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Do Settlements Hurt Credit Scores?

John, does having the statement “Settled for less than full balance” affect your FICO score?

Answer,That’s what’s referred to as a “narrative code.” It’s text that accompanies the account on your credit report and provides additional details about the account. That particular narrative code, obviously, goes on an account when it has been settled. And yes, it is considered negative by the FICO credit scoring system. How negative depends on what else is on your credit report. If that’s the only negative item on your credit reports then it’s having a profound negative impact. If, however, it’s one of many negative items then the impact is much less.

Should I Pay Settled Debt?

Hi John
Last yr Cap One sent me statements on two accounts saying I owe money. I thought I settled these accounts and even made electronic payments but without a settlement letter. I had not heard from Cap One for almost 4 yrs and now they have added interest to the amount they say I owe. How can I resolve this matter. The last time I had contact with them was in 2006. I live in NY and the debt was incurred while I lived in NY.

First off, if you really settled it then you don’t owe anything on it any longer. That’s what a settlement buys you…a zero balance. If someone is trying to collect a debt that you don’t owe any longer that’s illegal. If the debt was incurred in NY and it wasn’t really settled then they can sue to collect the debt for six years so it would still be an issue. You say you paid it electronically. See if you have any record of the transaction in the archive statements. I can see my statements online for the past seven years so hopefully you can do the same and find a record of the transaction. I wouldn’t pay a debt that you don’t owe unless you just don’t care and don’t want to deal with it. If you absolutely know you settled it then contact a NACA attorney and talk to them about your rights under the FDCPA.

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