Unpaid debts can stay on a credit report for up to seven years after the account becomes delinquent, according to myFiCO. Late payments, foreclosures, completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies and collections may all stay on a credit report for up to seven years.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies may stay on a credit report for up to 10 years, reports myFICO. About.com notes that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a charge-off from an unpaid debt, such as a credit card, may remain on a credit report for seven years plus 180 days from the date of charge-off. The same article reports that even if the reporting time for an old debt has lapsed, a creditor may still legally attempt to collect the funds if the debt remains unpaid.