Statute of Limitations 2021 for Credit Card Debt

Each state has its own law for how long a credit card company can sue a person for non-payment. This is a good consumer protection, but then we have to ask, which state does the law go by?

Most of the major credit card companies tell you in the contract which state applies to their agreement. Others go by the state the consumer lives in — but not all. So be careful and speak with an attorney in your state if you aren’t sure. (Charts below.)

Three main things to know:

  1. Just because the Statute of Limitations is reached, it doesn’t mean they still can’t contact you to ask for payment. The debt doesn’t magically disappear; it’s just that they cannot force you to pay by going to court.
  2. A collector might still file a lawsuit in an attempt to collect, even past the SOL. If you don’t show up in court to tell the judge the debt is old, you automatically lose and the creditor automatically wins. Therefore, you must never ignore a summons to court.
  3. The Statute of Limitations is different than the date a debt ages off your credit report. A debt past the SOL can remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of first delinquency or last payment or last acknowledgement of the debt.

This chart shows major credit card issuers, which state law they go by for SOL, and the years they can sue in court.

IssuerStateYears credit card debt is collectible in court
American ExpressUtah6
Bank of AmericaNorth Carolina3
CitiSouth Dakota6
Capital OneVirginia*3**
US Bank******
Wells FargoSouth Dakota6
*Capital One says Virginia law rules, unless the cardholder’s state has a longer statute.**5 years if creditor produces signed account agreement and documentation of interest rate and repayment terms.***US Bank’s terms and conditions agreement specifies which state law should apply to arbitration, but not for other matters, such as unpaid debt.

Credit card debt statute of limitations, by state

StateYearsState statuteSource
Alabama3 yearsTitle 6 Ch.2 Sec. 37State law
Alaska3 years9.10.053State law
Arizona6 yearsHB 24121State law
Arkansas5 years4-3-118State law
California4 yearsCode of Civil Procedure S.337State law
Colorado6 yearsColorado Revised Statutes Title 13 S.80-103.5State law 2
Connecticut6 yearsChapter 926 Sec. 52-576State law 3
Washington, D.C.3 years12-301D.C. code 4
Delaware3 yearsTitle 10, Sec. 8106State law
Florida5 years495.11State law
Georgia6 years59-3-24State law
Hawaii6 years657-1State law
Idaho5 years5-216State law
Illinois5 years7Code of Civil Procedure 5/13-205State law
Scroll to 735 ILCS 5/13-205
Indiana6 yearsTitle 34 Art.11, 2-9State law
Iowa5 yearsCh. 614.1.4State law See note.14
Kansas3 years60-512State law
Kentucky5 or 15 years413.120 and 413.090Conflicting state laws 12
Louisiana3 yearsCivil Code Sec. 2 Art. 3494State law
Maine6 years14-205-752State law
Maryland3 yearsSection 5-101State law
Massachusetts6 yearsGeneral Laws Part III Title V Ch. 260-2State law
Michigan6 yearsCh. 600.5807.8State law
Minnesota6 yearsCivil Procedure Ch.541.05State law
Mississippi3 years15-1-29State law
Missouri5 yearsCh. 516-120State law
Montana8 years27-2-202State law
Nebraska4 years25-206State law
Nevada4 years11-190State law
New Hampshire6 years382-A:3-118 (g)State law
New Jersey6 years2A:14-1State law
New Mexico4 years37-1-4State law
New York6 yearsCivil Practice Law & Rules, 2-213State law
North Carolina3 yearsCivil Procedure 1-52.1State law
North Dakota6 years28-01-16State law
Ohio6 yearsCourts – Common Pleas, Ch. 2305.07State law
Oklahoma5 years12-95A(1)State law
Go to Title 12 and click on the link. Open the file and go to Section 12-95.
Oregon6 yearsOregon Revised Statutes, Civil Procedure Ch. 12.080State law
Pennsylvania4 yearsJudicial Procedure 42 Pa. C.S. 5525(a)State law
Rhode Island10 years9-1-13State law
South Carolina3 yearsCode of Laws Title 15 Ch. 3 Sec.530State law 8
South Dakota6 years15-2-13State law
Tennessee6 yearsTitle 28 3-109State law 9
Texas4 yearsCivil Practice and Remedies Code, S.16.004State law
Utah6 years78B-2-30910State law
Vermont6 years9A-3-118State law
Virginia3 years8.01-246State law. See note.13
Washington6 yearsRevised Code of Washington 4.16.040State law
West Virginia10 years55-2-6State law
Wisconsin6 years893.43State law 11
Wyoming8 years1-3-105State law
1On April 12, 2011, the governor signed House Bill 2412 into law. This bill amends Section 12-548 of the state code and makes the statute of limitations for credit card debt six years.
2Clicking on this link takes you to a third-party website. Click “I Agree” to the terms. Click on the Colorado Revised Statutes link on the left column. On the page that appears, type 13-80-103.5 on the search line and hit enter. Scroll down to and click on the link for 13-80-103.5 to go to the section.
3Go to Statutes, then Browse statutes, scroll to Ch. 926, Sec. 52-576.
4 Search by section number.
5 According to the Georgia Department of Law, appeals court cases have found the six-year period for contracts applies to credit card debt. See Phoenix Recovery Group Inc. v. Mehta, 2008.
6 An Illinois appeals court ruled on May 20, 2009, that a credit card agreement did not qualify as a written contract subject to the 10 year statute of limitations.
7 Court decisions have affirmed that card agreements qualify as written contracts with a 10-year statute of limitations. However, the state appeals court ruled in 2011 that the plaintiff must provide the debtor’s actual agreement, not a generic agreement. If the debt collector can’t produce an original credit card agreement, the five-year clock for nonwritten contracts applies, the court ruled. See Gemini v New, 2011.
8 At “Quick Search” section select “Code of Laws” from menu and type “15 3 530” into search window, without dashes; press “Enter.” In search results, select link for “Chapter 3.”
9 Clicking on this link takes you to a third-party website. Click “I Agree” to the terms. On the page that appears, type 28-3-109 on the search line and hit enter. Click on the item for 28-3-109 for “Contracts not otherwise covered.”
10 Utah courts generally apply law of the card issuer’s state.
11 See section 893.43.
12Conflicting state laws and a lack of definitive court ruling make it too hard to say whether Kentucky’s five-year statute or its 15-year statute applies to credit card debts.
13Three-year expiration applies to unwritten contracts; courts may apply five-year clock for written contracts if creditor produces signed account agreement and documentation of repayment terms.
14The 10-year expiration for written contracts could apply if the creditor was able to produce sufficient documentation of the amount of the debt. In practice, however, creditors have only general descriptions of the account, such as the terms and conditions, which fails to meet the standard for a written contract of debt.

One of my book readers was sued for an old debt. Wisely, she contacted a local attorney who accompanied her to court. Not only did the attorney get the case dropped, the attorney then proceeded to file a lawsuit against the creditor for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and my book reader ended up GETTING MONEY from the bad collection company. Ha! That’s what I call justice.

Please check your credit report for accuracy. Please don’t ignore letters from creditors and collectors. And especially, please don’t fail to show up in court which causes you to lose, even if you were in the right!

2 thoughts on “Statute of Limitations 2021 for Credit Card Debt

  1. *Choice of Law and Borrowing Statutes*

    The State of Ohio’s Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt is 6 years, but…

    Ohio has a “Borrowing Statute” which essentially dictates that if the Plaintiff’s home state has a shorter statute of limitations, Ohio Law will borrow the shorter statute of limitations….

    *Example:* Chase Bank’s Credit Card Agreements stipulates that Delaware Law is applicable to the Agreement…

    If an Ohio citizen were to be sued, that citizen can then claim the shorter statute of limitations for Deleware…

    Many other states have similar choice of law statutes…

    On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:53 PM Ask Carolyn Warren wrote:

    > askcarolynwarren posted: ” Each state has its own law for how long a > credit card company can sue a person for non-payment. This is a good > consumer protection, but then we have to ask, which state does the law go > by? Most of the major credit card companies tell you in the contra” >

    1. K.T. Embry, thank you for this insight. You have provided an excellent example of why a person should contact an attorney if they receive either a summons or a letter threatening lawsuit.

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