Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

A ‘statute’ is basically an act that has been passed by a legislative assembly or a body. Statute of limitations for different events that either come under the civil or criminal laws are prescribed by most of the legal systems across the world. In simple language, it can be defined as the time period during which a creditor can take legal action (i.e., sue the debtor) to enforce a debt. A case filed within the limited time is considered valid, and one that is filed after the prescribed time limit is considered to be void.

The statute of limitations on debt is applicable to all credit card agreements. There are 4 principle types of agreements that are governed by this statute, which are oral contract, written contract, promissory note, and open-ended accounts. Credit cards fall under open-ended accounts. The following table provides the state-wise time period of limitation. It must be noted that the legislative bodies may change the applicable period from time to time.

Name of StateNumber of Years
Alabama3
Alaska3
Arizona3
Arkansas3
California2 – 4
Colorado6
Connecticut3
Delaware4
District of Columbia3
Florida4
Georgia4 – 6
Hawaii6
Idaho4
Illinois5
Indiana6
Iowa5
Kansas3
Kentucky5
Louisiana3
Maine6
Maryland3
Massachusetts6
Michigan4
Minnesota6
Mississippi3
Missouri5
Montana5
Nebraska4
Nevada4
New Hampshire3
New Jersey6
New Mexico4
New York6
North Carolina3
North Dakota6
Ohio4 – 8
Oklahoma3 – 5
Oregon6
Pennsylvania4
Rhode Island10
South Carolina3
South Dakota6
Tennessee6
Texas4
Utah4
Vermont6
Virginia3
Washington6
West Virginia5
Wisconsin6
Wyoming8

There are however many queries that are left unheeded, when it comes to the time limit. Some of these have been answered below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does the time period for statute of limitations commence?
Answer: This question is asked very commonly and has two possible answers. The time that is considered starts ticking either after the payment is missed or defaulted, or after the creditor sends the debtor a letter demanding a payment. The right date of commencement is chosen by the court depending upon factors such as plaintiff, defendant, amount of debt, statute specifications, etc.

Q. When does the time period expire?
Answer: The time period expires after the prescribed number of years, which is different for each state. The prescribed number of years are added to the date of commencement to derive the expiry date of the time period.

Q. When does the period restart?
Answer: The time period may restart as a result of one installment paid, or partial payment. However, these conditions are not valid for some genuine cases such as an intentional default.

There are several other laws and enactments that are bound to come into picture during the court proceedings for a credit card debt lawsuit. The statute is a generalized provision for court proceedings, and hence, must not be misused.