Payment by credit card | The bank rate

Often, the language used in credit reports can be confusing for consumers. Indictment is one of those somewhat confusing terms. Let’s take a close look at credit card debits and what they mean in terms of your credit reports and scores.

Charge-off is the term used in credit reports to mean that an account has been continuously unpaid for a sufficient period of time – typically around 180 days – and that the creditor’s accountants or regulators determine that the account will never be. reimbursed and must be. closed. Until then, the account has counted as an asset on the creditor’s balance sheet.

When deemed uncollectible, it can no longer be counted as an asset and is “debited”. While this sounds like forgiving your debt, that’s not all. Write-off is purely an accounting function that only applies to the company’s balance sheet, not your debt. You still owe the bill and they still expect you to pay it.

How Does a Write-Off Affect Your Credit Score?

In short, bad. By their very nature, chargebacks mean you haven’t paid your bills. As you know, payment history is the # 1 factor in FICO scoring and accounts for 35% of your total score. Chargebacks typically occur after about six months of non-payment. So, every month that the count falls behind, your score takes another hit. And because it’s a numbers game – going from 60 to 90, then 90 to 120 and so on – means harder hits every time. By the time an arraignment occurs, your credit score will have significant damage (after bankruptcy). Once you’ve made it through that 180th day, charging does significant damage, even if you had a good score to start with.

Do you still have to pay?

Once an account is debited, your debt will likely be forgiven to a third party or to an outside collection. If this happens, your credit report will reflect a zero balance on the write-off, probably with a note saying “sold to” or “transferred to” and the name of the collection agency. You will also have a new line called “collections” which shows the balance owed, a note on the account indicating “transferred from” or “sold to” and the name of the collection agency.

Let me be very clear here: billing a balance does not relieve you of your responsibility to pay. It can change who you owe, but it doesn’t erase your debt or charges. In addition, interest may continue to accumulate.

As long as there is an amount listed under the charge-off, you can contact the original creditor to make payment arrangements. But once it goes to collections, you will probably have to work with the collector. Also, you should know that once a charge-off occurs, it will remain on your credit report for seven years after the date of the original default or first default, whether or not you pay it off.

The same goes for collections, which are treated as an extension of your loan from the original creditor and will be deleted at the same time in seven years. Some future lenders may view a paid deduction rating more favorably, which is a good reason to find a way to pay off the debt. Either way, you will still owe money.

You should know that FICO 9 and VantageScore 3.0 ignore paid collections in their algorithms. But you should also know that the old versions are still used by many, so you cannot rely on them. But remember that future lenders may look more favorably on a cancellation that has been paid.

Can you still get a credit card after a direct debit?

You will likely still be able to get a credit card after a withdrawal, but you may be charged higher interest rates and fees. There is no law that says creditors should offer you credit. Each lender will look at your situation from their own perspective and tolerance for risk. What they decide to give you – if at all – is entirely theirs.

If all else fails, you can apply for a secured credit card to get you back into the credit card game. Using your own money as collateral, these cards look and work the same as any other credit card. If you must go this route, be sure to choose a card that relates to the credit bureaus so that the work you do to improve your creditworthiness is noted.

How to recover from credit score damage

As with anything related to credit reports and scores, adding positive data to your credit report after you’ve caused damage is the best way to recover. It starts with paying all of your bills on time, every time. I highly recommend finding a way to reimburse the fees you have. Again, while this will still matter to you for a while, future lenders will see that you have worked to fix it.

Also, monitor your credit card usage on any accounts you still have open and try to reduce your usage to less than 25%. The lower you can go, the better your score will be. And don’t close your old accounts unless you have to.

See if you can diversify your credit mix by adding an account with a fixed payment if you only have credit cards. But be careful here, as you only need to open new accounts when needed.

Here’s where something like a passbook loan can be a good solution, as you won’t go into debt to establish another line of credit on your credit reports. Just like with a secured credit card, you’ll want to make sure that the loan issuer reports to the credit bureaus before choosing this route.

The bottom line

As much as possible, you should avoid write-offs and resulting recoveries. If you need help paying your credit card, don’t wait to contact your creditor and ask them about a hardship program. While this is usually a short-term solution, it could be the answer that will save you from facing arraignment in your future.

Have a question about Steve’s credit score? Send him a message on the Ask Bankrate Experts page.

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