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How long will unpaid bad debt stay on my credit report?

Chris Torney, the personal finance editor of The Express answers this question.

Q: How long will an unpaid bad debt stay on my credit report?

A: The short answer is six years. This applies to unsecured unpaid debts such as loans and credit cards for borrowers in England and Wales – in Scotland the limit is five years.

But the debt will only be wiped from your credit file – known as being “statute barred” in England and Wales, or “extinguished” in Scotland – if you haven’t made any repayments on that debt, or admitted liability for it, within that six- (or five-) year period.

In theory, after that time has elapsed, the debt will no longer show up on your credit record, so it won’t harm your chances of borrowing.

Mortgage debts can stay on your file for longer – 12 years in England and Wales, and up to 20 years in Scotland.

Read more on how to get a better grade on your credit report.


Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris