For around the last 5 years I've been struggling with debt, not making good financial decisions, and not enough income.
Almost a year ago, I finally landed a job with a good income and have been catching up on things I've needed but still haven't been paying on debt or collections. Last week, I finally found myself in a good spot to start paying off my collection accounts.
Most of my collection accounts are 3, 4, 5 years old. I have up to 9 collection accounts with all 3 bureaus. I'm planning on settling for less than owed on all of them.
Can anyone provide any advice on how to increase my credit going forward? Other than the obvious, start paying your bills on time now? Should I pay off all my debt and then apply for a secured card? Should I get the secured card now if I can?
Ideally, I'd like to buy a home in the next 1-2 years but I know I absolutely have to pay off all my collections before I'll be able to do that. Anyway, I'm finally glad to be on the journey of being debt free.
Your arguments are well thought-out and make valid points. I suggest that you try to obtain the secure card as soon as possible, but please note that it may be difficult with 9 CO. Could you please share how many HP you currently have?
If you can settle for the full amount, I would do so. And try to "pay for delete" from all 3 bureaus.
Others should confirm what I said--that a notation which reflects you settled for less would make you look worse than settling for the full debt. And probably slow down your credit score recovery at least somewhat.
Paid collections are almost as bad as unpaid collections, or collections settled for less--but they make your overall credit file look better to any loan officer.
You would have to pay the collection, anyway, to get a mortgage.
Yes to the secured card.
The biggest thing to take care of if you're trying to improve your credit and eventually qualify for a mortgage in the near future would be to take care of the charge offs as they're going to remain on your file for another couple of years (at least). If you could list the CAs these accounts are held by, others will chime in as to which of them may, or may not do a pay for delete. That would a great start if you can get some of those removed from your reports after paying them off. At the same time, to start off with I'd try to get two cards if you can and obviously use them responsibly ( keep your reported usage low, 4.9% or under) and keep them in good standing for 6 months before trying to add a 3rd account, this will help improve your scores and file overall, and hopefully start you off on getting to where you want to be with your credit.
So far, I've paid 2 collections and settled for less than the full amount. When I made the payment, there was a note saying that they would request that their collection account be deleted from all bureaus. I wouldn't have settled without talking to them first if I hadn't seen this message to delete. The 3rd collection I'm planning on paying also states that they will request their account be removed from all 3 reports.
With the collection agencies willing to delete their accounts even with a settlement for less than full, should I still consider paying the full amount?
There are a few accounts with charges offs that are not reporting as collections as well.
CA's I'm dealing with are Jefferson Capital Systems, Resurgent, and True Accord so far. There are others but since I cannot pay those yet, I haven't even identified them as of yet.
I'm also paying Love, Beal, and Nixon for a car repo from 5 years ago. This is currently an agreed upon judgement. Will attorney offices agree to settle for a less amount if they already have a judgment or will I need to pay the full judgement?
I have one account, Cash Central, that said they would delete once they were paid off. Unfortunately, I don't have the proof in writing they agreed to it. So...they are refusing to do it now. Make sure you have proof.
Few points. A couple CA's you listed do PFD. No CA will send proof of deletion due to its against the contracts with the CRA to report accurately. CO's wont be deleted if PIF. If ytou can settle all thats left. you'll save $ because settle or paid its has to reflrct a $0 balance. Once all the CO's are settled you'll see a score change and the monthly updating will cease. The CA's that dont PFD will stay until they fall off just like the CO's. Either way you'll want $0 balance across the board when it comes to home buying time. congrats on the 180 to get back on track.