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Dear Credit Card Adviser,

A credit card I had from a department store was closed by the creditor 15 years ago. I had paid it in full several years prior to that, in 1998. This credit card is still on my credit report. Is this negatively affecting my credit report and, if so, how do I get it off?

— Stacey

You can get free credit report information through myBankrate to ensure there aren’t any dead credit cards on your credit report.

Dear Stacey,

Closed accounts will actually stay on your credit report for some time, but that particular card should have aged off already.

Per Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, accounts that have been delinquent (paid late at some point) are deleted from a credit report 7 years from the original delinquency date of the account. Accounts that were never late remain on your report 10 years from the account closure date.

Given that the account was closed out 15 years ago and paid off well before then, it shouldn’t still appear on your credit report.

A closed account with no delinquencies and no current activity or balance is relatively harmless. It will not negatively affect your credit score, Experian says. On the other hand, an old account that does include a delinquency could.

“This is one of the reasons why consumers should check their credit reports often to ensure that negative information is removed when it’s supposed to be,” says Kristine Snyder, a spokeswoman for Experian. “The consumer’s credit report will indicate the date that information should be removed.”

When is the last time you checked your credit report? Get it free at myBankrate.

In either event, you should have the account removed. You always want your credit report to contain accurate information.

Contact the credit bureaus that are reporting its existence to formally dispute the information. There should be information on the credit report they furnished that outlines how to do so, but you can also file disputes on Experian, Equifax and TransUnion’s websites.

Good luck!

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