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Taking care of someone else’s credit. Many of the credit cards are “charged off” (never paid, but they are not planning to pursue) but I don’t know how old the accounts are. It only lists when the accounts were open. Don’t want to “wake up” and have to pay old accounts, but I want to remove things that are negative if they are 7+ years and I can do so?

This is hubbie’s credit report, not mine, and getting information from him on this stuff is like pulling teeth, plus he seems to have NO memory of how old these debts might be. We are up to a 591 credit score from below a 400, but trying to get it up more now that we have the actual reports!

Also – if your credit score becomes “good” but you still have “charged off” debts, does this affect your ability to get a home loan? If we get the score we need, is that enough, or will it be a problem if we never actually pay these people when we go to get a loan? (We can wait a few years to get a loan if necessary, just trying to clean the credit as much as possible (and cheaply as possible!) now.
One of the big “charged off” ones is DISCOVER FIN SVCS LLC and there is no phone number provided.
Also for that one experian says KD, equifax says OK, and Transunion doesn’t have anything listed.
Date opened is 1988, but I don’t know when the debt itself would “expire” because I don’t know when the card was last used / paid on.
I come here so I don’t have to read books on it. 😀 Hoping some knowledgeable individual would like to answer my questions!
It is I do not see where it lists “date of default”.

(I want to watch the report change during the year, so yes, I am paying for it for now!)
He is listed on my credit cards, which does help a lot.
They are actually listed as “Bad debt & placed for collection & skip” Does that mean the collection agency has taken over, and the credit cards themselves are no longer owed?
He actually has a garnishment on his wages, and now I’m thinking those cards went to a collection agency, who is now garnishing his wages for it. So the cards themselves at least are not something we need to worry about paying? The garnishment is getting close to being over (I think… not sure how that is recorded on the report either).
We have a steady stable income and money for a downpayment, closing costs etc. (through life insurance from a recently deceased relative) but we are also applicable for a USDA rural housing develop loan, which is 0% down, low interest rate and no money down. The only thing we are missing is the right credit report. It isn’t a rush, we are happy enough where we are for now, but do want to get it cleaned up over time so we can get a house in a few years. (and also worried the USDA housing loans may expire if the economy keeps sucking!)
I meant to say the USDA loan is also no PMI (private mortgage insurance). We meet the criteria for location, income and house desired.

4 Thoughts on What if you don’t know how old the cards are on a credit report, and they are “potentially negative”?
  1. Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Edited answer: since books are not an option
    Give details of each specific account such as the date of default, amount, type of account (credit, installment, one time such as phone bill). You’ll also have to name your state so we can check the Statute of Limitations. Do not give card numbers!
    In most states things drop off after 7.5 years (unless they sue you first)
    Discover = 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683) …
    If he has any credit cards – he can pay them in full and leave them open to give his score a boost
    Depending on the type of debt, and age of account, you can negotiate a settlement or even do a pay on delete.
    Ask each individually with details to get the answers you need

    You got a bit scammed by those free sites.
    Reports are 100% free, always have been.
    Get your reports once a year for free at Annual Credit
    since you already got one – you can still get the other two – they will be the REAL reports and will give you details – and never pay for your reports again. Once a year get your real score – not that fake score. Real score at = one time fee of $ 20

  2. Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 6:25 am

    If you are planning on applying for a mortgage, you have a long way to go.

    Derogatory items age off credit reports 7-1/2 years from the date of first deficiency (default). This is per the FCRA and nothing restarts that clock. The date of first deficiency probably does not show on the credit report. You can figure 7 years from the charged off date.

    Mortgage lenders will require a clean credit report — all derogatory items resolved. Start with the newest derogatory item and work back to the oldest. Just let anything close to the 7 year mark age off. Depending on the age of the default, you should be able to settle for 25% to 50% in a lump sum payment. Don’t bother with payment plans. Better to save up for a lump sum offer.

    Get any settlement agreement in writing before you pay. Keep that agreement along with your payment proof, forever. do not give the collector direct access to your bank account.

    Paying off these old debts will NOT improve his score. The damage is done and will remain for the balance of the 7 year reporting period. He needs to establish current credit history to improve his score. If he does not have an open, active line of credit, get a credit card, even if he has to get a secured card. Use the card for regular purchases, wait for the statement and pay the balance in full every month. This will build his good payment history and avoid interest.

    If you have credit cards with good payment history, you can add him as an authorized user. It will count for spouses. The authorized user account will show on his report and he will get the benefit of your good history on that card.

    You will need at least 24 months of consistent, on time payment history to improve his score. Maybe longer to get it up to the minimum 620 FICO for an FHA loan.

    Added: Cancel that monitoring service. It is a waste of money. Better you save that monthly fee and use it to settle debts. You can get free annual credit reports from each credit bureau thru That monitoring service is only giving you the credit report from one credit bureau. You need to clean up all three. offers a free score estimator. It is not FICO (but neither is that monitoring service you are using). But CreditKarma is generally within 50 points of FICO. You can use this to monitor his score. But you are not going to see huge increases in his score.

  3. Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 6:32 am

    The credit reporting agencies have “automation” there and remove old accounts when they are 7 years old (used to be 10 years). You’re right when you say that if you ask about them they will start that several years all over again, so don’t inquire. Don’t try to remove them, they will remove on their own. The thing you might have to worry about is if there were judgments against him for those old bills. Does the report say anything about judgments. If there is a judgment out there although a collector stops collecting, he would still be liable for the entire payment he once owed plus the attorney fees of the company plus an interest fee per year (used to be 8% I think).

    While you’re sitting here worrying about the credit report other things are happening around you. First you need good, steady and long term income. And you’d need a 20% downpayment. plus maintenance and closing costs and such. Sounds like you don’t have that. Start with saving that. While you save the credit report will look better.

    Although homes have lost their value they are not an asset in today’s living they are a liability. Insurance has gone sky high, and foreclosed homes you’d be looking at might be ruined inside and you’d need money to re-do them. Sure the rates are low and will increase but the housing market is down and we’re facing possible depression. I’d say don’t mess with the credit reports and forget about a home for now.

  4. Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Ok, here is what you will want to look for to determine when these accounts actually went bad. On the report you’ll see the string of dates when things were paid ok, and when they went bad. You might even see something like:

    ok ok 30 60 ok ok 30 60 90 120 160 180 CO

    Now…the date corresponding to the 30 day late that led to the CO (chargeoff), THAT is what is known as your DOFD (date of first delinquency) This date is set by the original creditor, and even if this acct is charged off, (now showing a $ 0.00 balance) and sold to a CA (collection agency), that DOFD never ever changes. The CA cannot, by law change it. 7 years from that date is when the original account is set to drop off. Collections can go as long as 7.5 years from that date, but never beyond.

    DOFD’s are not related to SoL’s. That is the statute of limitations in which you (hubby in this case) can be sued for this money. SoL’s are set by your State. Just google it. Ohio SoL or whichever state you live in.

    Hope this cleared up some of your questions.

    Oh…when it says “placed for collections”…yes, you no longer owe the card company. If this is recent, he should expect a Dunning Letter in the mail. You want to write them back asap with a DV letter. It is hard to explain all these steps & terminology in a short note here, but here is a link to these letters & steps to take to address his credit issues.


    My favorite site…the myFICO forums:

    A wealth of information on the FICO site.

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