Q: I have an adverse credit card account on my credit report that was recently purchased by another lender for collection, now duplicate accounts, the original lender, and the new collection record, are listed. Can two records pertaining to the same account show simultaneously on your credit report?
A: It is not uncommon for two records (duplicate accounts) to show up simultaneously on a credit report – particularly when accounts go into collections or is transferred for any reason.
For example, student loan accounts, including those still in good standing, may be noted twice on a credit report, when a transfer or sale of the account has occurred.
The fact that there are two records about the same account does not hurt your credit. What does hurt it, though, is the notation that your account has gone into collections.
Any account noted in collections has a different “Status” notation in your credit file. A “Status” notation is simply a description of the status of your account at the time your credit report is pulled. It reflects whether you are on time, late with payments – and if so, how late. Status notations are found in the Account Summary section of your credit report.
Check Your “Status” Notations
Your payment history is shown on your credit reports as your “Account Status,” “Current Status,” “Pay Status” or just simply “Status.” Open accounts with no delinquencies will have these types of “Status” comments: “Pays as Agreed,” “Never Late,” or “Current.” Closed accounts with a positive credit history will be noted as “Paid As Agreed,” or “Pays As Agrees.”
Negative information will most commonly be stated as 30, 60, 90 or 120-day late payments. Other negative comments include: “Collections,” “Settled,” or references such as “Paid, Was 60 Days Late”. If an account has been “charged off” or written off by a creditor as uncollectable, that fact will be noted too, typically along with the dollar amount charged off.
Any status notation in your credit file that indicates that you did not pay your debts exactly as originally agreed will be viewed negatively by credit-scoring firms, and potential lenders.
When to File a Dispute
Generally, two record listings present no major cause for concern. There are, however, a few times when you might want to dispute a second record in your credit files pertaining to a collection account.
If, for example, you paid an account before it went to collections, then you should dispute that item with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Additionally, if your terms or balance information shown on your account is inaccurate, that is justification for a dispute. Lastly, if the data shown is old or outdated (i.e. past 7 years), then you should dispute that with the credit bureaus and ask them to delete the account(s) from your credit files.