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)

State Written contracts Oral contracts Promissory notes Open-ended accounts (including credit cards)
Alabama 3 6 6 3
Alaska 3 6 3 3
Arizona 6 3 5 3
Arkansas 5 3 3 5
California 4 2 4 4
Colorado 6 6 6 6
Connecticut 6 3 6 6
Delaware 3 3 3 3
D.C. 3 3 3 3
Florida 5 4 5 4
Georgia 6 4 6 4 or 6**
Hawaii 6 6 6 6
Idaho 5 4 5 5
Illinois 10 5 10 5 or 10***
Indiana 10 6 10 6
Iowa 10 5 5 10
Kansas 3 3 3 3
Kentucky 15 5 15 5 or 15****
Louisiana 3 10 10 3
Maine 6 6 6 6
Maryland 3 3 6 3
Massachusetts 6 6 6 6
Michigan 6 6 6 6
Minnesota 6 6 6 6
Mississippi 3 3 3 3
Missouri 5 5 5 5
Montana 8 5 8 8
Nebraska 4 4 4 4
Nevada 4 4 4 4
New Hampshire 3 3 3 3
New Jersey 6 6 6 6
New Mexico 4 4 4 4
New York 6 6 6 6
North Carolina 3 3 5 3
North Dakota 6 6 6 6
Ohio 6 6 6 6
Oklahoma 5 3 5 3 or 5****
Oregon 6 6 6 6
Pennyslvania 4 4 4 4
Rhode Island 10 10 10 10
South Carolina 10 10 3 3
South Dakota 6 3 6 6
Tennessee 6 6 6 6
Texas 4 4 4 4
Utah 6 4 6 4
Vermont 5 3 6 3
Virginia 6 6 5 6
Washington 6 3 6 6
West Virginia 10 10 10 10
Wisconsin 6 6 10 6
Wyoming 10 8 10 8

** 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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