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Does paying off collection accounts help your credit score?


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Answered 2014-01-15 14:20:00
  • Why payoff collections when you have a bona-fide chance in getting the collection deleted by disputing it with the bureaus that are reporting it, as per "The Fair Credit Reporting Act". The original creditor already wrote it off as a loss on their taxes anyway and in most cases sold the debt to a collection agency for 15 to 20 percent.
  • Last resort is to settle on the debt. Make sure you write a restrictive endorsement on the front of the check:"By cashing this check Payee agrees to accept this check in full payment of the account as agreed and agrees to remove all derogatory information from Remitter's Credit Reports."
  • Now you have a canceled photo of your check in your bank statement as proof incase the bureaus don't adjust your report accordingly. Also make sure to mention your account number in the memo section.
  • I agree with Bob in the next answer--since I am a mortgage loan officer--I would be recommending the same. Pay the collection at the closing of the purchase/refinance of the home--not right before. Your scores will not improve for a good 2 months or more as you just gave a bad account a newer date. I like to call it "new history". Now if you are just cleaning up your credit and not applying for any type of loan for at least 2 months, then by all means -- pay the amt due or settle on an amount. Either way get it in writing and keep your originals--for a LONG TIME. Send copies when sending the payoff/settlement. Act as a "collector" would, and call consistently when you are waiting for confirmation via fax with the original being mailed to you until you get it. Make sure you have names and extensions when you try to re-reach the person you talked to as you will more than likely end up talking to someone else.
  • The reason for this is because, among other factors used to determine a credit score, the "date last active" will change on these collection accounts once they have been paid. It simply means the date the account (regardless of type) had any activity on it, whether it be a credit, debit, transfer, etc. Pretty straight-forward.
  • So let me try to explain: Let's say you have a collection from a long-forgotten medical bill (probably the most common collection), with a last active date of 08/99, with a $500 balance. Because this is such an old, inactive collection, it's effect on your credit score has been greatly diluted by more recently active credit (such as your current mortgage, car loan, active credit cards, etc.), and is likely only lowering your score slightly. If you were to pay that collection off in an attempt to gain points, your efforts will have an opposite effect in the short-term. By paying off the collection, you will bring the last active date of the collection to the current month (now would be 10/03), and although it will now reflect a $0 balance, the fact that you have a recently active collection on your credit report is more derogatory than an old collection with a balance.
  • My advice to you is, if you are applying for a mortgage or other large loan, do NOT pay off collections before hand! Usually, lenders will require these debts to be paid at CLOSING, and this is highly recommended.
  • Now, after about 6 months, your scores will have recovered (depending on the number of collections you had to pay off), and in the long term, will be much higher than had you left the unpaid collections on your credit report. It's just the initial hit that hurts.
  • I appreciate the above. But I want to emphasis it highlights that you *will* have to pay off the old debt anyway. Moreover, as noted that craziness in official scoring is true for maybe 6 months. And it is happening in what might be the more junior and mechanical part of the process of actually approving a loan... many more things will actually go into it.
  • So, let's see, if I was a lender, now and 6 months (or even 5+ years)in the future, how trustworthy do you think I would comparatively rate these two, or desire them as customers:

1) He has not made payments on his previous promises. He still owes others money that he doesn't seem able to, or interested in, paying. He expects to pay me with his future wages. Other creditors want to get repaid, and will have a right to an amount that will continue to grow with fees and interest charges, so his past due balances are actually higher than he's telling me. I can require he pay off those old debts, but if he uses my money to pay those off, do I really want to be in the shoes of those he isn't paying now?

2) He seems to have had a tough period and missed payment obligations for some reason, (but that was XX ago / there is an explanation in credit file). Gotta' say s/he really wanted to stay responsible/honorable and worked through it, made good on his promise overall and paid them. He doesn't seem to owe others now, at least not more than he seems able to pay on what he's making....

  • To be certain of how ill informed and absurd some of the above is...when saying that "The original creditor already wrote it off as a loss on their taxes anyway...", well maybe in a way. They wrote it off on their financial books too...they had reported an asset a receivable, (income they already reported and expected to receive), that wasn't real...they paid taxes on that income previously (when they originally made/recorded it)...both their books and tax accounting now get adjusted to show they won't receive it...the tax they get is tax BACK that they paid already on the income they aren't going to receive. You don't really think the IRS gives money back for something else do you?
  • Can paid charges help your credit score. It can increase your credit score by paying off a charge off on your credit report.

UPDATE: In 2007, Fair Isaac agreed with debt collectors that a debtor should not be penalized for paying off old debt accounts. While it is true that renewed account activity could reset the date of last activity on a collection account, it does not change the date of last activity for the original debt. Furthermore, Fair Isaac claims that adjustments have been made in credit scoring that allow for a debtor to pay an old debt without any negative movement in their credit scores.

This settles a decades old argument that paying off an old liability demonstrates financial responsibility. What we do not know is whether the actual change to risk scoring models was made in 2007, or if it is part of the FICO 08 scoring update. Either way, by late 2008 debtors will not be penalized for paying off an old debt account. With this in mind debtors can pay off older accounts without fear of a negative credit score reaction. This is true for lump sum payoffs. Making a series of payments on an old debt is still not advisable. Still though, debtors should focus on newer debts, since older accounts may drop off their credit report before they get a chance to repay them.

Paying off a collection will update the account as more recent which will hurt your credit score, but it will also improve your debt to limit ratio which will increase your credit score. More importantly you can negotiate to remove the credit report listing upon final payment. You can also try to dispute the collection with the credit bureau and this becomes much easier once you have paid off the debt.

It is completely and utterly untrue that writing "this pays this debt in full" on a check is legally binding. Why wouldn't one do that on the first mortgage payment? I can write anything in the memo of a check, it means nothing. Please do not follow that advice. I worked for a bank for over a decade, this is a horrible myth.

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ARIEDNE MARTINEZ
Answered 2020-10-04 19:27:36

Yes its a very good thing to do!

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Anonymous
Answered 2020-06-10 22:00:23

Yes

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== == Collection account are 20% of the total credit score module.


Yes, payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. So paying your bills on time will help you maintain a good credit rating.


Yes! I settled 2 collection accounts and my score stayed exactly the same.


The fact of filing bankruptcy is already going to lower your credit score, and the point of bankruptcy, part of it anyway, is to resolve unpayable debt such as collection accounts. It is in your best interest to add the collection accounts to your bankruptcy, but if you consult your BK attorney, he is likely to advise you of this. The bankruptcy is the first next step in repairing your credit and improving your credit score.


AnswerPaying of your debt in collection will hurt your credit score as it will show that your payment is not of the required amount and not in time.


A credit score of 450 is poor. You have far more poor credit than one collection. You should pay off your collection and make every effort to bring current the other accounts that are passed due. An average credit score would be in the neighborhood of 625. You have a long way to go.


Yes. Amounts owed accounts for about 30% of your credit score. Ideally your utilization rate should be 20% or less. Paying your credit card balance to 20% or less will improve your credit score.


The answer to this type of question depends on SO many factors. Paying off collection accounts will not necessarily raise your credit score, which is what most consumers believe. The variable is the date the accounts were last reported (or updated) on your credit report. The date last reported, or "status" date is the date that causes collections and charge offs to impact your credit score. Anything, including legal items, late payments and collections/charge offs, updated within the last 12 month time frame, falls into the "history" category. This category accounts for 35% of your credit score. So, if you have old collection accounts which have not been updated recently; paying them off will cause them to be a paid collection as of, well, NOW. If, on the other hand, your collection accounts ARE being updated to within the last 12 months (regardless of the last time you used the account), then paying them off will probably not cause deductions to your score and MAY raise it. Certainly, 12 months from now, any collection account that is paid is better than an unpaid collection. The best scenario is to offer creditors a pay-for-delete. THAT would benefit both you and those whom you owe.


No, but your credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit score.


You should not close a credit card if you are still paying on it. It will bring your credit score down. Close it when you are done paying. I know this because my mom owns her own credit repair/management business and she tells me what to do with my credit cards.


Paying off collection and charged off accounts does not necessarily raise your credit score. Credit scores are calculated on ALL the information in your credit report. 35% is based on payment history and this is where you may take a hit when you pay off a collection account. Example: You have a credit card collection that was last used in 2000 and has not been updated on the bureaus since 2001. Because the UPDATE (the date it was last reported) is over 12 months old, it impacts your credit score less and less. Paying that collection account causes you to have a (now) paid collection as of 09/04, making it fall within that important 12 month time-frame. You might actually take a deduction in this case. Once again, it depends on ALL of the information showing. If your collection accounts had current reporting dates, then paying them off definitely improved your score. Regardless of which scenario is true for you; your score will ultimately be much better. 12 months from now your score will be higher having old, paid collection account than having old, unpaid ones.


Having low score of 575 probably means you have quite a bit of debt (high balances) and possibly slow paying accounts (not paying on time). These customers are usually paying interest every month.


It will, as long as the collection's date of last activity is within the last 6 months. Paying a collection resets the date of last activity and may wind up hurting your credit score. It is better to have an old collection with a balance than a new collection without a balance.


Not always. Paying a collection refreshes the date of last activity. The FICO algorithm considers the last 6 months of activity to be the most important which means that it has the most impact on a credit score. Paying an old collection puts that collection back within that 6 month period and lowers your credit score on many occasions. The rule of thumb is Pay collections which are active within the last 6 months and do not pay collections which have been inactive for over 2 years. Use your best judgement for everything in between.


The two biggest things that can hurt your credit score are not paying your credit on time and holding too much of a balance on revolving accounts. The best way to bring up your credit score 60 points in 30 days would be to make sure you pay all of your accounts on time and to pay down as many revolving accounts as you can.


Yes off course. Paying off any debts will increase your credit score.


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Paying a debt on time improves your credit score if you had previously not been paying on time (or not at all!)


Subsidized loans will affect your credit score negatively if you are not paying them. If you are paying them, they will have a positive effect on your score.


You can take steps to improve your credit score. The number of variables that play into an individual score. Tips on how to raise your credit score and manage credit responsibly, including paying bills on time, paying off debt, and managing credit history.


While there's no definitive answer with respect to how many points your credit score may drop after a collection, a collection account is a clear indication that a loan, credit card or retail card was not repaid and payment history is one major contributing factor to your credit score. This can have a negative impact on your credit score.


If you are paying a collection company, make sure before you pay anything, that you get a deletion letter. This is a letter stating that if you pay, the entry will be deleted off your credit report. Now, whether you are paying in full or settling, it has the same affect on your credit score--Paid collection or paid P&L or charge-off account. This will remain on your credit for 7 years. This is why it is important that you get a deleting letter. Source: Phil Turner, Credit Bible.


Your credit score can be decreased by having collection accounts listed, a judgment, late payments or if you have too much available credit. If you have that much credit, you would want to contact the credit issuer to lower your credit limit. Your debt should never be more than 35% of the available credit. Timely, consistent payments to your creditors and low credit limits will help increase your credit score.


Not much other than having the collection marked from unpaid to paid. If you are paying off credit collection companies, negotiate to get a letter from them telling you that the amount you are paying is the balance as agreed and that they will remove it from your credit report. Do not pay until you get that letter. If you pay without doing that, it will stay on your credit report for about 3 years depending on when the collection was first put on your credit report. The fact that you paid it already just says on your credit report that instead of unpaid the collection is marked as paid. If you already paid either repair your credit or get a reputable firm in the BBB who has a money-back guaranteed policy.




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