What Does a Black Mark Mean on a Credit Report?

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Understand your credit report.
Understand your credit report. (Image: Surprised businessman reading report isolated image by Laser from Fotolia.com)

Your credit report can be a scary read. Seeing how much you owe all at once is bad enough, but trying to figure out all the special codes, such as a black mark, can make it even more frustrating.

Definition

A black mark may appear on a credit report if a payment on an account is over 30 days late, you default on a loan, file for bankruptcy, don't pay taxes, have a judgment filed against you, or have an account go to a collection agency.

Multiple Black Marks

You can have more than one black mark on a single account (depending on how late the payment is) and multiple black marks on your overall credit report (for multiple delinquent accounts).

Avoiding Black Marks

A creditor may not send information that would add a black mark to your credit report to the credit reporting agencies. However, this is rare, so the only sure way to avoid getting black marks on your credit report is by making payments on time and keeping up with who and what you owe.

Impact

Having black marks on your credit report can prevent you from getting additional credit and loans for cars and houses. Also, potential employers may check your credit report before they consider hiring you. Black marks might indicate you're not be reliable or organized.

Resolution

It takes time and money to wipe away black marks on your credit report. On-time payments made consistently for six months to a year will help the accounts with past-due payments, but if you have accounts that have fallen to a collection agency or delinquent loans, you should work with the creditors and lenders to rectify those quickly.

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