Your credit scores take a hit if you fall behind on payments to a creditor, and again if an account is sent to the creditor’s collection department or sold to a third-party collector. You may be able to repair some damage to your scores by resolving a collections account on your credit reports.
Collections accounts generally stick to your credit reports for seven years from the point the account first went delinquent. You may want them off sooner than that; unpaid collections always hurt your scores. And while newer versions of FICO and VantageScore credit scores ignore paid collections, many lenders still use older formulas that count even paid collections against you.
There are a few ways to get a collections account off your credit report, depending on your relationship with the creditor and the account status.
First, do your homework
Get information on the debt from two places: your credit reports and your own records.
You can get a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by using AnnualCreditReport.com. You can see your TransUnion credit report at NerdWallet as often as you like.
Gather your own records for details on the account, including its age and your payment history.
Between the two, verify these details:
Account status (paid, charged off, closed)
The date the debt went delinquent and was never again brought up to date