How to Handle Charge-offs, Collections, and Late Payments

Hide & Seek

Charge-Off vs Collection

A charge-off means that the account in question has been written off by the original creditor. They have decided that you will not redeem this account.

A collection means that the charged-off account has been passed to a collection agency, a company that specializes in collecting payment for charged-off accounts.

What do you need to pay?

Because a charge-off means that the account is not currently in collections, we recommend settling with the original creditor before this appears as a collection on your credit report.

If the account is in collections, look at the date last updated on your credit report.

🗓️  If the date is current

Offer to settle the debt. Make an offer at 10% of the total amount and negotiate.

Be prepared to pay over the phone at that time.

Ask for the record to be deleted from your credit reports.

🗓️  If the date is not current but within the last 24 months

Decide for yourself how soon you need this record satisfied.

Once 24 months have passed since the last reporting date, it is not factored into your credit score.

🗓️  If the date is not current and is older than 24 months

Leave these accounts alone. They are not impacting your credit score.

What about late payments?

Late payments can have a huge impact on your credit score. If you have an account that has a late payment in the last 24 months, there is a chance you can have it removed.

Call the creditor and explain your situation, and ask for a good-will or a courtesy removal.

Late payments older than 24 months are not factored into your credit score. Don't worry about them.

What about medical collections?

First of all, some myth-busting.

✍️ Medical collections are not a HIPAA violation
✍️ Medical collections hurt your credit scores just like any other collection.

You may be able to have your bill reduced by contacting the issuing hospital or office and seeking out any charity care programs they have available. Otherwise, follow the same steps for a regular collection.

Buy the book!