checking for defaults on credit report

What is a default on my credit file?

You should always work towards good credit, but it's also important to understand bad credit. Here's what you need to know about defaults.

"Bad credit" is a large umbrella and covers several different kinds of negative listings that can be on your credit file. A default is just one kind of bad credit listing. Defaults will generally remain on your file for five years and place you in the bad credit basket for lenders.

This guide will take you through what type of accounts you can default on, the different types of defaults that exist, how default listings can change on your file and everything else you need to know about these listings in this guide.

Free credit score & report

Lenders know your credit score, so why shouldn't you?

Get your credit score and comprehensive report now!

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 can be personal loans, phone bills or even utility bills. 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.

Keep in mind this doesn't apply to commercial credit files, where the minimum default amount is $100.

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

No, there's a process that credit providers must follow in order to have the default listed on your credit file. The credit provider needs to 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.

  • 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:

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

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?

As outlined above, a lender needs to send you to notices before it can list a default on your credit file. These notices should be sent in the way your credit provider normally contacts you, whether it be through email or by mail to your physical address. If no payment is received after those 60 days the credit provider can have the default listed after 14 days.

However, 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.

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

Credit providers need to abide by certain time regulations in order to have defaults and other listings legally reported on credit files. 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.

Now you have a better understanding of how defaults affect your credit file (and credit score) you can check both for free.

Picture: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

10 Responses

  1. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 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.


  2. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMarch 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.


  3. Default Gravatar
    AngieFebruary 4, 2018

    What credit reporting body does finder use?

    • finder 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.


  4. 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

    • finder 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,

  5. Default Gravatar
    nevilleOctober 24, 2016

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

    • finder 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?



Ask a question
Go to site