Bankruptcy is viewed as the absolute worse thing on the credit rating.
Medical bills, even delinquent ones, are not looked at as harshly as an unpaid mortgage, credit card, auto loans, etc. I don’t know why, but they are not. Maybe someone can offer some insight into that one.
It is best to make a settlement offer and get it in writing BEFORE you pay a cent on the debts. You need documentation. After you pay (get a cashier’s check from your bank – easy for the bank to trace for you), make a copy of the cashier’s check, the letter from the creditor stating the amount and then send one copy of both of these to each of the three credit reporting agencies. Send them priority mail with a delivery confirmation.
You need to notify the credit reporting agencies because the companies will take their time.
You need to supply copies so they know that you were only asked to pay $ xxx.xx amount and not the full balance reported, also that you paid what was requested in writing.
Document, document, copy, copy, copy. Get signatures. The priority mail is required to get delivery confirmation. Time is important. Esp. if you are doing this to get a mortgage, car loans, etc. and need to document that the situation was taken care of in a timely matter. You can prove that you paid the exact amount that was asked of you in a timely manner.
P.S. From what I know, if the item is true, there is no way to get around the 7 years of reporting. As I said before, the credit report is there for your creditors, not for you. Guess who they work harder to benefit?
Every bit of the credit will stay on your credit report for at least 7 years
Every bit of the credit will stay on your credit report for at least 7 years, good or bad. It’s the law.
It shows your history. When you “settle”, your credit report reflects that. It is better than a charge off, which means you did not pay. Settling means that you paid for less than the full balance. Not the best, but better than not paying.
You will most likely be able to get a new cell phone contract, if you want, but they will require a deposit (a couple hundred dollars most likely). Or you can go with the pay as you go type of cell phone.
The only thing that truly helps your credit is to (1) pay on time and (2) wait it out. You need to repair the damage as much as possible, by paying what you owe.
Credit reports are not there for you. They are there for your potential creditors to look at your payment history and use of credit in the past (how did you do with other companies and their money) before they decide whether or not to take a chance on lending you money (extending you credit), what interest rate to stick you with, the terms, the down payments (deposits) required, etc. The whole thing is there for them, not for you.
That said, you must make the record as accurate as possible. Get anything negative removed 7 years after the last activity. Put it in writing, send it registered mail to each of the three major credit bureaus (they all have separate info and scores, depending on how the companies do their reporting) and keep copies of everything. Bankruptcy is allowed to stay for up to 10 years on your record before it will be removed.
The 7 years is from the last activity, not when the account was opened.
Thanks for the good information!
I have a follow-up question. I have several charge-offs, and 2 credit cards that will charge off if I miss one more payment. I could settle with one and keep paying the other.
So, the charge-offs stay on my credit report for 7 years, right? So that’s not different than filing bankruptcy in terms of length of time and how bad it looks on my credit report. Right? Or maybe BK is 10 years.
In addition to that, I have:
One card I could settle.
Another card with a balance of $12,000 that I continue to pay off.
Plus there are medical bills for about $1100.
And back taxes of about $8000. ( I know I have to pay those).
Will my credit report be worse for a longer period of time if I don’t file BK?
My income is very low and I am also applying for disability. This is an enormous amount of pressure, needless to say. I want to know if there is any advantage to my credit rating if I don’t file BK. I understand the joy of paying everything off. But if there is no advantage to my credit rating, and I’m disabled, then BK may be the route I need to take.
I have a question in regards to loan companies. we own our house – its paid for – have no real payments. but our credit stinks. now when the hurricanes came through 2 years ago, we got hit with the eyes of all three hurricanes, over our house. got slight roof damage, for which the insurance paid us a pittance. got a leaky roof over our room addition, which is not hurricane related.
The roof over the room addition is sheetmetal, and over the house wood + shingles. its old and needs replacing.
Do you have any suggestions to a fair lending company, for a home improvement loan?? we would like to replace the roof, convert the carport into an extra room and the beatup front porch into a permanent glassed in Florida room. it would give us a whole lot more living space. we have 6 people living in a house that has less than 1000 sq ft. and no storage/ closet space to talk of.
Home equity loan??
I would appreciate suggestions and hopefully a good company that would approve a loan for us.
Have you considered cash advance instead of home equity loan? If you need just a small amount of money (up to $1000) in my opinion you should choose payday loan from this US cash advance service. Another great website is AlliedCash.com. I used both of them and had only good experience.
I have a lot of credit card debt, owe for a cell phone that is now shut off, and a dept store card.
I’m paying off the dept store card this month. My understanding is they will reinstate it. I want that just so I have some sort of credit to use around holidays. But I won’t get into debt with it.
I want to pay off the cell phone because I need a cell phone. But I’m not sure if they’ll give me another contract. Will they?
The credit cards are a lot – about $28,000. One of them will settle I only have to pay 20% of the balance. Very good deal.
That would leave me with $24,000 of debt, and those cards are charged off.
My big questions:
can I save my dept store card and get a cell phone?
is it worth settling the one card? i’d still have a lot of debt and lousy credit.
I guess I want to know if my credit rating gets a little better each time I settle an account instead of paying tiny amounts over years. Or, do settled accounts look bad and stay on your credit report for years?
A friend advised that I file for bankruptcy because it’s a faster way to better credit. Is that true?
I would really recommend you go to www.daveramsey.com and get started on his baby step. The first step is to get current on all your past due bills and make a budget. Once that is done, then you focus on putting $500-$1000 in the bank for emergencies. You know it is an emergency when it is something you can’t anticipate like: car repairs or pet emergency or medical expenses. The reason you need this savings is so you won’t be tempted to charge on credit cards again and get bogged down in debt. Also you may get $500 payday loan very fast – but don’t use them too often.
You really need to find another way to pay for holiday gifts. The holiday comes the same time every year, so you have a whole year to plan. For example: if you spend $600 for Christmas, then take $20/week and put it in your savings account. That way you will have it all saved up and there will be no need to use your credit card! Won’t that be a good feeling to pay cash for the holidays!?
Once your cell phone is paid for, you should be able to get another one. If you can settle with the credit card companies, I would do that. They will “forgive” the rest of the debt. It will show on your account as a settled charge off. It is much better to have a “settled” charge off than just a charge off. Your credit rating will improve and you will be debt free that much faster!
You don’t say what your income is or other expenses like car payments or rent. This will make a lot of difference in how fast you pay off your debt and get on the road to financial freedom. Wouldn’t it be great to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank instead of having credit card debt?! If you want to be debt free and have that money for yourself instead of sending to your creditors every month, you have to get intense about paying it off.
Well, I figured that if I can help establish his credit, he’ll be less likely to open a bunch of accounts just to get a credit history. This would have to go along with us teaching him financial responsibility. I’ve learned a lot of things in the last several years and am working on getting out of debt. Let’s face it, he’ll need credit to rent a car, hotel room, apartment or buy a house.
Also, now insurance companies and employers are looking at credit reports to see how stable you are. An employer will look more favorably to someone with good credit than with no credit history or credit score. My mom never taught me financial responsibility Being a single mom, she barely made enough to support us 3 kids. My dad gave her minimal child support. She is still not good with her money.
That being said, I went crazy my first year of college and ended up filing BK when I was 22 years old. That was 16 years ago and even though I have debt now, I am more responsible with it, have no problem paying the bills and slowly getting out of debt We just bought a house, so it set me back a little. So, if my son can learn good financial habits, have the credit history to get him through college, I am hoping he won’t find the need to get a bunch of credit cards.
Like I said, it could backfire and bite me in the butt, but I am following the advice of a financial guru (Suze Orman) who says it is a good idea to do this for your children. Dave Ramsey says no credit ever, but not everyone has thousands of dollars sitting in the bank at age 18 either.
I have lived without a credit card for many years. If I do get one someday it will be with USAA. They answer to their members, not shareholders like these other financial instituions do.
Makes a big difference!
Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for membership with USAA. You can find out if you are eligible though by going to USAA’s website. www.usaa.com
It’s almost entirely for military and family , but I know someone who works for the FBI who is a member and has no connection with the military. I know others who are members because a parent remarried someone in the military. It could pay to find out if you are eligible for membership. Their service and prices are second to none .
On a differnt note, the book MAXED OUT is on sale now. I got my copy yesterday and have read about half. It’s an intersting, informative book.
I also have Suze Ormans new book about women and money. Anyone read it? I’m going to finish Maxed Out first and then read Suze O.
I got out of that with ‘London Financial’ after months of sending them money and putting up with the nasty calls from creditors.
I pulled out and they sent me most of my money back (Short of their $50.00 fee per month …for doing nothing) and I made payments, dealt with another, got the collection agency on my back, but at least THEY took lower payments… and I am almost paid entirely off to them now, Paid off 5 other debts through the years and after May, I will have 2 bigger (But non-delinquent) debts left to pay off.
Deal with them yourself. Debt management places only save your money, getting the interest and ‘fees’ while YOU are left to hold the bag on the phone calls for years.
In the Debt Management/settlement industry there are a lot of fly by night companies, but there are some that have a legitimate stake in assisting the clients.
The success of a program like that is based highly upon your location and determination to get out of debt. The industry as a whole settles debts for 40-50% of the balance owed and the good comapnies are going to charge you about 15% of your debt.
The industry is NOT for everyone. It is a tough process to go through as you do get late pays reported (which can ultimately be removed) but to look at the big picture, it was your “good credit” that helped get you in that situation.
Look for a company that has been around, and for one that does not hold your funds. In most states that has become illegal and several Management/settlement compamies are behind on the times. Try to find one that will provide you with copies of previous settlements and a rep that takes the time to listen to your situation and not just sell you for a commission in their pocket.
Also, many debt management programs aren’t very good but CCCS of Atlanta is very reputable and will help you get out of debt. They are a non-profit organization and you will not have to pay off your accounts in a lump sum. They will get your rates reduced and you will pay a monthly fee and they will also send you a monthly statement of what was paid where. Check out cccsatl.org. Anyone in the US can use them. You don’t have to live in Atlanta.
I highly recommend this for people with interest rates over 18%. It m y be your only hope to get out of debt.
NO! I am working on getting us out of one as it has totally screwed up our credit because you actually stop paying your creditors and pay the DM company to settle with the creditors. The problem with the one we are with is that they started settling with our creditors and before we had anything saved to pay them with. Once you settle then the creditor wants their money now in lump sums. It’s too much of a headache. You are better off working with your creditors yourself.
But in general I think it depends on the company.
Some companies do what is described here, and nothing goes in to your creditors until so much is built up. According to everything I have read in Consumer Reports, Money, Kiplingers, etc. this is a SCAM and set up to really screw you. The reason is that the creditors are not getting anything, just reporting you as late/non-paying.
I have known people who have worked with Consumer Credit Counseling Service (through Lutheran Social Services, I think) – you don’t have to be Lutheran. They help everyone. You pay them a set amount for your bills, but they send the money to your creditors every single month. Up front, the creditors agree to take a particular amount of money and you know up front what is going to the creditors. It will still take years most likely to dig yourself out, and the accounts will not be available to you to use until the program you enter is complete, but the people I have known that did it stopped the collection calls, the harassment, and were able to sleep at night.
You still get a statement each month from the creditors, so you can keep track of things and verify that your payments have been made. The creditors get paid only once a month on the date that CCCS negotiates with them, so when you make your payment, that’s it. They will not charge you for being late, past due, etc.
There are legitimate companies out there willing to help you dig out of the hole and there are scam artists out there, no matter how “legit” they look.
You can do it on your own, but it takes discipline and a determination to do it. Can you stop using the accounts long enough to make a difference. I have been reading that Dave Ramsey book, the Total Money Makeover – get it for free from your local library – and the debt snowball makes sense.
What is the best way to negotiate with credit card companies? Does anyone know how they deal with different situations? If I can’t pay is it better to wait and be 90 days late before I start trying to talk down the debt? Will they really cut your debt if you work out a payment plan? Any info is appreciated. Thanks
I have a credit card w/ capital one. I missed to payments. I told them I was going through a financial hardship. They gave me two months w/free APR no interest. That was better than nothing. I ended up taking advantage and payed off my entire balance.
I say the best way to solve this is to try to come up with the money to start paying off the debt and to not go into debt further. Can you sell some assets or borrow money from family or friends? Focus on the positive, not the negative. Thanks.
I would prefer to take the classes at Lowe’s or Home Depot
I have decided to get the living room, dining room and kitchen done right away. Part of the family room will need to be done as well, but we are thinking of “patching” that, like a 6′ x 6′ area that is really destroyed and not the whole floor at once, depending on the cost.
The kitchen and dining room are connected, and I am leaning towards getting tile put in there. The living room, I would like pergo type flooring, maybe in bamboo, then top with an area rug.
The way our home is done, we enter the dining room from the garage. So, whatever is there will get lots of wear and tear. Right now, it has wall to wall light beige carpeting. Remember, we go in and out of this area repeatedly every single day entering our garage. Imagine what it looks like!!!!!!!! Whatever were the previous owners thinking????????????????????????????????
At this moment, I would prefer to take the classes at Lowe’s or Home Depot and install the tile ourselves. That would save us a lot of money on labor costs alone. Every now and then, I get completely fed up with looking at it and consider just having the people there do the whole job, just to have it over and done with, since I am tired of looking at the carpet and I am tired of cleaning it. I so want the wall to wall carpet in this house gone like yesterday!!!!!
here is a good video on tile installation:
However, we will work on it room by room. The dining room has to be done sooner than later and the kitchen should be done at the same time, just for consistency sake. The living room can wait awhile. The family room needs to be done because the carpet is destroyed and we spend a lot of time there. We have to wait for the dog’s departure before spending the money on it though or it is going to be a complete waste.
Carpeting, if complete wall to wall, we will hire someone to do it.
If just patching the area, we will do it ourselves and use the carpet seaming tape and iron the area. DIY network walks you through it step by step. Not that hard to do. I feel that we can do it.
DuPont flooring, a laminate also much like the name-brand PERGO has the underlayment included so you just put it down. No need to lay a foam under it.
I stripped up 20+ years old carpet and painted my concrete slab throughout the house. I am going to think of new floor …like vinyl tiles… in the early summer. I only need to fill in some pock marks and level down some bumps in the floor slab to make tiles or whatever look good.
That collector has only to get $550.00 more, and then I am free of them… That’s what I’ll buy the vinyl tiles with after a couple of months… Paying cash for the tiles and Baseboards. At least for my room. Then, after a couple of months more, will get the hall and front done. I’m hoping by next Christmas to have my flooring all done.
I know a contractor up the street who will do it for cheap, and he’s good. But, for those who do not know a contractor, check with neighbourhood volunteer things and Senior centers. Semi-retirees sometimes take odd jobs for folks for a stipend to augment their pensions, but they’re not “OLD”, they are usually a year or two out of their old jobs and need activity. Some churches also have volunteer groups to help neighbours out for a smaller than average fee if you buy the materials.
I just read that Cap One is one of the worst CC companies
I just read that Cap One is one of the worst CC companies for making money off late fees and over the limit fees. They give customers multiple cards with lower limits and they count on them getting maxed out and paid late. I personally have 3 Cap One cards that I now want to get paid off as soon as possible and get rid of just because of their way of doing business.
I must agree w/you. I do not plan to use my ever again but It would not be a good idea for me to close the card b/c it will look bad on my credit report.
I know what you are saying. I have been married to a military man for over 22 years and that is why I am a member of USAA. We are currently getting a divorce, but I can keep my USAA membership. We always kept our finances separate and I never thought of banking with USAA. My husband never mentioned much about them. To me they were where we had the insurance which my husband always paid for.
When he moved out I had to get my own policies and found out so much about USAA so now do all of my banking there. I honestly feel like I have been saved from the sharks at Bank Of America. I never had any problems with them as far as checking but since I didn’t have direct deposit, I always had to keep a high balance in my checking acount in order to avoid a monthly fee.
From what I have read a Credit Union is also a good place to bank if you can join one. Other than that, one just has to be so careful. Some of these financial institutions are just outrageous and what is even more outrageous is the US Government who allows them to get by with so much. Read the book Maxed Out. You can probably get it at a library if you don’;t want to buy a copy.
To be honest – I would love to live totally without credit cards. I am using them much, much less than in the past. My goal is to pay off all of the debts as soon as possible and find other ways to live.
We are thinking of buying carpet & floor tiles for our home soon. We must replace what is currently there, which has been entirely destroyed by an aging dog, but that’s another story. Anyhow, we are thinking of going over to Lowe’s or Home Depot or one of our local flooring places for the stuff. We have not gone yet, even to look. Anybody know what the finance rates/payments are like for these places? I am thinking that it may be better to just finance it somehow instead of opening a credit card account through one of the stores, which being an independent department store, are usually around 26% or so. Ridiculous.
Are you planning to install flooring or hire someone? I know Home Depot uses Citibank, but not sure if they have their own finance deal. Not sure about Lowes. What kind of flooring are you looking for?
Depending on my situation in the next 6 months I want to replace all the flooring on the main floor of this house and the stairway going upstairs. My neighbor has Pergo and likes it. I know there are other faux wood floorings now so I am going to check around. I want the whole main floor to be laminate. I’ll get some area rugs where needed. I’m hoping to find someone who will do this as a side job and not charge be as much as a co would.