Every state has a statute of limitation after which a debt becomes older, a debt collector can no longer pursue legal action against you for payment. You still have an ethical responsibility to settle an old debt even though you can no longer be sued for it.

The statute of limitation in each state protects consumers from getting sued by debtors once the statute has passed and would be considered a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) if debtors chose to do so anyway.

The table below demonstrates each state’s statute of limitations for past due debts. Credit cards are considered open accounts and can no longer harass you or try to collect legally past the statute of limitation as shown below which was accurate at the time of publication.

Statutes of limitations for each state (in number of years)

StateWritten contractsOral contractsPromissory notesOpen-ended accounts (including credit cards)
Alabama3663
Alaska3633
Arizona6353
Arkansas5335
California4244
Colorado6666
Connecticut6366
Delaware3333
D.C.3333
Florida5454
Georgia6464 or 6**
Hawaii6666
Idaho5455
Illinois105105 or 10***
Indiana106106
Iowa105510
Kansas3333
Kentucky155155 or 15****
Louisiana310103
Maine6666
Maryland3363
Massachusetts6666
Michigan6666
Minnesota6666
Mississippi3333
Missouri5555
Montana8588
Nebraska4444
Nevada4444
New Hampshire3333
New Jersey6666
New Mexico4444
New York6666
North Carolina3353
North Dakota6666
Ohio6666
Oklahoma5353 or 5****
Oregon6666
Pennyslvania4444
Rhode Island10101010
South Carolina101033
South Dakota6366
Tennessee6666
Texas4444
Utah6464
Vermont5363
Virginia6656
Washington6366
West Virginia10101010
Wisconsin66106
Wyoming108108

** Georgia Court of Appeals came out with a decision on January 24, 2008 in Hill v. American Express that in Georgia the statute of limitations on a credit card is six years after the amount becomes due and payable.

*** An Illinois appeals court ruled on May 20, 2009, that the statute of limitations on a credit card debt without a written contract was 5 years.

**** State law doesn’t specify the limitations on open accounts.

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