How to Find Out Which Collection Agency You Owe

If you've ever been delinquent on a debt, there's a good chance it will eventually end up with a collection agency, and if it does, you'll want to know which one is after you.

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This post will show you how to find out which collection agency is after you and how to build credit after delinquency.

How to Determine the Collection Agency Owning Your Debt

1. Check Your Credit Report

Most collection agencies will report their account to the credit bureaus, so checking your credit report is a good way to determine which collection agency has your debt. 

If you see an account on your credit report that you don’t recognize, it could be that a collection agency is trying to collect on the debt. The credit report will list the collection agency's name and contact information.

2. Contact Creditors Directly

You can also try contacting your creditors directly to ask if they have sold your debt to a collection agency. Remember that even if they have, they may not be willing to give you the information. If you’re unsure who to contact, you can find the customer service number for your creditor on your monthly statement, or you can look up the creditor’s information online.

Once you have the collection agency’s contact information, you can reach out and ask them to verify that they own your debt.

3. Wait for Them to Contact You

If you’re unsure who currently owns your debt, you can wait for a collection agency to contact you. They will eventually get in touch if they think you owe a debt—at that point, you can confirm that they own the debt.

Of course, this could take a long time and in the meantime, the collection agency may report the debt to the credit bureaus, damaging your credit score, so this option is rarely ideal.

4. Go Through Your Voicemail

Collection agencies usually leave a voicemail message with their name and contact information when they call you about a debt. Check your voicemail to see if you have missed calls from collection agencies. 

Of course, some agencies may not bother, or they may only leave a general message without giving their contact information, so this option isn’t foolproof.

How to Build Credit After Delinquency

Rebuilding your credit after delinquency can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few steps you can take to improve your credit score:

  • Pay your bills on time. This is the most important factor in your credit score, so be sure to pay all your bills on time.

  • Keep your credit balances low. Another factor in your credit score is your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit. Keep your balances below 30% of your credit limit to improve your ratio.

  • Avoid opening new credit accounts. When you open a new credit account, your credit score takes a small dip, so if you’re trying to rebuild your credit, avoid opening new accounts.

  • Pay off your debt. This will help improve your credit utilization ratio and show creditors that you’re serious about rebuilding your credit.

  • Consider getting a secured credit card. A secured credit card is one that requires a deposit, which becomes your credit limit. This can be a good option if you’re having trouble getting approved for a traditional credit card.

Does a Debit Card Build Credit?

A debit card is linked to your bank account and can be used to withdraw cash or make purchases, while a credit card is a loan that must be repaid with interest if you don’t pay your balance in full each month. Using a debit card doesn’t help your credit score because it’s not reported to the credit bureaus. 

How Does Your Credit Score Go Down

Your credit score can go down for several reasons, including:

  • If you miss a payment or make a late payment, your credit score will go down–one of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. 

  • Another factor in your credit score is your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit. If you have high balances on your credit cards, it can hurt your score.

  • When you apply for new credit, the lender will do a hard inquiry on your credit report. This can temporarily lower your score by a few points.

  • Closing an account can lower your credit score by reducing your overall credit limit.

  • If you default on a loan, it will have a major negative impact on your credit score.

In Conclusion

You can find out who owns your debt by contacting your creditors or the collection agencies that are trying to collect your debt. You can also check your credit report to see who is listed as the creditor for your debt. Once you know who owns your debt, you can negotiate with them to try and settle the debt for less than you owe.

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