Skip to Content

Debt Statute of Limitations: All 50 States!

Debt Statute of Limitations: All 50 States!

Got debt? The statute of limitations is something you need to know about. If you don’t know about this, you could make some basic mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars!


What does “debt statute of limitations” mean?

When it comes to debt, the statute of limitations determines how long a debt collector can pursue a debt. If a debt collector waits too long, they can’t sue you or take other action against you.

Although you still owe the debt, there’s nothing a collector can do to force you to pay. They can still call you, write letters and ask you to pay but they can’t sue. In fact, you can request in writing that they stop contacting you about the debt, and then they can’t do anything at all!


This ensures that old debts won’t haunt you forever.

Why do you need to know about it?

There are two huge reasons why everyone needs to know about the debt statute of limitations:


You can accidentally reset the clock on your debts.

The clock always begins ticking on the date of your first missed payment. That’s why it’s important to understand how this works.

For example, let’s say Sarah’s last credit card payment was 5 years and 11 months ago. She lives in a state where the statute of limitations is six years. She’s one month away from being untouchable by the creditor.

However, the company called and asked her to make a payment. If Sarah pays anything – even just a few dollars – it’s going to reset the statute of limitations. Suddenly, her last payment was today so the statute of limitations won’t run out for another six years.

If you don’t know about the debt statute of limitations, you could accidentally put yourself in a position where the debt collector has more time to sue you. As time runs out, debt collectors love to engage in deceptive tactics to try to get you to reset that clock.

You need to protect yourself if you get sued for a time-barred debt.

Next, sometimes debt collectors file lawsuits without checking all the facts. You could be sued for a debt that is outside of the debt statute of limitations. These debts are called “time-barred debts.” It’s up to you to recognize that the debt is time-barred and bring that to the attention of the courts.

Got a Debt Question?

If you’ve got questions about your specific legal situation, you can click here to chat with a lawyer now. Our friends at JustAnswer have a 24/7 service that can help you with credit card debt, collections, defective products, bankruptcy, extended warranties and more! Get all of your questions answered today.

What is the statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations varies by state and type of debt. Depending on where you are and what you owe, the statute ranges from 2 years to 15 years.


Keep in mind that there are reasons to pay a debt that is “time-barred.”

For example, the credit reporting time limit states that delinquent debts can remain on your credit report for an average of seven years. The only way to remove that negative mark from your credit report is to pay it.

Get debt relief assistance today!

Struggling with debt? You’re not alone! You may be eligible for help from CareConnect USA’s secure debt relief line. Call them at 866-530-9949 today!

There are four different types of debt.

There are four primary types of debt. These include oral agreements, written contracts, promissory notes, and open-ended accounts.

Oral agreements have no written documentation.

Oral agreements are strictly verbal. There is nothing in writing to verify or back up these contracts.

Written contracts include terms and conditions.

Written contracts include terms and conditions. They usually include the amount of the loan and other relevant details.


Even if it’s just written on a napkin, a written contract is binding between both parties.

Promissory notes are specialized written contracts.

Promissory notes are more complicated than straight written contracts. Specifically, promissory notes are written agreements to repay the debt in certain payments, with a particular interest rate and with a deadline. For example, mortgages are a type of promissory note.

Open-ended accounts are accounts with revolving balances.

An open-ended account doesn’t have an end date. As long as you keep the account in good standing, you can repay it and borrow it and repay it again. Credit cards and in-store credit are types of open accounts.

The statute of limitations for each debt type varies by state.

This is the list of debt statute of limitations in all 50 states.

New Hampshire3363
New Jersey6666
New Mexico4664
New York6666
North Carolina3355
North Dakota6666
Rhode Island10101010
South Carolina3333
South Dakota3666
West Virginia51065

Your best bet is to settle that debt!

Do you have outstanding debts that haven’t exceeded the debt statute of limitations yet? We’ve got a helpful guide that can help you settle your debts for 50% or less of the original amount owed. We’ve used these techniques ourselves, so we know they work! Check out our DIY debt settlement guide here.

Save money and get FREE stuff!


Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today,,, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.

John Marshall

Thursday 18th of April 2019

Additionally, during the time this debt was supposedly active I never received one notice or phone call from the company.

John Marshall

Thursday 18th of April 2019

At what point does it become harassment from a collection agency that I have told several times in the past the debt is erroneous and way past the statute of limitations all for a hundred bucks and it's been 19 years since this fake debt was created supposedly. They didn't call me directly but used a surrogate agency to call me to tell me someone has brought a civil complaint against me and to call this number. Are they avoiding harassment charges legally by doing this? Are they really just the same agency? This I would call deceptive practices.

Riley Thomson

Monday 6th of May 2019

John, Hmmmm... That doesn't sound right. It may be a scam. Here is some information to help protect yourself from debt collection scams. I hope this helps. -Riley


Thursday 11th of April 2019

Hi, i can’t afford a debt that is over 20 years ago. I am currently on SSI. I received a phone call from a collector and i agreed over the phone that i would make monthly payments on the debt. My first payment date is scheduled and coming up soon where it will be taken out of my prepaid card account. I haven’t signed anything, my question is can I stop payments on that debt before they start taking the money off of my card and if so will that make it so my debt hasn’t been reset?

Riley Thomson

Monday 15th of April 2019

Nissa, I'm not sure if you can cancel the scheduled payment or not. You will have to talk to the company directly. If you make a payment, then it will reset. -Riley

Brandi Adcock

Saturday 2nd of March 2019

How to get help with medical supplies, medications , braces and even doctor bills that are not covered by medicaid?

Riley Thomson

Saturday 4th of May 2019

Brandi, Here is what information we have on prescription assistance and medical equipment. I hope this helps. -Riley

Joyce H McGrath

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Hi Nicole Thank you for your website. How do you get help with your utility bills and food voucher and rental assistance from CSS? Take care Joyce

Tammy Dalton

Tuesday 16th of July 2019

How can I get help

Riley Thomson

Thursday 28th of February 2019

Joyce, I'm managing comments for Nicole today. Here is a link to our low income utilities article. I hope this helps. -Riley