • Kim

    I have a judgement on my credit this April will make 7 yrs .On my credit report it states reporting until April does this mean this is going away?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Kim —
      You are right about the seven years. It will come off your credit report then, yes. But that doesn’t mean the debt no longer exists, if that was your question. We wrote a post on the differing dates involved that might be useful to you: Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

  • Tanya

    Michigan judgements are enforceable for ten years, but I’ve read that they come off credit reports at seven AND read they come off at ten. Is there somewhere that actually says it is for sure seven, or ten years? (This is in regards to an unpaid judgement.)

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Tanya —
      Our understanding is that judgments in Michigan can be renewed, so it would not be as if after 10 years, they are uncollectable. You can read more here: Michigan Debt Collection

      In addition, the dates for when statutes of limitation and credit reporting expire are often different. This post addresses that:
      Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

      • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

        you live in a lousy state. Illinois isn’t like that

  • stephen

    I recently found that an unpaid deductible charge from an emergency room visit has been on my credit report for a long time. It was my wife that went to the ER, and my insurance that covered it, but there was a deductible that was supposed to be paid. They have put “DM – late pay 120 days” on my report every month for the last 7 years and it is showing up as 45 missed payments. If bill is valid, I’d like to take care of it, but I am worried that paying for it will keep the derogatory remarks on my record for longer. The bill was from November 2008 and was only about $100, but it has taken a hidden toll on my credit that I’ve only just found, since it was only on my Equifax report, and I’ve only been checking my TU report. What is the best way of taking care of something like that with the least amount of continued damage on the credit score?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Stephen – This is a tricky one. Generally, under most current scoring models, paying an old debt isn’t supposed to hurt your credit scores. The date of last activity may be updated but that’s not supposed to lower your scores. But there are many scoring models out there and things aren’t always black and white.

      This debt sounds like it is quite old. It is probably outside the statute of limitations and it sounds like it is scheduled to come off your reports May 2016 anyway and that’s not too far off. (7 years plus 180 days from when it was originally due – check my math but I think that’s right.)

      Have you tried disputing it already with the credit reporting agency AND the collector? What happened?

  • Em

    In late 2006 I had a Citibank card go into default with around $2000 on it. This debt has been sold 2-3 times since then and is now listed with a balance of around $15k and origination date in 2013. Unsurprisingly, my credit union declined my recent auto loan application.

    Experian says this will fall off in March–great–but TransUnion says May and Equifax doesn’t provide a date. Counting 7.5 years from when this card originally went to collections, it should have fallen off July 2014. A guy from my credit union went through and disputed this with Experian and TransUnion (we couldn’t pull up Equifax) online, but didn’t provide a thorough explanation or documentation. The disputes didn’t work. My CU uses Experian, so the guy just told me to not bother anymore and apply in March, but this doesn’t help me shop for the best rate (shopping around with a score in the low- to mid-600s could be the difference between 12% and 5%).

    At this point, I’m wondering if I should wait or try something else to get these off of my reports sooner. The data on the existing Citibank entry proves my claim, I believe. Can I request validation of specific things from the collection agency? Would I be at risk for resetting the clock on the debt? Should I complain to the CFPB?

    I realize May isn’t far off, but I have no idea if Equifax will drop it by then and there’s the principle of the matter. I also just need a new car sooner rather than later as I have a lease ending which has already been extended once. Any advice?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It sounds to me like these should already be off your credit reports. Collection accounts remain for seven years +180 days from the date you fell behind with the original creditor (in this case Citibank), not 7 1/2 years from the date they were placed for collection. So it sounds to me as if the collection agency is not reporting the original date of delinquency to all the credit bureaus correctly. Either that or two of them aren’t picking it up.

      To protect your rights under federal law you should dispute these in writing with the credit reporting agencies that are reporting them. Make sure you keep proof of your dispute; most consumer law attorneys I talk with recommend you do it by certified mail.

      If they are not removed, or if you have already disputed them this way and they have not been removed, you can talk with a consumer law attorney. You may have a case for credit damage given that you are unable to get a car loan at the best rate due to these accounts. Your other option would be to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Will you let us know what happens?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It means there is one account that is showing a late payment, or a collection account/judgment or something similar. I assume you are looking at your credit score. If you don’t have the underlying report I suggest you get that to see what’s on there. Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Hard credit inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, but most scoring models include only those from the past 12 months. You can see the credit inquiries on your credit reports.
    Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • http://blog.credit.com/ Kali Geldis

    Hi Roger —

    Great question.

    It’s all a matter of whether you’ve kept any U.S. accounts open and in good standing.

    Here’s an article that will hopefully answer some of your questions about re-establishing credit in the U.S.:


  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It’s actually Congress that wrote that law, not the FTC. And I imagine trying to get them to change it now would be nearly impossible! The good thing is that older information carries less weight in most scoring models provided current bills are paid on time.

  • ABA

    there are 9 inquiries on my credit card can you please tell me how lont they will be there 5 of them are from tmobile verizon sprint and 2 from sears

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Inquiries are reported for two years and have the most impact on your score in the most recent twelve months. You can find out how these inquiries are impacting your credit scores by getting your free credit score from Credit.com.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Hard inquiries generally cause a small, temporary drop in credit scores. You’ll find more information here:
    How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

  • dw

    My son just went to a dealership to buy a car. He had a credit rating of 710 at the time. They claimed they could get me a better rate than he could get himself. He said OK. He ust ran his credit report and found out that they ran 12 hard inquiries. His credit is now ruined….what does he do now?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It’s unlikely that your son’s has been ruined inquiries at an auto dealer. Here’s why: After 30 days pass, auto inquiries are grouped together in 45-day increments. This means you could have 100 different auto inquiries in a 45-day period, and your credit score would count them as one inquiry. This custom logic only applies to auto, mortgage and student loan inquiries, and was specifically designed to allow consumers to rate-shop for the best deal without being penalized for excessive inquiries.

      If your son’s credit score is now below 710, it might have fallen from the “good” to “fair” range. His best bet now is to work hard to rebuild his credit by repaying debts on time and using 25% or less of his credit limit on credit cards. For more on inquiries and credit scores, see Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your History of Searching for Credit.

      • KK

        Last year I bought a truck and shopped at 2 dealerships, Well the hit me with 15 different bank hard inquiries and are not lumped as one inquiry on my credit. My score dropped quit a bit.

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  • eric

    At what point does the late payment nolonger effect my credit score? some places say the full 7 years, others say 12 months, most say 24 months. what would you say?

    • Deanna Templeton

      This is a good question, Eric. Most negative information remains in your credit report for 7 years and as long as it’s in your credit report, it *will* have an impact on your credit scores. (For more on how long negative information remains in your credit report, read: How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?)

      However, the older the information gets the less impact it will have. To give you a little more perspective, credit scoring models place more emphasis on your credit patterns in the most recent 24 months. This means any negative information that’s occurred in the last 2 years will hurt you much more than older information. They key is to offset the negative damage by adding new, positive payment information to your credit reports. If you’d like to learn more about improving your credit scores and rebuilding from past credit problems, here are a few excellent resources to get you started:

       • Rebuilding Your Credit
       • 11 Tips to Rebuild Your Credit

    • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

      Many banks use late payments records for keeping track of forgiveness. Most banks will allow you to take a vacation month off your mortgage (skip a payment). There are rules for it. You have to ask your banker if they can help. It might put you into a higher credit bracket.

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  • Joe

    There is a judgment on my credit report/public record that I did not know until now. The filing data: 8/2008. Account status: unknow. when I searched the case index number at NYcourt.gov, it shows status: disposed.
    What is “disposed” mean? Can I request CRA to remove it? If yes, how?

    Thank you.

    • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=41063359&trk=tab_pro Lee

      A judgement can be removed after 10-years. You can also write a better reason using your own words about why the loan was disposed & whom paid it.

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Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team