Most of the companies you have debt with report your account to at least one of the three major credit bureaus each month. The major three bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These credit bureaus, or credit reporting agencies, have the task of collecting all your accounts and adding the details to your credit report. Years and years of accounts appear on your credit report, so your credit report could be a good place to go if you want to know about your debts.
What’s On Your Credit Report
Many details are usually listed for each of your accounts. These details generally include: the name of your creditor, a portion of your account number, the current balance, your credit limit or original loan amount, current monthly payment, the account status, and a list of any payments you’ve missed in the last seven years.
When you’re assessing your debt to come up with an attack plan, your credit report is typcially a great place to go because most, if not all, of your accounts and balances will be listed there. Note that creditors also have access to your credit report so they can know how much debt you have and whether you’re behind on all your debts or just the debt you have with them.
Negative details about your debt can only remain on your credit report for seven years. So, for example, if you made a late payment four years ago, that payment will disappear from your credit report in about three more years. Once this negative information is past seven years old, it can’t be on your credit report.
Debt Relief Solutions on Your Credit Report
Most debt relief solutions will appear on your credit report in some way. If you enroll in credit counseling, the creditor will report that your debt is being managed by a credit counseling agency or that it is part of a debt management plan. That note itself doesn’t affect your credit score, but it could scare future creditors away.
Debt settlement will also generally show on your credit report, usually as a comment that says something like “Settled in Full” or “Paid in Full for Less Than the Balance Due.” Debt settlement can affect your credit score.
Accounts included in a bankruptcy discharge will be noted on your credit report. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, longer than all other negative information. It’s important to keep this in mind as you consider all alternatives.
If you consolidate your debt, all the accounts you consolidate will have zero balances and the new consolidation loan will be added on your credit report. There’s no written note that you’ve consolidated your debt, though some creditors may be able to figure it out based on the account closures and new loan.