Whether or not a credit card debt shows up on your credit report has no affect on a credit card company's or collection agency's right to collect on it. According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, there's no nationwide statute of limitations on collecting debt, so it's up to each state to set how long creditors can come after you for debt.
Credit Report Duration
Delinquent accounts remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the original delinquency. For example, say you fall behind on your credit card and default a year later. The information stays on your credit report for seven years from the first missed payment. If after missing that first payment, you got the account back to current a year later and then fell behind again, the seven years starts from the second time you fell behind. After seven years, the delinquency is deleted from your credit report, but that doesn't prevent credit card companies and collection agencies from attempting to collect on the debt.
Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."