Are charge-offs when a creditor wants to settle the debt by offering me to pay half the debt? Is this a good thing or will it look bad on my credit report? Can I settle a debt before a creditor charges it off?
You can negotiate a settlement to a credit card debt before the credit card issuer moves the debt to a charge-off status.
According to a large debt settlement provider Bills.com contacts, about one in five settlements the company negotiates occur before the account is charged off.
Some big names in consumer lending are willing to negotiate pre-charge-off account settlements too, including:
Let’s look at charge-off and what it means, how a charge-off harms your credit score, and the informal rules for negotiating a pre-charge-off settlement.
Charge-off is an accounting term used by creditors that means a creditor transferred an account from its “accounts receivable” ledger to its general ledger’s “bad debt” line. Credit issuers are required to do this by federal rules and guidelines in an attempt to prevent banks and other lenders from inflating future earnings numbers by including defaulted accounts.
The main consequence of an account charging off is the account will appear as a negative item (R9) on your credit reports.
Charge off does not change the legal status of the debt. After an original creditor places a debt in charge-off status:
If you pay-off or settle a charged-off account your FICO credit score won't improve. The notation that the account was charged off will remain. However, VantageScore treats resolved debts differently. VantageScore ignores resolved accounts, so you VantageScore credit score will improve once the debt is at $0 balance.
Most creditors will agree to reduced balance settlements on delinquent accounts, at some point in the collection process. For example, if you contact a creditor and explain you would like to settle this account, the creditor may accept a reduced-rate settlement to resolve your outstanding debt and put an end to their collections.
Creditors often require a settlement offer to be paid in a single, lump-sum payment, though some may allow you to pay a settlement over a few months. Don't hesitate to ask for a settlement in payments when negotiating with your creditor.
Always get a written settlement offer from the creditor before sending a payment. The offer should state that the account will be brought to a $0 balance and the matter closed, if you make the agreed payment.
You need to protection of a written offer so the creditor can't claim that what you sent was only a payment and that you still owe the remaining balance. If the creditor won't send a written settlement offer, don't send any money.
If you choose to settle an account, your credit reports may list an account status of:
These account statuses are not considered as positive as a “paid in full” status, but the difference is generally negligible, especially considering the amount of money you may be able to save by settling the debt.
Settling an account before it charges off is a good solution for both you and the creditor. It’s good for the creditor because it gets the account resolved with a lower loss than setting the account to a collection agent. It’s good for the consumer because he or she avoids collection calls, a possible lawsuit, judgment, and everything that can follow a judgment such as wage garnishment.
When will a creditor consider a debt settlement before charge-off? According to a large debt settlement company source, creditors are most open to a pre-charge-off settlement when the consumer can demonstrate a hardship. Most creditors accept the following events as hardships:
You do not necessarily need to show a hardship to negotiate a settlement, but it increases the chances the creditor will settle. If you have a legitimate hardship, share that reason with your creditor and be prepared to send proof of your hardship.
Typical pre-charge-off settlements amount to about 50 cents on the dollar, which is right in the center of the typical debt settlement range from 40 to 60 cents on the dollar.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.