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Advice if Settled Debt Not Updating on Credit Report

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UpdatedJul 15, 2024

We had a balance on a repossession that was not paid and we recently settled but it still shows a balance on our report...

Via a divorce, the co-signed loan of my new wife went into default by her husband, who retained the vehicle and was ordered by the court to sell and pay the diff. He didn't it was repossessed and the diff was never paid. Now, we settled with the credit union for 50% of the amount. The loan was "legally closed" it is still showing balance due by two of the three credit bureaus. The point was to close and raise credit score. We have not yet contacted the two bureaus we want changed. We want to understand what to ask for and how we can support our request. We don't know our way around but do know "they" will offer NO help. They just report what is given them. How do we close this out to our best advantage? Bob

Thanks for your question, Bob. Depending on how long ago your wife settled this debt, it is possible that the creditor has not yet updated its information on her credit reports to show that the account has been settled and should reflect a $0 balance. Most creditors report updated information to the bureaus once a month, so your wife should pull her credit reports around 45 to 60 days after the account was paid to verify that the account is reporting accurately. You and your wife can request free copies of your credit reports by visiting

If the information for the settled account is not updated on her credit report within 45 to 60 days of the date it was settled, you should consider contacting the creditor about the inaccurate reporting. The creditor should be willing to update the information voluntarily if you point out the error; if that fails, the credit bureaus should remove the inaccurate listing if you provide proof that the account was paid. See the Federal Trade Commission document FTC Facts for Consumers: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors for more information.

As for your wife’s credit score, there is no guarantee that paying off a single account will improve her credit rating. There are simply too many factors that go into calculating a credit score to make a broad statement as to the effect of paying off any single account. If your wife is concerned about increasing her credit rating, I suggest that she take more direct action to try to rebuild her credit. For example, she should try to pay off any derogatory items that legitimately belong to her which are appearing on her credit reports. While paying off these accounts will not make them fall of her report, it should improve her credit by reducing the amount of delinquent debt reporting to the bureaus and preventing the accounts from continuing to be reported as delinquent. Once she has dealt with any derogatory accounts, she should begin paying down any other accounts, to reduce her debt to available credit ratio. You can safely carry some debt, but carrying too much debt month to month demonstrates that you are financially strapped, and should not be extended more credit. Ideally, a consumer’s ratio of debt to available credit should not exceed 33%.

If you and your wife do not already have a long, positive credit history, you should begin to build one. You can start by opening a few small credit card accounts, making charges on them, and paying off most, if not all, of the balances each month. By doing this, you will show yourself to be a responsible user of credit, and your credit score should improve with each month you continue to show a positive payment history. If you find that you cannot obtain a traditional credit card because of past credit problems, a secured credit card, in which you deposit cash in an account as collateral for the credit line, can help build a positive credit history. Again, I cannot tell you how much or how quickly opening a new credit account will improve your credit rating, but building new positive trade lines is the key to improving your credit score over the long term.

To learn more about credit and strategies to improve your credit score, I encourage you to visit the Credit Solutions and Resources page at

I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.



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Dealing with debt

Debt is used to buy a home, pay for bills, buy a car, or pay for a college education. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q1 2024 was $17.69 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.62 trillion and credit card was $1.12 trillion.

According to data gathered by from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 8% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.

The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in North Dakota, 16% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1866. Medical debt is common and 7% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $629.

To maintain an excellent credit score it is vital to make timely payments. However, there are many circumstances that lead to late payments or debt in collections. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to deal with debt including debt consolidation and debt relief solutions.



BBill, Mar, 2010
There is an old saying, "The devil is in the details," which applies here. The creditor did exactly as it said it would, but not what you expected. I surmise you expected the creditor to delete the account. Had you asked the creditor for what is known as a "pay for delete" the creditor may have agreed to do so. However, the creditor merely informed the credit reporting agencies that you had settled the account, which is accurate. If the information is accurate, it may not be deleted. If the information is not accurate, you can dispute your credit report.
hhasan, Mar, 2010
i had settlement with dell financial. they told me if i pay some amount off and they will settle my account and close it and also send copy to credit bureaus, i believed them and made a payment. now i am trying to buy a house and this thing still shows on my record stateing that" acount was setteld but not in full" so my credit score is still down to 660 cuz of this, how can i fix it. any help?
BBill, Jun, 2009
Pete, I sure hope that you insisted on a settlement offer letter before you made the payment... You will have to follow up with the creditor/collection agency that you made the payment to and make sure that they follow up with the credit bureaus and report the debt as paid. it is only they who can send the update to the credit bureaus. If you made the payment recently, then you will need to wait for about 30 days until the information gets updated. Closely monitor your credit report for the status of this account, and in case it does not get fixed, follow up with the creditor and let them know that the status is not updated. Also, make sure that you communicate them in writing and send all your letters by certified post so that you have records of all your communications with them.
PPete Graham, Jun, 2009
We settled on less amount and paid have been made. My credit report is still showing negative information. What can I do to resolve this matter.Please advice via e-mail. Thanks, Pete Graham
JJohn, Mar, 2009
Advice if Settled Debt Not Updating on Credit Report - The Blog has some great information.