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How long before debt is removed from your credit report?

In the UK, most debts stay on your credit file for six years from the date they are recorded, regardless of whether the debt is paid or not.

Do old unpaid debts affect my credit score?

Yes, old unpaid debts can affect your credit score in a few ways:

  • They usually start by being recorded as "missed payments" on your credit report. Missed payments can lower your credit score by up to 80 points.
  • If the lender closes your account because of repeated missed payments, this will be recorded as a "default". A default can take your credit score down by up to 350 points on the Experian scale (0 to 999).
  • If you don't pay the debt, you might be taken to court and receive a CCJ (County Court Judgment). This can knock off another 250 points.
  • And if you still can't pay, the court might send bailiffs to repossess your house or to take any valuables you might have. House repossessions, you guessed it, also hurt your credit score.

Do I still have to pay debts after they're removed from my credit report?

An old debt that is removed from your credit report isn't gone. It's just not visible to other lenders. But you still have to pay it – otherwise, you might be taken to court, which is visible on your credit report.

What about statute barred debts?

"Statute barred" means that a debt cannot be legally enforced through court action after a specific time period (usually six years) has passed since the debt was recorded.

In the UK, many kinds of unsecured debts can become statute barred:

  • personal loans,
  • payday loans,
  • credit cards,
  • store cards,
  • overdrafts,
  • benefit overpayments,
  • council tax arrears,
  • and utility arrears.

If your debt has become statute barred, you still need to pay it unless it's discharged.

Just because the creditor can't take you to court doesn't mean that they will stop trying to recover it. They might use debt collectors or other means.

However, if your debt is discharged, then it no longer legally exists, and the creditor has no further claim on the money owed. A debt is considered "discharged" when it has been fully repaid or otherwise legally resolved, like through bankruptcy or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).

In any case, once the six mark has passed, any kind of debt, regardless of whether they're statute-barred or discharged, will be gone from your credit report and will stop affecting your credit score.

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