20 Negative Items on Your Credit Report Defined


If you have bad credit, it’s because of negative items on your credit report. This article goes over each of these negative items and how they will appear.


A bankruptcy refers to either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out all of your existing debt, while a Chapter 13 is a personal reorganization of debt arranged through bankruptcy court. A bankruptcy will appear under public records and can remain on your credit report for 10 years.

Charge Off

A charge off occurs when an account is more than 180 days past due and the lending institution decides to “write off” the debt as a loss and take the tax benefits. However, just because the bank gets a tax credit doesn’t mean you don’t owe the debt and it also doesn’t mean the debt won’t be sent to a collection agency. A charge off will appear as a notation on an existing account.


A collection is a debt that has been sold or assigned to a third party debt collector or debt buyer. The collection agency attempts to recover the debt through letters or phone calls, or sometimes court.

Civil Claim

A civil claim is a judgment that can appear on your credit report. A judgment can arise from an unpaid debt and is the result of being sued by a third party to recover money.    A civil claim judgment will appear under public records.


A foreclosure occurs when a consumer defaults on a mortgage and the bank repossesses the property secured by the loan. A foreclosure notation is placed on the underlying mortgage account on your credit report.

Incl. in Bankruptcy

This stands for “Included in Bankruptcy”. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all debts are forgiven, but they are not erased from your credit report: this notation is added at the end of each of the accounts included in the bankruptcy in place of the account payment history. This is actually less damaging on your credit as it takes the place of late pays on reported on the account.


See Civil Claim.

30-day Late Payment

A 30-day late payment means that you did not make a payment for 30 days past the due date on your last statement. A 30-day late can appear as part of the pay history on an account. You can also see a notation of “Paid – Was 30 days late” on paid accounts if the account history included late pays.  You can continue to see 30-day late payments reported if you only make a partial payment on the overdue debt.   To prevent further late payments from accumulating, you must pay the full amount due.

60-day Late Payment

A 60-day late payment will appear as part of the pay history if a payment goes more than 60 days past the payment due date. You can also see a notation of “Paid – Was 60 days late” on paid accounts if the account history included late pays of 60 days. Like 30-day late pays, if you only make a partial payment, the 60-day late payment will continue to stack up.

90-day Late Payment

As you’ve probably guessed, a 90-day late pay means that you’ve not made a payment for more than 90 days from the due date on your statement. As with 30- and 60-day late pays, you can expect to continue to rack up late pay notations if a partial payment is made and you will also see past 90-day late notations on paid accounts. While a 30- or 60-day late is most damaging in the first two years, 90-day late payment are damaging for a full 7 years.

120+day Late Payment

Like its 30-day, 60-day and 90-day late pay cousins, these late notations appear on accounts when they are past due, in this case, 120 or more days. In addition to 120 days late payment, you may also see 150 or 180-day late payment. All the rules of 30-, 60- and 90- days late apply in regards to partial payments and past late notations on paid accounts. In addition, once a credit card account is more than 120 days late, it is in danger of being charged off.


A lien is placed on your credit report when you fail to pay state or federal taxes. This tax lien will appear under public records and will remain on your credit report indefinitely if it goes unpaid.


Some credit reports will separate the negative items from the positive ones into separate sections, making it easy to see what items might benefit from some credit repair.

Partial Payment

A partial payment will not appear on your credit report, but making only a partial payment on an account can cause the account to garner a 30-day late pay notation. Only a timely full payment is regarded as an on-time payment.


Repossession occurs when a loan is secured by a piece of real property, most likely an automobile, and a consumer defaults on the loan. The secured property is then taken back and the lender writes off the loan. At this point, repossession is noted on the account as the status of the loan.

Settlement Accepted

This occurs when a lending institution has accepted less money than owed and has regarded it as payment in full. The account is not marked as paid in full, but the status will be updated with this notation.   This status is less damaging to your credit score than a charge-off.

Acct in Credit Counseling

For consumers buried in credit card debt, one of the options is Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS). These programs will negotiate reduced payments and interest rates with banks to help a consumer completely pay off the debts more quickly than if they had just paid as originally agreed per the credit card contract. Banks agreeing to modified payments and interest may then place this notation on an account that has been negotiated.


Garnishment notations are not placed on a consumer’s credit report. However, a garnishment arises from an unpaid judgment, and judgments are placed on a consumer report under public records. See Civil Claim.

Late Payment

The term “Late Payment” will not appear on your credit report, but 30-day, 60-day, 90-day and 120+-day late payment will appear on your credit report. See descriptions of these late payments above.


An unknown notation “UNK” on an account means that the MOP (manner of payment) is zero or blank for that month. An unknown notation is not necessarily negative, but it could be “hiding” on-time payments which could help your score if this information is inaccurate and you had in fact been making on time payments.


An inquiry is not really considered a negative item, but it can bring down your score by as much as 5 points a piece. An inquiry occurs when you apply for new credit, and is usually placed in its own section on your credit report.

Posted in Credit 101
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