Disputes and Collections

If you see an account in collections on your credit report, you’re not alone. 89 million U.S. consumers also experience this. If you’re in this situation, please consider the following:

  • Collections can come from the original creditor or a third party agency that’s contracted by that creditor. If you don’t recognize the account, contact the company listed on your credit report.
  • Even if you paid off a collections account, it will appear on your report for up to 7 years. An exception is medical debt, which is removed from your credit report when paid in full.
  • Use our interactive tool to learn more about how collections appear on your credit report.


How does medical debt appear on my credit report?

  • Paid medical debt does not appear on credit reports.
  • Unpaid medical debt will not appear on your credit report for a year from the date of the original delinquency. This gives you time to work with your insurance or healthcare providers to address the debt before it is reported on your credit file.
  • Medical collection debt under $500 does not appear on credit reports. 
  • Some states have additional laws regarding medical debt. 

How did this happen?

It’s possible that you missed a notice or a call from a creditor. Medical bills and utilities are two common examples:

  • One medical procedure can result in multiple bills from different providers. If you miss one bill it may fall into collections—even if you paid off the other bills related to your treatment.
  • If you recently moved, your previous utility companies may not have your current address. You may fall into collections if you don’t receive and pay a final bill.

How do I dispute collections on my credit report?

You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous.

How long do closed accounts stay on my credit report?

First, contact the creditor or collections agency and verify that the account in collections is accurate. If it is, you can’t submit a dispute. If the collections agency confirms it was reported in error, you can dispute it through the TransUnion Service Center.

If you suspect a collection is fraudulent, you should report the fraud at identitytheft.gov and then file a dispute.

If the agency verifies that disputed information is accurate, it may continue to report that information.

What You Need to Know:

The credit scores provided are based on the VantageScore® 3.0 model. Lenders use a variety of credit scores and are likely to use a credit score different from VantageScore® 3.0 to assess your creditworthiness.

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