Collection account and charged off account for same debt in credit report


Dear Experian,

If an account is “charged off” and sold to collection agency, how can both accounts be used against you? My credit report shows two negative accounts. I owed $1,900, but now one account shows the original amount owed and a separate account shows $2,300 owed to a collection agency. Will both accounts stay on my report for seven years? The original account was four years ago, but the collection is only three months old.



Dear VNW,

Your credit report is a history of your accounts and payments. When an account is charged off, or written off as a loss, it remains on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date leading up to the charge off.

Often, the original creditor will transfer or sell the account to a collection agency. In that case, the original account will be updated to show transferred/closed, and will no longer show a balance owed because the debt is now owed to the collection agency. However, your report will still show the history of the account, including the amount that was written off.

Since you now owe the collection agency, it will report the current balance owed. The balance may be higher on the collection account due to interest and fees added by the collection agency.

The collection account will report the date the collection agency acquired the account as the open date, but this does not affect how long the item remains on your report. The amount of time the collection account will be on your report is determined by the original delinquency date as reported to them by the original creditor. So, although the collection account shows it was opened more recently, it will still be removed at the same time the original account is removed.

Thanks for asking.

The “Ask Experian” team

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