debt

State statutes of limitations for old debts

Once a debt passes beyond the statute of limitation in your state, a debt collector no longer has the right to sue you for payment. You may still have a moral obligation to pay back an old, forgotten debt, but you can't be sued over it.

Any debt collector who threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the statute of limitation in your state is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The chart below offers a state-by-state roundup of statutes of limitations for delinquent debt. Credit cards are considered open accounts. For the best rates on credit cards, see our search engine. If you're being hassled about an old debt, the chart below is a great starting point and was accurate as of the date it was published here.

If you need legal assistance with a delinquent debt, visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and search for an attorney with expertise in debt collection in your area.

Statutes of limitations for each state (in number of years):
StateWritten contractsOral contractsPromissory notesOpen-ended accounts
(including credit cards)
Alabama3663
Alaska3633
Arizona6353
Arkansas5335
California4244
Colorado6666
Connecticut6366
Delaware3333
D.C.3333
Florida5454
Georgia6464 or 6**
Hawaii6666
Idaho5455
Illinois105105 or 10***
Indiana106106
Iowa105510
Kansas3333
Kentucky155155 or 15****
Louisiana310103
Maine6666
Maryland3363
Massachusetts6666
Michigan6666
Minnesota6666
Mississippi3333
Missouri5555
Montana8588
Nebraska4444
Nevada4444
New Hampshire3333
New Jersey6666
New Mexico4444
New York6666
North Carolina3353
North Dakota6666
Ohio6666
Oklahoma5353 or 5****
Oregon6666
Pennyslvania4444
Rhode Island10101010
South Carolina101033
South Dakota6366
Tennessee6666
Texas4444
Utah6464
Vermont5363
Virginia6656
Washington6366
West Virginia10101010
Wisconsin66106
Wyoming108108
** Georgia Court of Appeals came out with a decision on January 24, 2008 in Hill v. American Express that in Georgia the statute of limitations on a credit card is six years after the amount becomes due and payable.
*** An Illinois appeals court ruled on May 20, 2009, that the statute of limitations on a credit card debt without a written contract was 5 years.
**** State law doesn't specify the limitations on open accounts.
Source: Bankrate.com

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