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Settlement Paid in Full

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Daniel Cohen
UpdatedApr 26, 2011

Will paying a delinquent account in full have a greater impact on my credit score than a smaller settlement amount?

I was wondering the difference between "Settlement paid in full" and "Settlement paid, but not in full". I am debating whether to pay off my debt in full or to just take the 60% settlement offer. The account was under dispute for quite some time and I need to know how big of an impact it will have on my credit score/report if I pay in full or just accept the settlement? This is the only blemish on my credit report. All my other accounts are in good standing so please tell me what I should do. Thanks!

This account damaged your credit report the moment it became delinquent. Your resolving the debt by paying the full balance due or a settlement for 60 cents on the dollar makes no difference to the algorithms behind the FICO score, Vantage Score, or PLUS Score. None detect the amount of the settlement, whether it be 10%, 60%, or 100% of the amount due.

In other words, pay the settlement amount.

FICO, PLUS Score, and Vantage Score are calculated using mathematical methods that incorporate credit history, amount of credit used and available, number of late and on-time payments, whether any payments due are in default, and other variables. The credit report lists specific accounts and financial history that go into the credit score. The proponents of FICO, PLUS Score, and Vantage Score claim their scores are superior to the competition at predicting future consumer behavior. These claims are unsubstantiated. Regardless, FICO is the go-to score most mortgage and vehicle finance companies use when calculating a consumer's credit score.

Factors in a 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

Payment history counts for approximately 35% of a score. It 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

Total debt and total available credit 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

Length of positive credit history 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

Mix of types of credit 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. New credit applications

The number of new credit applications you have recently completed 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 calculate your own credit score accurately, you can review your credit report on the five factors 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.

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



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