What is a default on my credit file?

If you have an overdue bill for 60 days or more, it'll leave a default on your credit report. Learn more in this guide.


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A default is an example of a negative credit listing that can hurt your credit score. Defaults can remain on your file for five years and could impact your chances of approval when applying for credit cards or loans.

You can use this guide to learn what is considered a default and understand the details that will be listed on your credit report.

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What is a default?

A default is any consumer credit account that is overdue by more than 60 days where you owe more than $150. This is also known as an overdue debt. This could include a credit card, personal loan, phone or utility bill. If the default is less than $150 or if it has been overdue less than 60 days, it cannot be listed on your credit file. This doesn't apply to commercial credit reports, where the minimum default amount is $100.

Can credit providers automatically list a default at the end of the 60-day period?

No, credit providers must follow a process to have the default listed on your credit file. The credit provider must send you two separate notices to your last known address (physical or email address) before it can give a credit reporting body details regarding a default. The address the provider will use should be how it usually contacts you. Here's what you can expect from the notices:

  • The first notice. You'll be informed your payment is overdue and you'll be requested to pay the overdue amount. You'll receive this notice as soon as the default becomes overdue.
  • The second notice. You'll be informed that if you don't pay the outstanding amount the credit provider will inform a credit reporting body and have the default listed. The credit provider needs to wait 30 days after sending the first notice to send this notice.

After issuing you the second notice you'll have 14 days before the default is listed on your report.

What will be listed on your credit report?

The credit provider will list the following information on your credit file in relation to your default:

  1. The credit provider and the type of account it was
  2. The amount listed as a default
  3. The date the listing is due to come off your report

You can see an example of how defaults are listed below:

credit report default

Can a default listing on your credit report change?

Once a default is listed, the amount can't be changed to reflect recent payments or missed payments. If you miss a payment, it will be listed as a separate default.

However, the listing can be updated to show accruing interest and fees. If you pay the full defaulted amount the credit provider needs to inform the credit reporting body who will update the listing to "paid".

What if a lender can't get in contact with me about a default?

If the credit provider cannot get in contact with you at your last known address in order to get the default paid this is no longer referred to as a default. It will be listed on your file as a serious credit infringement and it will remain there for seven years. Once you pay the outstanding amount you can have the listing reverted to a default listing where it will remain on your credit file for five years.

This is why it's important to ensure that you contact your lender to update your contact information and residential address if it changes.

Can a credit provider list an old default on my report?

Credit providers need to abide by certain time regulations to have defaults and other listings legally reported on credit reports. In terms of defaults, a credit provider cannot wait more than 90 days after issuing you with the second notice to have the default listed on your credit file. If it doesn't list it within this time, it's required to send you another notice telling you it will list your default on your credit report, and then wait another 14 days to list it.

Statute barred debts are also not allowed to be listed on your credit file. These are debts that credit providers can no longer legally demand that you pay.

If you do have a default on your credit report, you can still demonstrate other positive payments behaviours (paying your future bills on time and consolidating debts) to improve your credit score. To get started, you can order a free copy of your credit report and credit score through Finder. Then you can see our guide to credit repair to get your finances under control.

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12 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    GrantJanuary 7, 2019

    I would like to know an estimate of how many points my credit score might go up once my only default of $898 is removed from my credit score? Right now my score is at 445 was hoping to see a big jump seeing it’s being removed in 10 days.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJanuary 8, 2019Staff

      Hello Grant,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Defaults are a serious form of negative marker, you are likely to see an improvement in your score once it has been removed, provided there are not more serious negative markers. Removing one default from your Credit Report won’t make much of a difference if you have additional defaults remaining. Only when all negative markers on your credit file have been removed, you will you begin to see any real improvement in your credit score.

      Please note that we have no specific number on how much will be added to your score once it’s removed. You may refer to our guide on how to improve credit score here. Please also see how your score is changed here.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


    Default Gravatar
    AlexMay 30, 2018

    A company has taken 2 1/2 years to put a default onto my account, is this allowed? They never even informed me that they were going to do it.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMay 31, 2018Staff

      Hello Alex,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can go through this page for a guide on how to remove the defaults on your file.

      If you feel that there’s a mistake on your credit file, you may contact your lender. You can also file a request for an investigation to the credit reporting agency. They need to determine if these defaults could really be taken out. Each credit bureau has their own standard process on doing this so it may vary per credit reporting agency.

      Additionally, you may then consult a credit repair specialist for advice on how to go about removing the default. I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    leahMarch 20, 2018

    My son just found out after going for a loan that he had an account opened in his name by someone else his father. He now has a default on his credit history and cannot get a loan. If we pay the outstanding amount will he be able to get a loan with the default still being their. We will try to fight it.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Leah,

      Thanks for your question.

      Defaults remain in your file for 5 years, even if you already repaid it. However, it’s status will be changed to “paid.”

      You mentioned that the loan was opened by someone else other than the credit report owner. In this case, your son may report this to the credit scoring bureau. Generally, you can remove any erroneous or fraudulent entry in your report, provided you are able to show proof. Alternatively, if your son doesn’t want to go through this process, there are still lenders that consider borrowers with low credit scores. You may check the available options on this page.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    AngieFebruary 4, 2018

    What credit reporting body does finder use?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayFebruary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Angie,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      The free credit score you’ll get through our page is generated by Equifax. If you like to get your free score, please click here.


    Default Gravatar
    MyoNovember 18, 2016

    Good morning,
    I would like to know how can made the payment of fees and charges and how to claim this bank cards? thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayNovember 18, 2016Staff

      Hi Myo,

      Thanks for your question.

      Credit card bills can be paid in many ways, depending on the credit card company. Also, not sure what you meant by “how to claim this bank card?” – if you could clarify or elaborate your question a little bit and specify which credit card you are referring to, we’d be able to provide you with a more comprehensive answer.

      Thanks and cheers,

    Default Gravatar
    nevilleOctober 24, 2016

    your pages require a drivers licence as identification even though your adds say a passport number is acceptable.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethOctober 24, 2016Staff

      Hi Rex,

      Apologies for the confusion. We are currently only accepting driver’s licences to verify your identity. Would you mind sending through which ad you were talking about so we can ensure the correct information is there?



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