This post originally appeared March 22, 2018 on CreditCards.com as “Can decades of excellent credit disappear from my report?“
By Barry Paperno
Dear Speaking of Credit,
I’m 57. I’ve had credit since I was 18. Car loans. Mortgage. Credit cards. Personal loans. Business loans. Always had excellent credit.
About 10 years ago I paid everything in full. Stopped using credit cards, and pay cash for everything. I have no debt.
I recently went to get a new vehicle and they said I have a zero score. They then showed me my credit reports, and all three had nothing on them. It was like my entire credit history had been erased.
So now I’m debt free, need a loan, and no one will touch me. What happened to 40 years of credit? How do I fix this as quickly as possible?
I see offers of secured cards – but is that the best route, and is it safe? I would greatly appreciate any info or help you could give me on this subject. Even my home loan paid off early is gone. Very perplexing. Thank you. – Robert
Perplexing is as good a way as any to describe the feeling of waking up one day to find that 40 years of credit history have gone missing.
And though it might feel like your credit just suddenly disappeared when you weren’t looking, what you’re witnessing is the most likely result of a gradual process in which “old” information is removed from credit bureau files little by little over time.
To help you work your way out of this jam, let’s take a look at how long cards and loans remain on credit reports, how long they continue to affect credit scores once paid off and closed, and lastly, what you can do to once again be able to obtain financing when you need it.
But there’s a catch. The remedies to your dilemma all require returning to that world of creditors and credit bureaus you left behind more than 10 years ago.
There’s simply no other way, since few lenders will loan to you without some track record. So, if you’re willing to jump back in the water, read on.