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Collections have a negative effect on your credit score. The most recent two years are the most important where your credit score is concerned. The older a collection is, the less it hurts you. Collections remain on your credit report for seven years past the date of delinquency. When an account goes into collections, the number of points your score drops depends on dozens of factors unique to you. The higher your score, the more it can fall. A 90-day late account may swipe 50 points from someone with excellent credit but only 10 points from someone who was already in the lowest tier.

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Negative Items

Charge-offs have a severely negative impact on your credit, and like most other negative items can stay on your credit reports for seven years. When creditors see a charge off on your credit reports, they are more likely to deny any new applications for loans or lines of credit because they see you as a financial risk.

Inaccurate Information

While the act of disputing information on your report has no impact on credit scores, any change to the information in your credit report as a result of the dispute could potentially cause an increase or decrease in scores. For example, if you dispute negative information such as a late payment or charge off and it is removed as a result of your dispute, your credit scores may increase.

Late Payments

On-time payments are the biggest factor affecting your credit score, so missing a payment can sting. If you have otherwise spotless credit, a payment that’s more than 30 days past due can knock as many as 100 points off your credit score. If your score is already low, it won’t hurt it as much but will still do damage.


While bankruptcy may help you erase or pay off past debts, those accounts will not disappear from your credit report. All bankruptcy-related accounts will remain on your credit report and affect your credit score for seven to 10 years, although their impact will lessen over time.


It’s far better to avoid repossession than to deal with its aftermath. The most important step you can take if you’re worried about or are in the midst of repossession is to communicate with your lender. As soon as you realize you’re going to have trouble making your car payment, take a few proactive steps. Try to figure out why this is happening and how you might resolve your difficulies.

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In general, credit inquiries have a small impact on your FICO Scores. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO Scores. For perspective, the full range for FICO Scores is 300-850. Inquiries can have a greater impact if you have few accounts or short credit history.

Child Support

Child support affects your credit score negatively if you have delinquent payments. Late or delinquent child support payments can be turned over to debt collectors or a collections agency just like any other debt. When that happens, the late payments will be recorded on your credit score.

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