The statute of limitations for credit card debt is an open question in Kentucky. This is because there is no statute squarely on point and no Kentucky appellate court has yet addressed or decided the issue. Creditors generally take the position that the statute of limitations is five years under KRS 413.120 or fifteen years under KRS 413.090.
Recently, a federal district strongly indicated that credit card debt is subject to a five-year statute of limitations under Kentucky law. Conway v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, 13 F.Supp.3d 711, 715 (E.D. Ky. 2014). See also Fulk v. LVNV Funding LLC, No. CIV.A. 5:14-125-DCR, 55 F.Supp.3d 967, 972 (E.D. Ky. 2014) (same). This is based on the argument that credit card agreements are not sufficiently definite in terms and conditions to be subject to the fifteen-year statute of limitations for contracts in writing. But Conway ultimately determined that the credit card at issue in the case was subject to Virginia’s statute of limitations under a straight forward application of Kentucky’s borrowing statute. KRS 413.320.
The borrowing statute provides that
[w]hen a cause of action has arisen in another state or country, and by the laws of this state or country where the cause of action accrued the time for the commencement of an action thereon is limited to a shorter period of time than the period of limitation prescribed by the laws of this state for a like cause of action, then said action shall be barred in this state at the expiration of said shorter period.
The key to triggering to Kentucky’s borrowing statute is accrual of a cause of action in a in another jurisdiction. When an “injury is purely economic,” which is the case with a defaulted credit card account, “the place of injury, and therefore the place of accrual of the action, may be where the economic impact of the defendant’s conduct is felt, which is usually the plaintiff’s place of residence.” 51 Am. Jur. 2d Limitation of Actions § 91 (Updated Aug. 2014). This is the general rule, which the Kentucky Supreme Court recently adopted in Abel v. Austin, 411 S.W.3d 728 (Ky. 2013).
This means that when the statute of limitations of the state where a bank is headquartered is less than five years for an action to collect a credit card debt, under the borrowing statute, the statute of limitations of that state applies to an action on a credit card account issued by that bank. This has particular relevance for banks headquartered in Delaware, North Carolina, and Virginia all of which have three-year statute of limitations. This includes a great many banks including Chase Bank USA, N.A., Discover Bank, and FIA Card Services, N.A., which are all headquartered in Delaware; Bank of America, N.A., which is headquartered in North Carolina; and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A.
Two party store charge cards that can only be used at one particular store are subject to a four-year statute of limitations under KRS 355.2-725.
If a debt collector has tried to collect a debt from you that is barred by the statute of limitations, threatened to sue, or has sued you to collect a time-barred debt,this is illegal and can be stopped. PLEASE call or email at your earliest convenience. I may be able to help you at no cost to you.