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If I pay off a collection account will my credit score improve?
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Helpful to 466 out of 476 people

I have read the majority of the responses. A few of them I don't agree with on the premise that it is faulty informatation. However, here's what I've learned from some of the credential advice that I've read on here which has helped me to improve my credit score. To many of you, a great big THANK YOU! I hope this help many others as well.

You can do one of two things. I have tried both. The first suggestion is a very slow and long waiting process. The second suggestion is must faster.

Suggestion 1

  1. If the debt is old for example 4 to 5 years old and if you are not planning on purchasing a car/home in the near future, let the credit stand and run its course of 7 years. It will be removed from your credit report.

  • It is important to remember that you can not contact the creditor or acknowledge the debt with the creditor. (Especially when they call you.) When you do this, the time clock of 7 years does start over from the most recent date of acknowledgement.

I exercised suggestion 1 with a credit card that I closed years ago. Although I closed it, they continued to charge me interest on my balance. They are not supposed to do this. So, I went from $5000.00 balance to $20,000.00 balance over a a span of 5 years of none payment. I refused to pay them until they corrected my account.  They wouldn't do it, I didn't pay them. I would have been stuck paying the $20,000.00. I didn't acknowledge them when they called or sent correspondences. I wasn't planning on purchasing a home/car, so I rode it out. It's been removed from my credit 5 years ago now. Thank You Lord.

Suggestion 2

  1.  You must not only pay off the debt in collections, but you must also have it removed from the report all together. This will help you gain 20 pts.   (Paying off the debt in collection alone will NOT improve your credit score)

  • To have it removed, write a letter of appeal to the creditor/collection agency requesting that they expedite the removal of the  credit off of your report. Eventally it will be removed in 7 years, however, who's trying to wait 7 years if you're trynig to buy a      house, car, etc....
  •  When writing your letter of appeal, it is very helpful to add a brief summary as to the reason why you defaulted on the credit item, notate that you are currently practicing a debt reduction plan and state your goal. Also state your request that it is removed from all three credit agencies.

When I worte my letters, I explained to them that I am a Cancer survivor trying to restore my credit so that I may purchase a home for my family. My credit was greatly affected when I was diagnosed 5 years ago. During this time, the economy crashed, I didn't qualify for any programs because of my gross income which does not take into account loss of pay due to time/pay loss from work to attend numerous and frequent doctor appointments. Prior to this monumental time in my life, my credit was great.

In the past two years I have finally regained controlled of my finances. Since I've paid off my car note, I use that money to pay off past/current debtors.  You don't miss what's already been leaving your pocket. I started paying off $300.00 a month. The first year I paid $100.00/$20.00 per account trying to cover as many debtors as I could. This helps to keep current debts from going into collections and reduces the debt that's already in collections. The larger payments were applied to those already on the credit report and the lower payments were applied to those not on the credit report. On year two, I increased the payments to $500.00/$50.00 as I had a payraise due to my earning a higher degree and I no longer have daycare expenses.

My Results: My financial diet is paying off tremendously. I have greatly reduced my debt to credit ratio. My finances are flowing more freely. We have been able to rebuild our saviings. My family and I are able to enjoy life and activities. Two weeks ago I mailed my letters to 6 creditors. I heard from 2 of them the very next day.  Snail mail was actually speedy for once. Lol! I just heard from another debtor yesterday.  They have all agreed to remove the debt from all three credit reports.  I can't wait to hear from the other 3. Whoo Hoo!



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294 People Helped

Get the collection deleted!

Helpful to 287 out of 306 people

Hey Guys,

I am fairly new to the credit management game but have been very proactive about it since starting.

If you want to get rid of "accounts in collections" you can go with Credit Karma's recommended Lexington Law for about $100 dollars (I did extensive research and everyone has good things to say about them) OR you can go to for FREE and dispute it yourself. I had an account in collections of about $104 that I could have easily paid, but I had just used transunion to dispute something for my girlfriend and it got completed deleted within 2 days and her credit score bumped up by 50+ points later that month, so I figured having it completely deleted was a better option! It literally takes about 5 - 10 minutes to create your account and dispute it and I got my response the next day.

I can't say that this will be the same experience for everyone, but it is definitely worth a try!

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765 People Helped


Helpful to 765 out of 820 people

Here is something that might have been mentioned.

Get in writing that your account will be either deleted, or marked "paid in full" before you send in a payment.


Doing this COULD refresh the statue of limitations on the account, and could open the door for them to sue you in court.

Use your words wisely and remember you are being recorded. You could tell them, "I don't plan on paying the bill at this momenent. However, if you send me a company letter

head letter stating a payoff and a promise from you to remove, or report the item as Paid In Full. I will keep it for my records, and we can go from there"

This is touchy. Because any promises, virbal or written can really hurt you. BE CAREFUL.

Once this is done, and you have paid the amount wait about 90days and log on the credit agency's websites and dispute the paid items as not being your accounts.

The agency will send the creditor a notice about the dispute.

2 things will happen.

1. They will check their records and update it as paid in full.

2. They will check their records, see it's been paid and ignore the notice.

The 2nd is what you are trying to achieve. Once they fail to respond, the agency is forced to remove it.

If they do 1. then wait another 30-60 days and do it again.

People get confused, and a old account they don't remember can sometimes get mixed up with one that was theirs.

Just remember, when you talk to the collection agents, be respectful, because they hold your credit in their hands at this point.

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86 People Helped

The Catch-22 Advantage

Helpful to 86 out of 89 people

ome / Questions About Credit? Find Your Answer at the Creditnet Learning Center / Understanding Debt Settlement / The Catch-22 Advantage

The Catch-22 Advantage

When you think about it, our credit reporting system provides little incentive for you to pay off your debt. If you ignore the debt long enough, you stand a good chance of never hearing from the creditor again. Seven years after the debt is written off, the negative listing disappears from your report altogether. But if you pay the debt sometime before the end of that period, the seven year cycle starts all over again— not exactly what one would call an incentive. It's like getting time added to your sentence for good behavior.

Fortunately, creditors make their money by collecting the debts, not by reporting negative credit information. Creditors recognize this catch-22, and are therefore often willing to delete the negative listing upon settlement. If you are going to settle with a creditor, be sure to negotiate removal of the listing from your report.

Collection agencies are always more agreeable to delete a negative listing than are banks or credit card issuers. The only time you might run into problems is when the collection agency represents a large institutionalized creditor. Many creditors have an agreement with the credit bureaus that they will not allow a negative listing to be deleted upon settlement. Larger creditors such as the credit card giants or banks will require considerably more pressure before they give in to your demand. Virtually every creditor will succumb given the right amount of convincing.

Every creditor who reports to the credit bureaus can also change the information they report. In most credit organizations, there are dozens of people with the authority to make changes on the credit report. Anything a creditor reports, a creditor can change.

There are two ways you can approach deletion of negative information in response to settling a debt with a creditor: pre-notification of terms, and post-notification of terms.

Pre-notification of Terms

In this scenario, you tell the creditor up-front that you require the deletion of the entire negative listing as a part of the payoff. Definitely obtain this agreement in writing before the payoff takes place.

Advantage: You will save yourself time and frustration. There is also less of a chance that you will have to fight the creditor later to actually delete the negative listing.

Disadvantage: If the creditor discovers that your credit is important to you, they may change their mind and demand a larger settlement amount— sometimes as much as the full balance.

Post-notification of Terms

Once you have concluded your negotiations with the creditor, you include a "conditional endorsement" document with your settlement check. This document, which should be drafted by your attorney, informs the creditor of your terms for settlement. In your case you will insist that you are settling the debt on the condition the creditor delete your negative listing.

Advantage: Most of the time you will get a more favorable settlement amount this way. The creditor is often sufficiently tempted by the payoff that they deposit the check without blinking at the new terms.

Disadvantage: The creditor could reject your terms and return the check to you. Subsequently, the creditor might ask for more money or re-neg on the deal altogether. In the worse case the creditor deposits the check without following through with your demand. You will then have to fight the creditor later and force them to delete the listing.

Never expect a creditor to meet a verbal agreement. Document everything in writing, no matter how "good" you feel about the representative you speak to. You will likely have to fight the creditor to get them to live up to their end of the bargain, even when you have written documentation.

You may find that some creditors refuse to agree to a deletion under any circumstance. Yet every creditor will eventually agree to your terms if you speak to the right person or hold off long enough. But if you are on a time-line and your attorney is unable to obtain an agreement for full deletion, there are a couple of other options you have.

List Account as PAID

You may counter-offer that the creditor list the account as "Paid" rather than delete the item. After all, this would be an accurate indication of the status of the account and many creditors agree to this wording. Note that a "Paid" status is still very negative for a collection account. You should only agree that the account show "Paid" if all other negative notations are deleted. These notations include charge-offs, repossessions, late notations, and collections. A simple "Paid" notation on a regular trade line is neutral and should not impact your credit negatively.

List Account as SETTLED

Another option is to have the negative item listed as "Settled". While this is an inherently negative listing, it is not as negative as "Paid charge-off." Don't agree to a "Settled" listing until you have exhausted all other possibilities. Because "Settled" still triggers a credit denial, you should only agree on this type of listing if all other negative notations are removed. These notations include charge-offs, repossessions, late notations, and collections. If you agree to a "Settled" notation, you must continue to work hard to delete the notation through the credit bureau dispute process.


Finally, you can counter-offer to list the account as one of these. Note that this will be the creditor's first choice, and should be your absolute last. These notations are almost as damaging as showing "Unpaid" status. It is not unusual for an account to be deleted through credit bureau disputes once it has been paid. The creditor then has no compelling reason to keep the negative listing on your report. For this reason, it is still usually a good idea to settle even when the creditor will not budge on deleting or positively modifying the negative listing.

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33 People Helped

stick to your guns

Helpful to 33 out of 35 people

For those of you who paid off old collections and they have not removed them, I had the same issues.  They verbally agreed to delete from my credit report however only updated the account was paid or settled.  I stayed on them and called as often as I can to coerse them into deleting them completely from my credit.  Once a debt is paid, the collector cannot call you or contact you for any reason unless they have other debts in collection for you.  I reversed harrassed them, calling daily to inquire when and if they will remove it from my credit. They all got tired of me calling in and finally agreed to remove the accounts from my credit history.  The ones that refused to provide a letter showing they requested it to be removed I had experian call them with me on the phone and confirm they agreed to remove the debt completely.  When that was done, Experian had it removed by the end of the business day and no longer showing it at all.  I had over 9 old medical collections deleted and now am working on student loans that were sold or the company closed.  My score was 571 and I will check in a while with experian to see what it will be now that the collections have been deleted.  I also applied and was approved for a credit card from Capitol One, just a lame little $200 limit secured card to start showing some payment history on my credit.  I was advised to keep my charges lower than 30% and pay them off a day before the bill is due and not to touch them again until after the date each month that company reports to the bureaus. It has also be said to keep a balance owed of a low amount, such as $1.00 or so, then pay it on the next bill to show that I am keeping a line of credit open and i appear more valuable to a creditor.  It seems they would prefer to have people who have small balances with credit cards for a higher score than those who pay everything off in full.  We shall see.  

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333 People Helped

Helpful to 333 out of 340 people

In an attempt to raise my credit score I got a copy of  all of my credit reports and paid off all of my collection accounts within a month. There was like 6 of them. After a month they were all reported to the bureaus as "Paid" or having a Zero balance but they are still under the "Potentially Negative" catagory on my report. My score did not change one bit even though I technically owe nothing to creditors. I am beyond annoyed by this. Now I am starting to hear from people, including financial advisors, that it is better to just leave them be and not pay them. Once they reach collection status they will be negative no matter if you pay them or not. And if you DO pay them, like I did, you reopen the account so it stays on your report for seven years from the day they are paid rather than 7 years from when they were first reported. So i screwed myself by doing the right thing.

 I was advised to open a secured credit card, which I have done through Capital One, and my score should improve if I keep the balance below 30% of my limit.

It's a shady world out there people. Good Luck!

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31 People Helped

Haven't tried it yet

Helpful to 31 out of 31 people

I found this pay for deletion sample letter I have not tried it yet but it looks good.

9 Contributions
95 People Helped

Helpful to 71 out of 78 people

Yes your score will improve once it's paid off. Make sure you ask for pay to delete option. It is always good to negotiate the amount with them and ask for paid in full letter as a proof that it has been paid in full. 1 collection account will increase up too 30 points on your credit report. It takes almost 30 days to update. If you settle the amount less then what you owed it will still impact on your report as negative. You can always dispute the amount with credit agency and have them update the record with in 30 days. Hope it helps. 

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17 People Helped

3rd party collection agencies....

Helpful to 7 out of 7 people

HAVE NO CONTRACT with you to legally come after you for anything! If you want to get rid of something that has been sold from the original company to a collection agency do the following.. Sign up for an account at Go through each item and for those that state they are owned by a collection agency, dispute them and select the option "contract has been cancelled" and in the comment area write "NO CONTRACT". I have done this and have helped many others with the process to EASILY get rid of tons of debt... STOP PAYING 3rd party collectors! Unless you like giving your hard earned money away... Knowledge is power! :) <3

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9 People Helped

what if the creditor refuses to send.

Helpful to 9 out of 11 people

the collections agency said they do not handle credit information that we would have to talk to the original creditor... we talk to the original creditor and  they refused  to send a letter of promise. i was told that they cant send thing of sutch a nature and that once the account has been paid they send a letter of a 0 balance. my question is how can i get them to send a letter promising before i make a payment? or would it be better to wait for that letter and if they dont send it after 30 days dispute it?

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