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)
State: AlabamaWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: AlaskaWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: ArizonaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: ArkansasWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: CaliforniaWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 2Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: ColoradoWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: ConnecticutWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: DelawareWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: D.C.Written contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: FloridaWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: GeorgiaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 64 or 6**
State: HawaiiWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: IdahoWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: IllinoisWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 5Promissory notes: 105 or 10***
State: IndianaWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: IowaWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 5Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: KansasWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: KentuckyWritten contracts: 15Oral contracts: 5Promissory notes: 155 or 15****
State: LouisianaWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 10Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: MaineWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: MarylandWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: MassachusettsWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: MichiganWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: MinnesotaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: MississippiWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: MissouriWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 5Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: MontanaWritten contracts: 8Oral contracts: 5Promissory notes: 8Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 8
State: NebraskaWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: NevadaWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: New HampshireWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: New JerseyWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: New MexicoWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: New YorkWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: North CarolinaWritten contracts: 3Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: North DakotaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: OhioWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: OklahomaWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 53 or 5****
State: OregonWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: PennyslvaniaWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Rhode IslandWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 10Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: South CarolinaWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 10Promissory notes: 3Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: South DakotaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: TennesseeWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: TexasWritten contracts: 4Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 4Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: UtahWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 4Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: VermontWritten contracts: 5Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: VirginiaWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 5Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: WashingtonWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 3Promissory notes: 6Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: West VirginiaWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 10Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: WisconsinWritten contracts: 6Oral contracts: 6Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: WyomingWritten contracts: 10Oral contracts: 8Promissory notes: 10Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 8

** 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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