Bills Logo

R9 Charge Off & Credit Rating

Mark Cappel
UpdatedNov 6, 2007

When shopping for a car I was told that I have an R9 from old credit card. Can I clean my credit report?

When shopping for a car I was told that I have an R9 from old credit card. The card was canceled over a $25 late fee from 1.5 years ago (which is now $125 from interest). I spoke with the credit card company several times back in 2006 and was told that the charge would be pulled off my bill. I have been going in circles between the credit company and the collection agency today to try and dispute the charges. My credit has taken a large dip because of the R9. Would it make any difference (to my credit score) by just paying the collection company? Or would the R9 still be there?

If you pay the R9 account, the record of the delinquency will still remain on your credit report!

An "R9" status (frequently called a charge-off) is a credit report status that represents a trade-line that is severely delinquent (more than 6 months behind) and is a "ding" on your credit report. If it is inaccurate and you pay the account off, the trade-line will simply say closed or paid in full, but the history of delinquency will remain.

If the account is indeed inaccurate, you should contest the accuracy of the report directly with the three largest credit bureaus and petition to have it removed.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all trade lines can be reported on each of the credit bureaus. However, the reporting agencies must update and keep accurate data in their credit files. If there is erroneous information (like a collection account, that you believe is inaccurate), you must notify them (typically through a certified letter) and then wait one reporting cycle (90 days) for the errors to be removed.

Three major credit bureaus offer credit reports. Contact them directly if there is something that you want added or removed:

Since you are asking about credit updates, you might also be interested in how your credit score is calculated. Your credit rating is calculated based on several variables, including: your payment history (do you have any late payments, charge-offs, etc.), the amount and type of debt that you owe, if you have maxed out any of your trade lines, and then several other secondary factors like the length of your credit history and how many recent inquiries have been made to look at your credit history. Paying off delinquent or maxed out trade-lines will almost always help your credit score.

There are five key factors that go into calculating your credit score, with certain items carrying more weight than others. These factors are as follows:

  1. Payment history, which counts for approximately 35% of your score, is the most heavily weighted factor used in calculating your credit score. Consistently paying your bills on time has a positive influence on your score, while late or missed payments will hurt you in this area. If you have delinquent payments, the older the delinquency the less the negative impact on your score will be. Collection accounts and bankruptcy filings are also taken into consideration when analyzing your payment history.
  2. Total debt and total available credit, which counts for about 30%. This section looks at how much debt you have compared to the total available credit on your accounts. If all of your accounts are maxed out, you will be considered a poor credit risk, because it appears that you are struggling to pay off the debt you have already incurred. If your account balances are relatively low compared to your available credit, this part of the risk analysis should help your overall credit score. The score calculation also looks at these two factors independently. Having too much available credit, whether you have used it or not, could hurt your credit score, as statistical studies have shown that people with excessive amounts of available credit are a higher credit risk. Unfortunately, the bureaus do not define exactly what they consider excessive, so best tip is to use credit conservatively and to keep your debt to credit limit ratio low.
  3. Length of positive credit history, which counts for about 15%. The longer you maintain accounts in good standing, the better your score will be. This shows that you are able to make a long-term commitment to a creditor and are consistently responsible about making your payments.
  4. Mix of types of credit, which counts for approximately 10%. Having several different types of credit, such a credit cards, consumer loans, and secured debt, will have a positive influence on your credit score. Having too much of one type of credit can have a negative impact.
  5. The number of new credit applications you have recently completed, which accounts for about 10% of your score. Applying for too much new credit in a short time period makes indicates that you could be credit risk, as you may be desperately trying to keep your head above water. The models make an exception for people who are shopping around for a loan, so if you are simply applying to see who can give you the best rate on a new loan, you need not worry too much about damaging your credit score.

While you cannot realistically calculate your own credit score, you can review your credit report for on the five factors I named above to get an idea of whether the accounts listed on your credit report are hurting or helping your credit score. You can then take action to improve any potential problems, such as paying down your balances or paying off collection items.

Also, factors such as age, sex, income, and length of employment, have no direct affect on your credit score, and are not considered when the bureaus calculate your score. Keep in mind that for most lenders, your credit score is only one aspect, albeit an important one, of your overall "credit worthiness," meaning the creditor’s view of your ability to repay a loan. Your income, for example, is not considered in the calculation of your FICO score, but most lenders will ask you what you earn to analyze your ability to repay the loan. Even if you have an 800 FICO score, if your income is only $10,000/year, a lender will probably not loan you a large sum of money, because despite your past credit habits as measured by your FICO score, the lender can see that you probably cannot afford to repay the loan.

If you would like to learn more about credit reports, credit scoring, and what it means to you, I encourage you to explore the wealth of material offered by the Credit Information page.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.




SSergio Sernani, Dec, 2023
HI Bill, I'm in canada and I had an HSBC credit card of about $4,000 that went into collections. I paid the collections agency with a settlement (bit more than half of the amount) and of course it shows R9 credit on my report. I have no other collections but I do have 2 (30 days) late car loan payments early in 2023 (came from join account and I was a cosigner in the car loan). I have been really good with payments and never been late with my other 5+ years old credit card account. Realistically how hard would it be to get approved for another credit card having an R9 rating? My current one (5+ years old) has a pretty low limit, no late or missed payments whatsoever and never carry a balance, always paid in full, but I can't get them to increase the limit and I am afraid to apply for another credit card and get rejected. That would only hurt my credit score and leave a hard inquiry. Last time i did, I applied for a credit limit increase, was a hard inquiry during summer 2022 and got denied. Any suggestions? Thanks
LLou, Dec, 2013
I'm currently trying to negotiate with a credit card debt for settlement less than full. I've expressed to the creditor that tax liens and liability have put me in this position. I've offered to settle the debt but asked that they mark this paid in full and not R9 - they say they can't do this. I understand no matter I will get a 1099, but I don't want the R9 figuring it's better to settle with me rather than charge-off to a collection agency. How do I get them to agree to this?
BBill, Dec, 2013
The creditor is supposed to report accurate information, so reporting that the debt was paid in full when it was not would not be appropriate. If they are not willing to settle until after the debt charges off, then the charge-off will appear on your credit report.

Make sure to check with a competent tax preparer if you get a 1099-R, to see if you can avoid declaring the forgiven debt as income by using the IRS Form 982.
LLee, Apr, 2012
I had a capital one credit card account that was charged off four years ago and sent to a collections attorney who garnished my wages. The last remaining balance was garnished in November 2011. It is now April 2012 and the account is still being reported by capital one as charge-off with a past due balance. There is nothing on my report showing that the wages were garnished or even sent to the attorney. How can I go about disputing this or can it not be disputed?
BBill, Apr, 2012
If your original creditor sold the account to a collection agency, then their charge-off will remain for the 7 ½ years. You can try to dispute this item, although only inaccurate items need to be removed. If your wages were garnished, then there should be a public judgment against you reported on your credit report. If the account was not sold, then send a dispute letter in order to rectify the reporting of the account as settled, paid in full.
LLorena, Oct, 2011
I have a "settled/less than full balance" on my credit report. I "settled" the account in October 2009 but I noticed that monthly they update it, as recent as last week (October 10). Shouldn't they stop reporting that when the account was settled? Should I dispute this so that I can get credit for the year that it's been on the report?
BBill, Oct, 2011
Under the FCRA, the clock starts running at the date of first delinquency and expires 7½ years later. What is reported by the creditor in the meantime, or when, is of little consequence. If the 7½-year deadline has passed, then by all means dispute the debt.
DD.J., Oct, 2011
I got a call from a company saying that I owed them just under $3,000 for a credit card I had with Citibank that was charged off in 2001. Obviously it has been over 10 years since I had that card and my current credit reports show no delinquency on any accounts and have my score being 766 (at last look on So my question is obviously it appears as if this card is no longer on my score or it would be lower. If I decide to pay it off does that hurt me more in that it would "reopen" the account as it were? Can I just tell them to piss off to keep from opening up a new can of worms?
BBill, Oct, 2011
Most derogatory entries must be removed from a consumer's credit report 7 years after the date of first delinquency. (The reporting times for bankruptcies, federal student loans, and judgments are longer.) The rule I mentioned is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and is a federal law. Follow the link I just mentioned to learn more about the FCRA.

On to your questions: 1. There is no evidence to suggest that paying an ancient debt that no longer appears on a consumer's credit report will improve the consumer's credit rating. There is no evidence to suggest the contrary, too. 2. The collection agent may continue to ask a consumer to pay an old debt even though it does not appear on the consumer's credit report. The collection agent may continue to ask a consumer to pay an old debt even though the consumer's statute of limitations has passed (except in Wisconsin).

You can pay the debt, if you wish, or tell the collection agent to cease communications with you.