Credit Card Statute Of Limitations By State

Credit Card Statute Of Limitations By State

What is a Statute of Limitations?

Debt collectors and creditors only have a certain timeframe to sue you for unpaid credit card bills. The statute of limitations protects you. Debt collectors and creditors cannot sue you after the evidence has disappeared. Debts that have passed their statute of limitations are called time-barred debts. This is why, if you have unpaid credit card debt, you should know your state’s statute of limitations. For an in-depth look at statute of limitations, check out the article to learn everything you need to know about credit card statute of limitations. Below is more information about the statute of limitations by state.

Difference in Statute of Limitations by State and Individual

State laws determine the statute of limitations on credit card debit. Therefore, you should check out the statute of limitations for your particular state. Our state by state listing below is a great starting point. When looking at your specific state laws, you should understand that many state laws and codes don’t exactly use the word “credit cards” or “credit card agreements.” You should look for phrases like “written contracts” or “open accounts.”

Another important thing to consider is that legislation can change these state laws. Amendments, recent court rulings, and different applications of the law are all natural results of the law-making process. That’s one of the reasons why you should read the state laws with an open mind. Your interpretation of your state law may not be the one that’s actually practiced. This is why it’s important to consult a professional.

Judges, in particular, may interpret state laws differently from each other. On top of that, those court rulings may be overturned. When considering your own case, you should know that your particular judge may rule on your case based on where you live or where the card issue is located. Therefore, it’s important to know your state’s statute of limitation laws.

A Note on Our Listing Of Statute Of Limitations By State

Below is a state by state listing of open-ended accounts, written contracts, and oral contracts. Read more about a closer look on how these different types of debts can affect you. The table below is for informational purposes only and will be a great starting point in researching the statute of limitations for your particular date. Please double-check your current state laws and rulings by going to a local law library, contacting your state consumer protection agency, or doing some research on the internet. This may also be a good time to consult a lawyer or reputable credit repair company.

State by State Listing

StateCredit Card AccountsWritten contractsOral Contracts
Alabama3 years3 years6 years
Alaska3 years3 years6 years
Arizona6 years6 years3 years
Arkansas5 years5 years3 years
California4 years4 years2 years
Colorado6 years6 years6 years
Connecticut6 years6 years3 years
Washington, D.C.3 years3 years3 years
Delaware3 years3 years3 years
Florida5 years5 years4 years
Georgia6 years6 years4 years
Hawaii6 years6 years6 years
Idaho5 years5 years4 years
Illinois5 years10 years5 years
Indiana6 years10 years6 years
Iowa10 years10 years5 years
Kansas3 years3 years3 years
Kentucky5 or 15 years15 years5 years
Louisiana3 years3 years10 years
Maine6 years6 years6 years
Maryland3 years3 years3 years
Massachusetts6 years6 years6 years
Michigan6 years6 years6 years
Minnesota6 years6 years6 years
Mississippi3 years3 years3 years
Missouri5 years5 years5 years
Montana8 years8 years5 years
Nebraska4 years4 years4 years
Nevada4 years4 years4 years
New Hampshire3 years3 years3 years
New Jersey6 years6 years6 years
New Mexico4 years4 years4 years
New York6 years6 years6 years
North Carolina3 years3 years3 years
North Dakota6 years6 years6 years
Ohio6 years6 years6 years
Oklahoma5 years5 years3 years
Oregon6 years6 years6 years
Pennsylvania4 years4 years4 years
Rhode Island10 years10 years10 years
South Carolina3 years10 years10 years
South Dakota6 years6 years3 years
Tennessee6 years6 years6 years
Texas4 years4 years4 years
Utah6 years6 years4 years
Vermont6 years5 years5 years
Virginia3 years6 years6 years
Washington6 years6 years6 years
West Virginia10 years10 years10 years
Wisconsin6 years6 years6 years
Wyoming8 years10 years8 years
Tennessee6 years6 years6 years
Texas4 years4 years4 years
Utah6 years6 years4 years
Vermont6 years5 years5 years
Virginia3 years6 years6 years
Washington6 years6 years6 years
West Virginia10 years10 years10 years
Wisconsin6 years6 years6 years
Wyoming8 years10 years8 years

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Statute of Limitations

Credit Card Statute of Limitations FAQs

Credit Card Statute of Limitations FAQs

What does it mean to have a statute of limitations on my debt?

A credit card statute of limitations is the limited time creditors and debt collectors have in order to file a lawsuit to collect their debt.

When does the statute of limitations period begin?

Generally speaking, the credit card statute of limitations begins from when the payment was due. For open-end accounts like credit cards, the statute of limitations begins starting from the due date of the first payment. It may vary by state.

How do you calculate when the credit card statute of limitations has expired?

To find out the deadline for creditors and debt collectors to file suit on a debt, simply add the number of years of the statute to the start time.

Does the credit card statute of limitations eliminate my debt?

No, the statute of limitations only limits what creditors and collection agencies can legally do through the courts after a certain period of time.

Does the statute of limitations eliminate what’s in my credit report?

No. The statute of limitations and the length of time a debt staying on a credit report are not the same thing. A bankruptcy, for example, will remain on a credit report for 10 years regardless of what the statute of limitations is.

Even if a credit card statute of limitations has expired, can a court still rule against me?

Yes. It’s up to you to raise the defense that your debt is older than the statute of limitations. You must add this to your defense against the lawsuit. If you can prove this, you won’t have to pay the debt.

Can debt collectors still attempt to collect the debt after the statute of limitation expires?

Yes. A debt collector can still ask for voluntary payment of an expired debt, even though you cannot be forced by the law to pay the debt. In fact, some may use aggressive tactics such as tricking debtors into acknowledging their debts, which starts the countdown for the statute of limitations to begin again.

So, what should I do when a debt collector calls me for an old debt?

Some experts believe that you should simply ignore calls about ancient debts. You can send them a letter saying that you don’t recognize the debt or to ask them to verify the debt. The main thing to remember is to not say or do anything, whether it’s on the phone or in a letter, which in any way, acknowledges you owe the debt. This also includes making a small payment.  In some states, doing so may revive or extend the statute of limitations.

Are there any laws to help me out?

Yes, there is a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It basically says that debt collectors cannot threaten you with legal action on time-barred debt or debt where the statute of limitations has ended. If the creditor or debt collector knows that the statute of limitations has passed and still sues you, they may have violated the FDPCA. If you’re unsure whether the statute of limitations has passed, you can ask the debt collector, who is required by the FDPCA, to tell you the truth.

Should I know what type of legal debt I have?

Yes, definitely. Your statute of limitation is partially determined by the type of debt you have. There are 4 types of legal debt agreements: a written contract, an oral contract, a promissory note, and credit accounts. A written contract means that you agree to pay on a loan under the terms written in a document that you and your debtor have signed.

Like a written contract, an oral contract means you agree to pay back the money loaned to you by someone. However, this contract is verbal. Verbal contracts are legal but tougher to prove in court.

You also want to determine whether it’s a credit account, and if so, is it open-end or closed-end credit? Open-ended accounts are revolving lines of credit which generally means that you can use it repeatedly. Your payments will vary based on how much credit you’ve used within a particular period of time.

Closed-end credit is generally a single transaction with the number and amount of payments fixed. A good example would be a house or car.

What do the differences between open-end and closed-end credit have to do with the statute of limitations?

A lot actually. The statute of limitations for open-end and closed-end accounts are often different. The statute of limitation for an open-end account is not always clear. There are several states with a unique statute of limitations applied to credit card accounts.

Furthermore, in order get a longer statute of limitations, many creditors try to characterize a closed-end account as open-end. Some creditors may also do this to get away from providing more detailed disclosures needed for closed-end credit.

Is there are a difference between waiving, extending, and reviving the statute of limitations on a debt?

Yes, there are crucial differences between the three especially in terms of how you can be tricked into paying on debt where the statute of limitations has passed. Waiving the statute of limitations on a debt means you give up the legal right use that defense later on. The law makes it hard to accidentally waive your statute of limitations by accident. A court will only uphold the waiver if you knew what you were doing when you waived your statute of limitations on the debt. If you think you’ve waived your statute of limitations, you should still raise that as a defense and force the creditor to prove that you waived it.

Lengthening the statute for a period of time stops the clock, of which there can be multiple reasons. One reason would be having an agreement with the collector and extending your time to pay the debt.

Reviving the statute of limitations basically means you’re starting the entire period again. In some states, making a partial payment or acknowledging a debt you haven’t been paying may cause the statute of limitation to revive. In other states, partial payments just extend it rather than reviving it. You can also revive it through a new promise of making payments. In many states, the promise can be oral while in some, it must be in writing.

Where can I go to learn more about my credit card statute of limitations?

Since the credit card statute of limitations on debt is set by the states, it will depend on what your state law says and what type of debt you have.

You can also research your state laws by going to a local law library, contacting your state consumer protection agency, or doing some research on the internet. This may also be a good time to consult a lawyer. A reputable credit repair company may also help you to fix your bad credit history.

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How to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

How to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is all to common. Most than 45% of Americans carry a balance every month. This is even after knowing that this balance will eventually come back with a vengeance. A cardholder who owes $15,956 (the average debt per household) will need to pay $11,000 in interest if only the minimum due is paid each month. This is why it’s extremely financially savvy to get rid of credit card debt.

Life can throw many unexpected events. Some people get into debt after losing a job or getting very ill. Regardless of the cause, hopefully you are now in a place where you are ready to tackle ridding yourself of this financial burden. This will ultimately save thousands of dollars in interest fees. Here are the 5 steps to create a plan to get rid of credit card debt.

1. Budget your expenses and make sure you live within your means.

This is an obvious one, but it still is amazing the number of people that try to eliminate their credit card debt without having any accounting in place to figure out where their money goes versus how much they bring in.

By ensuring that this step is done, you are confident that you won’t increase your credit card debt month over month. If after this budget exercise, that’s the case, you’ll have to figure out how to decrease your costs. Whether it’s eating out less often or something more drastic like moving into a lower rent location, you will need to make these changes in your life before you can move forward with eliminating your credit card debt.

To learn more about budgeting, check out our guide on How to Budget Your Money.

2. Pay off one card at a time, from highest to lowest interest rate.

If you are having trouble paying off multiple cards, then rather than trying to pay them off evenly, you will pay less in interest if you try to tackle paying off the card with the highest interest rate first. And then move on to the next one from there.

A bonus of doing this approach is that you will feel the momentum at having paid off one card, then the next, and then the next. There will be a satisfaction at having a reduced number of cards carrying a balance month-over-month.

3. Ask if you can get a lower interest rate from your creditors.

It never hurts to ask. One phone call to your credit card issuer often allows you to have a lower interest rate. This typically works better if you have a good credit score already (730 or higher). It’s even better if you are also a long-term customer that typically makes payments on time. Still, it may be worth it to try even if you don’t meet these requirements. Even a decrease or a percentage point or two can add up to hundreds of dollars saved in interest per year.

4. Use a peer-to-peer lender.

Using a peer-to-peer lender means that you’ll borrow money from another service, such as or Then, use this borrowed money to pay off your credit cards and get rid of your credit card debt. Then, you’ll just have one loan with an interest rate that is typically around 20% to 30% lower than most credit cards. This can make it easier to track how much you need to pay off per month and also save on interest payments.

5. Make two minimum payments each month.

Maybe it’s easier for you to make the minimum payment on your cards after your paycheck arrives every other week. It’s far better to make two minimum payments each month as opposed to one. For example, if you charged $2,000 on a card with a 17% interest rate and only make the minimum monthly payment, it would take 21 years to pay off the entire balance. But if instead you made an additional minimum payment every month, it would only take 3 years. Every bit counts, even if it doesn’t seem like it. So, consider making payments not just once but twice a month to your credit cards.