Credit Card Debt Statute Of Limitation - What You Should Know


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Each state has a statute of limitations on old credit card debts. The statute of limitations refers to the period after which, creditors cannot sue you to collect the debt. The length of time is calculated from your last payment date or last activity date (this is when you last used the card).

Refer to the old debts statute of limitations chart , which details the statute of limitations by Oral Contracts, Promissory Notes, Written Contracts and Open-Ended Accounts. Note that the transient nature of state legislature requires you to verify the statute of limitations period with your State Attorney’s office. For more information go to

In the past 10 years, a growing trend has ensued, where aggressive debt collectors buy old debt accounts and actively pursue consumers to collect the debt, even though the statute of limitations has past. They purchase these accounts for pennies and hope that you will pay up. Even if, you pay $1 on the account - they make a good profit.

This is a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Some creditors even lie and say that the statute of limitations starts from the day that they purchased the debt account. These companies are so bold that some of them will threaten to sue you and in fact proceed with the court case – don’t give in. Others will harass you day and night, use profanity or promise to erase negative marks off your credit repot, if you send in a minimal payment.

If you find yourself in this situation here are a few tips on what to do:

  • Do not send in a payment - if the statute of limitations is past in your state. Doing so, will make your delinquency look recent. It will also give the debt collectors the idea that you are an easy target and they may attack you on other fronts.

  • Keep an eye on your credit report to make sure that they are not reporting negative information about you. Your old debt account should not be reflected on your credit report since the statute of limitations is past. If you find that they are reporting the information, take corrective action immediately and fix any errors.

  • If possible, ignore all contact with the debt collection agency. Do not accept their phone calls. If they send you notices in the mail, you will want to keep these as proof of their harassment.

  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act indicates that there are certain things that creditors cannot do in their attempt to collect debt. Go to for a list in plain speak. For a complete list, go to www.ftc. gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fdc.htm.

  • Verify the statute of limitations information with your State Attorney’s office and solicit further advice on how to navigate your situation.

    The author is the owner of the information-rich website - a “Drudge Report" of credit. The website offers free advice on how to rebuild credit and manage debt. The site also features numerous articles and news stories on credit reports, credit cards and bankruptcy.

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