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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

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What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Q. We have been making payments on an account for the last 6 months, and it was suddenly turned over to collections.  What can we do?

A. Your best course of action will depend on what kind debt this is, the balance on your account, the size of payment you were making, and if you made the payment every single month.  In fact, these factors may explain why your account was turned over to collections in the first place. 

As a first step, I suggest you contact the primary creditor and ask why your account was turned over to collections and if they would be willing to pull the account back. At the same time, you need to be sure that the payment you are making demonstrates your best effort and fits into the creditor’s policies.

Consumers often believe that all creditors have the same payment policies, but this isn’t the case.  If you do not pay a bill in full, and you opt to make monthly payments instead, the creditor is extending you credit. Given this, you cannot assume your creditors will accept any payment you want to send them.  

If you send a creditor a $5 payment on a $500 bill, it is unlikely they will accept the payment.  What do you have the ability to repay - $25, $50, more?  If it is a debt of yours, you have an obligation to make your best effort to pay the bill as quickly as you can. 

Before sending monthly payments to a creditor, contact them to discuss your options. How fast do they expect the bill to be repaid:  immediately, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year?  Do you need to fill out a financial statement if you are expecting them to take monthly payments?  What proof will you need to provide them if you need to make monthly payments? When you commit to a payment amount, you need to send it every single month. If you miss a payment or two, your account may be turned over to collections. 

In January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report on Consumer Experiences with Debt Collections.  One in three consumers indicated that they had been contacted by at least one creditor or collector attempting to collect on one or more debts.  Past due medical bills, credit cards and student loans were among the most frequently cited debts consumers were contacted about. 

More than half the consumer contacted about a debt in collection indicated the debt was not theirs, so before you take any action on this account, you need to check your records carefully. The report also stated that consumers tend to take a more favorable view of creditors seeking to collect a debt than of a debt collector – something creditors should take note of when their customers and their reputation are important to them. 

If you are having trouble making your monthly payments, you may want to contact your nearest accredited non-profit credit counseling for a no-charge financial review to discuss your best options.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.