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Repossession is a scary word 😨. It conjures images of fast-talking repo men who show up at 6 am, knock on your door, and then use some kind of complicated cable apparatus to drag away whatever item they're taking back in exchange for money you don't have. And while there's nothing funny about that scenario (except maybe the 6 am part), it does raise the question: how long does a repo stay on your credit report? The answer depends on what type of loan you took out and what state you live in. But don't worry—we've got everything you need to know about repossessions below!
A Repossession Can Stay On Your Credit Report for Over 7 years!
If you've had a repo on your credit report for over 7 years, it's safe to say that you're doing something wrong. The longer a repossession stays on your credit report, the more negative impact they have on your score and insurance rates.
If you're ever wondering how long a repo will stay on your report or if there are any reasons why they might show up in the first place, here’s what we know:
They may show up because someone has been using that line of credit as collateral for some other debt (like student loans). This is called an "account transfer" and can happen when someone moves from one financial institution to another without paying off their old debts first—which means both accounts end up being charged off at once!
They may show up because you still have an outstanding balance on the account. If your car was repossessed without you making a payment on it for at least 60 days, then that's one thing—but if it's only been two or three months since your last payment, then there's a good chance that you're still paying off the loan.
They may show up because they were never removed from your credit report in the first place! If you've ever had a repo on your record and then paid off the balance—only to see it reappear later on—it's because you never formally closed out that old account. And that's where we come in! As someone who has had a repo on their report it isn't that fun, however there is a such thing as credit repair. What is this? well that's a topic for another time, you can explore more about this topic by clicking here
How does a repo affect my credit score?
How does a repo affect my credit score? 🤨
A repo can have a negative impact on your credit score, but only if it's reported to the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian & Equifax). If a car is repossessed by the lender and sold at auction, it will be removed from your credit report after seven years (or at least it might, the bureaus are not that nice). For example:
If you had a car repossessed in 2017 and sold at auction in 2018, the repo would be reported for two more years until 2020 because that's when it would fall off if there were no more liens.
If you had another car repossessed sometime during those two years (let's say 2020), this one would be removed from your report after 2021 since it was sold by then.
The impact on your credit score will depend on how much money you owe and the number of accounts that are in default. If you have a high balance (more than $5,000) on multiple delinquent accounts, then it's likely your credit score will be negatively affected by a repo.
However, if you have a lower balance and just one delinquent account, then it's unlikely to have much of an impact. Credit scores are based on the information in your credit report, which is often incomplete or inaccurate. If there's a repo listed as part of your report but it hasn't been reported by any bureaus yet, then it won't affect your score at all (at least we hope so...).
How to get a repo off your credit
You may be asking, "How do I get a repo off my credit report?" 🤔
If you've been evicted from your home, or if the vehicle that was repossessed has been sold, there's nothing you can do about it. But if the repossession was filed incorrectly or the item was never actually taken from you, there are steps you can take to get it off your credit report. Here's what you need to know:
First and foremost, don't ignore the repo! Ignoring will only cause more problems down the line. If this happens to be true of your situation and someone else is reporting an incorrect repo status on your credit report—more than likely because they did not properly follow protocol when filing for repossession—then start with contacting them directly (by phone). In many cases, this will resolve things right away without any further action needed on your part.*
If the repo company still refuses to remove the erroneous repo from your report, then you'll want to get in contact with us. This will be the only way you can really make sure that it gets removed. If you call the bureaus about it, all they're going to do is verify it (which is NOT what we want!). Generally speaking, this may take anywhere from 1 month (or even longer) depending on how the bureaus respond and whether or not they have any other information on file regarding this particular account.*
What are reasons I get a repo
Ok, so you've been late on a payment before 🤷, doesn't seem like a big deal, or maybe it is... Maybe you missed one because of an unexpected medical bill or job loss. Perhaps you had a change in circumstances that temporarily prevented you from keeping up with your payments—and if that's the case, then welcome to the club! You're not alone in being unable to pay your bills sometimes. But what happens when it becomes a pattern?
If there's a history of late payments on your credit report—and if they weren't caused by some kind of extenuating circumstance—then it could be considered that you don't pay your bills as agreed. This is often listed as "non-dischargeable debt" in bankruptcy proceedings and can show up as such on any type of loan application (mortgages included).
And it's not just your credit score that might suffer: If you've had a pattern of late payments in the past, there's a good chance you'll pay higher interest rates on any new loan. The reason for this is simple: When lenders see your credit report and see several accounts with late payments or defaults (which are similar), they know you're a riskier borrower. So they make you pay for that risk with higher interest rates. The good news is that this can be avoided if you're proactive about your credit score. If it's been damaged by a few late payments, then take steps to improve it—don't just sit there and let it simmer. Get in contact with us if you want your credit score to go from the low 500-600s to high 700s.
How to avoid getting a repo on your credit report
Now that we've explained how a repo can affect your credit report, let's talk about what you can do to avoid having one placed on your account at all.
First and foremost, pay your bills on time. It may seem like a no-brainer 🧠, but it may be tempting to skip paying a bill here and there or just make a payment late occasionally, those debts add up over time though. It's better to pay them early than to accrue too many late fees and other penalties that will negatively affect your score.
Keeping track of the amount of money left on each card is also important because it allows you to determine when it makes sense for you to use those cards again (like after making an initial purchase). The lower the balance on each card at any given point in time, the higher its score will be because it shows that someone has been responsible with their finances rather than just spending recklessly without regard for consequences (which would result in higher interest rates).
Overall, this is a common question for anyone who has had to deal with repos, but the answer isn't always what you'd expect. In some cases, you can get your car back and the repo will be removed from your report (almost) immediately. But in some other cases, you may need to wait up to 7 years before it goes away! If you're looking to get it removed from your report, go ahead and click here👀