any people feel that if they ignore their debts long enough, they will simply go away. While this strategy can work for a few lucky individuals, most find that their debt finds its way to the surface eventually. This typically happens when debts go into collections.
If you’ve been ignoring your debts, your lenders may decide to give your debt to a collection agency to get. While this typically means additional steps will be taken to secure that money from you, you should also know how a debt going to collections will affect your credit score.
How Does Collections Influence My Credit Score?
Your credit score is a number that represents your financial health. When you sufficiently pay off the money that you borrow, your credit score will be high. If you frequently miss payments or default on your loans, your credit score may be low.
When a debt goes into collections, it means that you were not paying the money that you owe and that you were not responsive to attempts to try and get payments from you. In other words, you’re not financially healthy.
First, your credit score will actually influence how many points you lose. If you have a high credit score, you have a much further drop. Because it is very easy to ruin a good credit score, a debt going to collections can actually cause a relatively strong credit score to drop.
Lower scores will also take a hit if debts go into collections, but because there are not as many points left to take away, the hit may be smaller. However, a lower credit score getting even lower can be extremely difficult to raise.
Another factor that will influence how the credit score is influenced by a debt going into collections is the size of the debt. If the debt is small, meaning if it is under $100, your credit score may not move at all. While it will still show up on your credit report that you had a debt go to collections, you won’t need to worry about a drop to your credit score.
On the other hand, if the debt is large, you may find that your credit score has dropped significantly. This is typically because you had been trusted to repay a large amount and did not uphold that responsibility.
Finally, your credit score may be influenced by the kind of debt that goes to collection. Certain debts, such as medical debts, can appear differently on your credit report. This means they will have a different affect on your credit score.
How to Save Your Credit Score from Collections
To prevent your credit score from dropping because a debt went to collections, always pay your debts in full and on time. Respond to lenders appropriately when they try to contact you about the money that you owe and consistently make at least the minimum payment.
If you are notified that a debt has gone to collection, contact the collection agency immediately. As the agency to verify your debt, proving that you actually owe the money that they are saying. If they are unable to validate your debt, you may not be responsible for paying it.
If the collection agency can validate your debt, pay it if you are able. The sooner you pay it off, the sooner you can get on your way to rebuilding your credit score. If you’re not able to pay the debt off in full at that time, work with the collection agency to create a payment plan that fits your needs.
You should also always check your credit report to look for loans or debts that are incorrect or you did not take out. Because incorrect debts can still go into collections, you will want to get them straightened out as soon as you can. To avoid the headache of needing to solve a false debt after it has gone to collection, find the issue before it becomes a real problem.