Derogatory marks on credit reports

Learn what derogatory marks are, their causes and how to rebuild credit after getting one.

You may or may not have heard of derogatory marks in your credit reports. So, what are they? A derogatory mark or remark in your credit report is a negative item, such as a late payment or foreclosure. If a derogatory mark is listed in your credit reports, it can hurt your credit scores and may affect your chances of qualifying for things like credit cards, loans and mortgages. While most derogatory marks can stay on your credit reports for up to seven to 10 years, depending on the type of mark, their impact generally diminishes over time. 

Consistent responsible credit usage, such as on-time payments, could help you rebuild your credit, though. You can also review your credit reports for errors and dispute any incorrectly reported derogatory marks, which might improve your credit. Read on for more information about what derogatory marks are and how to rebuild credit after receiving one.

What are derogatory marks?

Derogatory marks are negative items in your credit reports. These items are typically on accounts that are 30 days or more past due or items that are a credit risk, like bankruptcy. They can hurt your credit scores and may also impact your ability to qualify for different types of credit.

Different types of derogatory marks

Derogatory marks likely will have a negative impact on your credit scores. But the exact impact of a new derogatory mark on your credit scores can depend on other information in your credit file. 

In general, people who already have good or excellent credit may experience a larger score drop from a new derogatory mark than someone who has poor credit. 

Here are examples of some of the common derogatory marks and what can cause them: 

  • Late payments typically appear on credit reports when an account is 30 days or more past due. 
  • Charge-offs happen when a creditor considers a debt a loss and closes an account, which generally occurs if an account is 180 days past due. 
  • Repossession might occur if you don’t make payments on a loan secured by property, like an auto loan, and the creditor takes possession of the property due to nonpayment. 
  • Foreclosure could be the result of not making payments on a mortgage—typically for a few months—and the lender taking ownership of the property. 
  • Bankruptcy filings occur when you file with a bankruptcy court for bankruptcy, like a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example.

Most of these derogatory marks will fall off your credit reports after seven years, according to VantageScore®. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcies can stay for 10 years. 

These derogatory marks won’t hurt your credit forever, though. The impact on your credit scores from a derogatory mark can diminish as time goes on, and responsible credit usage could help your scores. 

How derogatory marks can impact future finances

You may have trouble being approved for certain types of credit cards or loans if you have low credit scores because of derogatory marks on your credit reports. 

Credit scores aside, you may also find it difficult to qualify for certain types of financing if there are derogatory marks in your credit history. For example, you could have trouble getting a mortgage if you recently had a foreclosure or filed for bankruptcy. 

Rebuilding your credit after derogatory marks

A derogatory mark is a negative item on one of your credit reports, which is often the result of falling behind on bills. While rebuilding your credit can take time, you don’t have to sit around and wait. 

Taking an active approach to rebuilding your credit through responsible credit usage over time, like consistently making on-time payments, can help. 

You can also monitor your progress as you’re rebuilding credit. One way to monitor your credit is with CreditWise from Capital One. CreditWise gives you free access to your TransUnion® credit report and weekly VantageScore 3.0 credit score—without hurting your score. CreditWise is free and available to everyone—even if you don’t have a Capital One account.

You can also get free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Visit or call 877-322-8228 to learn more.

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We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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The information contained herein is shared for educational purposes only, and it does not provide a comprehensive list of all financial operations considerations or best practices.

Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it can be one accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.

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