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YouObviouslyLoveOwls

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what is the best way to handle debt that is in collections?

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You have two different ways and dpends on your deisred outcome, but most creditors won't negotiate for both. 1) If your credit score is important to you, you will save up how much you owe them and tell them "I will pay you in full if you remove the reporting from my credit score." Get that agreement in writing. If you pay off a collection agency, it will showed as paid off on yourcredit, but it will still show for 7 years and is a big negative. You want them to completely remove it, and your credit will make a huge jump.  Or 2) if saving money is most important to you, you can negotiate the amount you pay with them. Debate the fact you can't afford to pay the full amount, but you are willing to pay like half of it right now and be done with it. They will usually go for it.  There is essentially a 3), but you get much benefit out of it, if you can't afford to pay them a lump sum, they will set up payment plans at an amount you can afford. They likely won't reduce the amount you owe and won't remove it from your score; however, it will show on your credit as "paying as agreed" and then as paid in full once you pay it off (this is good for you credit, but minimal compared to having it removed). All 3 of these are better than ignoring them and leaving it as an unpaid debt on your credit.

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