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. Bankrate can help you find the best rates on credit cards. 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)

State Written contracts Oral contracts Promissory notes Open-ended accounts (including credit cards)
State: Alabama Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Alaska Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Arizona Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Arkansas Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: California Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 2 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Colorado Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Connecticut Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Delaware Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: D.C. Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Florida Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Georgia Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 6 4 or 6**
State: Hawaii Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Idaho Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: Illinois Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 5 Promissory notes: 10 5 or 10***
State: Indiana Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 10 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Iowa Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 5 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: Kansas Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Kentucky Written contracts: 15 Oral contracts: 5 Promissory notes: 15 5 or 15****
State: Louisiana Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 10 Promissory notes: 10 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Maine Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Maryland Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Massachusetts Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Michigan Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Minnesota Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Mississippi Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Missouri Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 5 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 5
State: Montana Written contracts: 8 Oral contracts: 5 Promissory notes: 8 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 8
State: Nebraska Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Nevada Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: New Hampshire Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: New Jersey Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: New Mexico Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: New York Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: North Carolina Written contracts: 3 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: North Dakota Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Ohio Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Oklahoma Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 5 3 or 5****
State: Oregon Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Pennyslvania Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Rhode Island Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 10 Promissory notes: 10 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: South Carolina Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 10 Promissory notes: 3 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: South Dakota Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Tennessee Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Texas Written contracts: 4 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 4 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Utah Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 4 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 4
State: Vermont Written contracts: 5 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 3
State: Virginia Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 5 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Washington Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 3 Promissory notes: 6 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: West Virginia Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 10 Promissory notes: 10 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 10
State: Wisconsin Written contracts: 6 Oral contracts: 6 Promissory notes: 10 Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6
State: Wyoming Written contracts: 10 Oral contracts: 8 Promissory notes: 10 Open-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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