FAQ: Explain “Date of First Delinquency”

Date of First Delinquency

Date of first delinquency

The Debt of the Dead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most common questions I am asked is Why should I be concerned about the Date of First Delinquency?  The date of first delinquency is critical to measuring the life cycle of the negative entry on the credit report.  The date on which you miss your first payment is the beginning of the time period after which the debt must be deleted.  The date of first delinquency starts the clock on eventual expungement.  It was the date of first delinquency that started the clock on eventual expungement, not the last delinquency just before it went into collections.  Collectors have 90 days to report the Date of First Delinquency to the credit reporting agencies.  This time frame is based on their own industry regulations as outlined in their own Credit Reporting Source Code.

Debt Aging Process

It is well known that most negative entries on credit reports must be expunged after a 7 year period. Readers of my book are familiar with the exceptions to this rule including, but not limited to, federal tax liens, bankruptcies, unpaid child support, punitive damages and more.
Watch out for re-aging of accounts. The 7 year period begins 180 days after  the first day you are late.  Most of the time credit reporting agencies delete it after 7 years without regard to the 180 days.  If you get a letter from a collection company 2 years later regarding that debt you are already 2 years into the 7 year period and you must be alert to this when you examine your report.  Credit reporting agencies routinely use the date the collector sends in the claim as the beginning of the debt clock towards expungement.  Write them and inform them of the true date of first delinquency.  It can make a difference of several years.

This is one of the most frequent sources of error and misinformation. Also don’t believe any of these debt collecting jackals that tell you that partial payments re-age the debt and restart the 7 year period.  That is a lie to try to squeeze the whole payment out of you at once. Partial payments don’t do that. The 7 year period doesn’t technically begin until 180 days after the date of first delinquency but the 7 year period is usually honored.    The partial payment does freshen up the debt to the computer’s algorithm which gives the entry more negative impact.

Age diminishes debt’s power to hurt

As the debt that shows on your credit report ages, its negative effect on your score diminishes.  Older debt is considered less predictive of future defaults.  It’s not the amount of the debt that hurts you.  The credit scoring people see the fact that the collection happened at all as far more important than the sum of money claimed.  Alas there doesn’t seem to be any daylight showing for legal changes that would lead to shifting the burden of proof on the consumer to “presumed innocent.”  “Presumed guilty” is the way it now stands with the current system.

Bottom line: Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom from credit score woes.

Experian Gives Debt’s Purge Date

Experian is the most conscientious of the big 3 credit reporting agencies at giving consumers the date on which the negative information will be deleted from the report.  If the date of first delinquency doesn’t show on your credit report that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not present in code.  Don’t take any chances on this .  Write a letter of objection to make sure the entry of the purge date has not been overlooked.  Credit Reporting Agencies are legally required to show all information reported to them but don’t always comply.

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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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